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August 28, 2014 - Bella Vista Will Bring California's Heretic Brewing To Philly in September
FROM AN EMAIL
Jordan Fetfatzes: "We are officially announcing the distribution agreement that has been signed a couple weeks ago between Bella Vista Beer and Heretic Brewery from Fairfield, CA. Heretic was started by famous home brewer turned pro, Jamil Zainasheff, and has been turning heads with their beers from day one. We expect beers to be pouring from taps in better beer bars in the next few weeks from Heretic Brewing. Another fantastic California brewery hits eastern PA soon!
August 25, 2014 - BREWBOUND: Craft Brewery Expansions Are Changing the Industry
FROM BREWBOUND (David Eisenberg)
As the craft category continues to grow at a double-digit clip — dollar sales are up nearly 23 percent in the latest IRI scans — brewers across the country, in an effort to keep up with growing demand, are investing heavily in facility expansions.

A crop of mid-size and regional craft breweries located in the eastern half of the U.S. recently announced multi-million dollar expansion efforts which will enable those companies to not only expand production capabilities, but in some cases distribution footprints as well. Here are a few updates:

Read the whole story.

August 19, 2014 - Boulevard Brewing Will Enter Philly Market in September
NEWS RELEASE:
One of the country’s most respected craft breweries, Boulevard Brewing Co. of , Kansas City, MO; 816-474-7095), announced today that its award-winning craft beers will soon be available year-round across the Greater Philadelphia Area.

Boulevard, one of the most recognizable brands in the Midwest, has partnered with Muller, Inc. to distribute its line of beers in the city and surrounding Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

“Boulevard is producing some of the highest quality beers in the entire country, not just in the Midwest, so we felt compelled to help bring them to America’s Best Beer-Drinking City,” says Muller Vice President of Sales John Houck. “We couldn’t be more proud and honored to be working with Boulevard on this launch and welcoming them into our bars, restaurants and homes.”

To celebrate the new partnership and launch, representatives from Boulevard will organize a week-long series of tastings and events in and around Philadelphia in October; more details will be made available in early September.

Boulevard beers, available in bottles and on draft, will include Single-Wide IPA, an American-style IPA boasting a heady combination of six varieties of hops; Unfiltered Wheat, Beer, an easy drinking American-style wheat beer and Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale from the brewery’s popular and critically-acclaimed Smokestack Series.

“We are very excited to be expanding our reach to more markets in the Northeast, including Philadelphia,” says Boulevard’s Vice President of Sales Steve Mills. “The city is home to savvy craft beer enthusiasts, and we’re looking forward to introducing them to Boulevard’s lineup.”

Boulevard Brewing Company was founded in 1989 in a turn-of-the-century building on Kansas City’s historic Southwest Boulevard. From that location, Boulevard founder John McDonald grew the company into one of the largest breweries in the United States before selling the facility and brewery operations to Duvel Moortgat in 2013. Boulevard’s sister, and Duvel Moortgat’s other US-based brewery, Brewery Ommegang, of Cooperstown, NY, is also distributed by Muller.

August 13, 2014 - Sales of Craft Beer To Top $20 Billion in 2014?
FROM BREWBOUND (Chris Fumari)
Sales of craft and craft-style beer will likely eclipse $20 billion in 2014, according to a new report from market research firm Mintel. Of the $20.4 billion in craft sales that Mintel has predicted for this year, the firm believes more than 84 percent ($17.2 billion) will come from Brewers Association-defined craft brewers.

Mintel had originally forecasted that craft beer sales could exceed $18 billion by 2017, but now believes that figure could actually double in the next five years. Citing consistent year-over-year growth trends, an improving economy, product innovation and an engaged consumer base, the firm said that combined sales of craft and craft-style beer could surpass $36 billion in 2019.

Read the whole story.

August 07, 2014 - Serious Eats Website Cites Stoudts Gold as a "Must Try" Beer
10 MUST-TRY AMERICAN-MADE LAGERS (Anne Becerra, Beer Writer)
Lagers outsell ales in the US by a landslide, but most folks are still a bit hazy on exactly what makes a lager, well, a lager. We are currently in a golden age of American-made lagers—and your local shop is packed full of delicious options—but let's back up a bit and give you a little background. [ --- ]

Stoudts, located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has been brewing German inspired beers for almost 30 years. Their take on a Munich-style Helles (a less hoppy, softer pale lager brewed originally to compete with pilsner) really knocks it out of the beer garden. Fresh malt flavor is the star of the show here, and the bready sweetness will remind you of a really good fresh dinner roll. Earthy and floral hops make their presence known, but this is a malt-driven beer that's perfect for taming spice.

See complete story and list of beers here.

July 28, 2014 - Craft Brewer Sales Showed Solid Growth in First Half of 2014
BREWERS ASSOCIATION NEWS RELEASE
Small and independent craft brewers enjoyed continued growth in the first half of 2014, according to new mid-year data released by the Brewers Association (BA), the not-for-profit trade association that represents the majority of U.S. breweries. American craft beer production volume increased 18 percent during the first half of the year.

From January through the end of June 2014, approximately 10.6 million barrels of beer were sold by craft brewers, up from 9.0 million barrels over the first half of 2013. (Note: The 18 percent growth rate is based on the updated craft brewer definition and derived from comparable barrel total from the first half of 2013. Mid-year figures first reported in 2013 were based on the previous craft brewer definition).

“The sustained double-digit growth of the craft category shows the solidity of demand for fuller flavored beer in a variety of styles from small and independent American producers,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Craft brewers are providing world-class, innovative products that continue to excite beer lovers and energize the industry.”

Complete news release with more details, charts and graphs is here.

July 25, 2014 - Did Prohibition Make the Craft Beer Boom Possible?
WASHINGTON EXAMINER (Joseph Lawler)
American craft brewing is flourishing, and Prohibition is partly to thank.

Led by brewpubs and microbreweries, the number of U.S. breweries has doubled since 2007 to roughly 3,000, according to the Brewers Association, with hundreds more under construction. There were as few as 93 breweries countrywide in the early 1980s.

Big brewers are still dominant — craft beer accounts for only 8 percent of total volume, and two companies, Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, hold roughly three-quarters of the market. But craft brewing is steadily gaining.

Craft brewers chalk up their success to a sea change in Americans’ tastes.

[ ... ]

Consumers may be driving the surge, but the craft beer industry wouldn't have been able to respond without changes to the regulation of alcohol. After all, during Prohibition, there were no legal breweries, despite the pent-up demand for beer.

Read the complete story right here.

July 22, 2014 - Green Flash IPA, Brewed by St-Feuillien, Will Expand Brewery's European Footprint
PRESS RELEASE (Abridged)
Mike and Lisa Hinkley, Co-Founders of California-based Green Flash Brewing Co. and Dominique Friart, CEO of traditional Belgian-based Brewery St-Feuillien are excited to announce news about the evolution of their ongoing, cross-continental brewing alliance.

These innovative breweries have made the strategic decision to advance their relationship from creatively collaborative “sister-breweries” to pioneer new territory as production partners in Europe. After a year of top-secret planning, St-Feuillien and Green Flash are executing plans based on a handshake agreement whereby the legendary Belgian operation will brew, bottle and ship the San Diego craft brewery’s flagship beer, West Coast IPA® for broad distribution throughout Europe. Green Flash is thrilled to be the first American craft brewery to bring the freshest available American IPA to market in the region. The first 240 hectoliter batch of West Coast IPA in bottles and kegs is currently shipping from St-Feuillien in Belgium to a hand-selected network of distributors and importers in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany and France.

“We’ve been pursuing European distribution of West Coast IPA for some time, however the obvious challenges in delivering fresh IPA to the region have been a huge roadblock,” says Mike Hinkley. “After testing various export scenarios on a small scale, it became apparent that the quality of our IPA when transported to Europe was not ideal and cost-prohibitive for consumers. We were not satisfied with the customer experience and felt we had to come up with a better solution.”

[ … ]

“As brewing partners, we have always been humbly enthusiastic to learn from one another,” says Green Flash Brewmaster Chuck Silva when describing the evolution of his rapport with St-Feuillien Brewmaster, Alexis Briol. “This mutual respect allows us, as international counterparts, to find common ground and we have worked very closely on our latest endeavor. I have complete faith in Alexi and his team to consistently brew the highest quality West Coast IPA in Europe, hopefully for years to come and will continue overseeing the process as needed.”

For many Europeans, the notoriously hoppy beer style from Green Flash will be a new discovery, but for the growing segment of craft beer lovers in the market, the opportunity to find super-fresh and high-quality American Craft beer from Green Flash will be an exciting prospect. Green Flash is honored to be joining forces with the world-class Belgian brewers at St-Feuillien to satisfy this rapidly growing thirst for specialty craft beer from the US. Both breweries are looking forward to continuing to work on collaborations including production of West Coast IPA and other beers, for many years to come.

The full press release is available here.

July 19, 2014 - USA Today: Stone Brewing Plans to Open a Brewery in Berlin
FROM USA TODAY THIS AFTERNOON (by Mike Snyder)
Stone Brewing is taking its craft to Germany, a country with some of the deepest brewing roots in the world.

The Escondido, Calif.-based Stone, which is ranked No. 10 in sales volume among U.S. craft breweries, plans to open a brewery in Berlin within the next two years. The move makes it the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe.

Plans were announced Saturday during an event at the planned site in Berlin. Construction is likely to begin in the coming months, aiming for an opening in late 2015 or early 2016, says Stone CEO Greg Koch.

He and Stone President Steve Wagner, who co-founded the original California site in 1996, began talking about European expansion five years ago....

Read the rest of the story here.

July 11, 2014 - Sly Fox To Move Bock Fest & Goat Races to Pottstown [UPDATED]
UPDATE: It's now official that the move will be made and that East Pikeland asked Sly Fox to find a new home for the Bock Fest per a news release just received.
FROM THE POTTSTOWN MERCURY BY FRANK OTTO:
POTTSTOWN — If Jixxer hopes to repeat as Sly Fox Goat Race champion or Spartacus wins legitimately, it appears that it will have to be done in Pottstown, not East Pikeland, next year.

Sly Fox has let borough officials in Pottstown know of plans to move the annual spring Bockfest to Pottstown’s Circle of Progress from its traditional location in Phoenixville.... Read the whole story here.

July 10, 2014 - Harpoon Brewery Will Become Employee-Owned
FROM THIS MORNING'S BEER BUSINESS DAILY
Twelfth-largest craft brewer Harpoon Brewery has just announced that it will become an employee-owned company as of August 1. The existing shareholder group transferred 48% of Harpoon's shares to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which will "ensure the brewery's independence and preserve Harpoon's culture."

As for other major changes: co-founder Dan Kenary will assume the role of CEO from co-founder Rich Doyle, who will reportedly maintain part-time status at the brewery, focusing on marketing and sales and new business development. No other changes in management are reported so far.

"This is a big transition for the company and for me, but it feels like the right thing at the right time," Rich said in a statement. "I have enjoyed my 28 years working here and building a first-class brewing company from idea to reality. The ESOP will really fit the culture here since Harpoon has always been a very team-oriented place. Dan and the Harpoon team will continue to do an excellent job."

For his part, Dan said that "employee ownership is the embodiment of what Harpoon stands for. ... Our success as an independent craft brewer is attributed to our outstanding employees and the wonderful culture we have at the brewery. The ESOP strengthens our commitment to our employees, our culture, and to making and sharing great beer."

The Harpoon Brewery was founded in 1986 on the Boston waterfront by Dan Kenary and Rich Doyle. It has since grown to be the 12th largest craft brewery in the US and currently has 187 full-time employees between its Boston, MA and Windsor, VT brewing facilities.

The announcement of the ESOP was made to Harpoon employees at a special mid-year meeting on the evening of July 9th.

June 27, 2014 - Reading Eagle: Geemacher Brings Beer Keg Production Back to U.S.
Evan Jones, writing in the Reading Eagle on June 15 reported:
Geemacher Holdings LLC, which has been manufacturing beer kegs in China since 2007, is putting the finishing touches on an onshore facility.

When it's running at full capacity, between 100 and 150 stainless steel kegs per shift will roll through an assembly line in the 30,000-square-foot factory at 31 Robinson St. in the Tri-County Business Campus. Machines will bend the steel, and workers will weld them together. Eventually, Geemacher will employ 30.

The business is a natural fit for company President John Giannopoulos, who also runs Sly Fox Brewing Co. and the Manatawny Still Works, which are in the nearby Pottstown Airport Business Campus. Geemacher is also a family business, as Glenn Giannopoulos is the company's vice president of operations.

"This shows that manufacturing is alive and well in Pottstown," said Steven Bamford, executive director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc. "This is the Giannopouloses' third venture in Pottstown and with it you have a theme. The area is becoming an epicenter for craft brewing and distilling. We're excited to be a part of that."

Geemacher is filling a gap, as it's the only company making steel beer kegs in the U.S. Spartanburg Stainless Products Inc. in South Carolina had produced them before selling that part of the company to a Swiss-based Franke Beverage Containers in 2006. Franke eventually shut down its American operations.

June 23, 2014 - Homebrewers Name Russian River’s Pliny the Elder "Best Commercial Beer in America" 6th Straight Year
The American Homebrewers Association's members voted Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder the “Best Commercial Beer in America” for the sixth year running. This is the 12th year that AHA members voted for up to 20 of their favorite beers in an online poll. The poll is conducted annually by Zymurgy Magazine, the journal of the AHA.

The ten top-ranked beers were, in order: Russian River Pliny the Elder, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Bell’s Hopslam, The Alchemist Heady Topper, Lagunitas Sucks, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Stone Enjoy By IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout & Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Two other Dogfish Head beers made the list , 120 Minute IPA (#27) and 60 Minute IPA (tied for #34), as did Troegs Brewing Co. Nugget Nectar (tied for #39).

Russian River was also the top ranked of the 1,600 breweries included in the poll, with five beers listed, followed by Bell, Stone, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Victory Brewing Co. was ranked #19.

The Best Portfolio of Beers award went to New Belgium Brewing Co., which had 60 beers receiving votes in the poll. The remainder of the top five portfolios were: Boston Beer Co., Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head and Stone.

June 23, 2014 - U.S. Beer Market Driven by Consumer Choice, Says Boston Consulting Group Report
FROM BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP:
The U.S. beer market is open, freely competitive, and driven by consumer choice. Brewers who capture the hearts of consumers are the most likely to succeed. Those who miss shifts in consumer identities, norms, attitudes, and tastes will suffer.

The success of small brewers making craft beers is proof of these points. Despite fears that small brewers can’t compete against the scale and reach of large, mass-market brewers, the opposite has proved to be true. The popularity of craft beers supplied by small brewers has exploded, rising on the strength of consumer demand. Ironically, small brewers’ ability to reach more drinkers has been enabled by the open U.S. beer-distribution system—a system that was once thought to lock out smaller players.

[...]

Our findings have implications for all U.S. brewers...

Read the complete report.

June 16, 2014 - Brewers Association Revises GABF Brewery Registration System
FROM BREWBOUND TODAY (David Eisenberg)
The Brewers Association (BA) has streamlined the registration process for this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in hopes of avoiding a repeat of a debacle that made securing a spot at the event difficult in 2013.

Last year, brewers flooded Ticketmaster in an attempt to register, which resulted in the festival selling out in half an hour. But not all beer companies were able to sign up and additional “technical problem[s]” on Ticketmaster’s servers, as outlined in an apology issued by the BA at the time, left nearly 400 brewers shut out.

This year’s registration opens to BA members on Tuesday and, to ensure that brewers aren’t excluded from participating, the organization said it plans to accept every applicant wishing to submit products for judging — unless more than 1,400 companies apply.

But while the amount of breweries able to participate in the medal competition has increased, the number of beers a company can enter for judging has not. That number will depend upon the total number of brewers competing, the BA said.

Read more here.

June 10, 2014 - Dogfish Head Founder Will Celebrate First Brewery-themed Inn With Port-to-Port Beer-Dinner Series
FROM THE DOGFISH HEAD BLOG
In late June, Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione is embarking on a 600-mile boat journey to celebrate the opening of the Dogfish Inn and raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

At five stops along the way – Atlantic City, Manhattan, Block Island, Boston and Portland – Sam will host multicourse beer dinners at some of his favorite restaurants.

In the spirit of the adventure, Dogfish Head and the host restaurants will donate $2,000 for each stop to The Nature Conservancy, a million-member nonprofit dedicated to conserving "the lands and waters on which all life depends."

Read the rest.

June 09, 2014 - Beer Camp Across America Update
PRESS RELEASE
More than three dozen Pennsylvania breweries have signed on to join fellow brewers and beer lovers at Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America, an unprecedented traveling beer festival that will take place later this summer. Nearly 700 craft brewers from around the country have already signed on for the multi-weekend event; anticipating more than 1,300 total craft beers on tap, collectively representing almost every state in the union, Beer Camp Across America promises to be the largest craft beer celebration in history

Pennsylvania breweries have signed on in droves to take part in the historic event. The following will make the trek to the Mid-Atlantic edition, taking place August 2 at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia: HiJinx, The Colony Meadery, Roy-Pitz, Spring House, Neshaminy Creek, Old Forge, Marzoni's, Weyerbacher, St. Boniface, South County, Battlefield, Tröegs, Naked, Golden Avalanche, Saucony Creek, Barren Hill, Lancaster, Round Guys, Elk Creek, Prism, Free Will, 2nd Story, Boston Beer, EARTH, Nodding Head, Philadelphia, Dock Street, Yards, Susquehanna, Sly Fox, ShawneeCraft, North Country, Sprague Farm, Ship Bottom, Evil Genius, Vault & Liquid Hero.

Beer Camp Across America Schedule
• Sat, July 19th: Northwest Edition at Sierra Nevada Hop Field in Chico, CA, 12-5 p.m.
• Sun, July 20th: Southwest Edition at Embarcadero North in San Diego, CA, 1-6 p.m.
• Fri, July 25th: Rocky Mountain Edition at Civic Center Park in Denver, CO, 5-10 p.m.
• Sun, July 27th: Midwest Edition at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, 12-5 p.m.
• Fri, August 1st: New England Edition at Thompson Point in Portland, ME, 5-10 p.m.
• Sat, August 2nd: Mid-Atlantic Edition at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, PA, 12-5 p.m.
• Sun, August 3rd: Southeast Edition in Mills River, NC, 1-6 p.m.

June 09, 2014 - South Carolina Modernizes Beer Laws, Hopes to Attract Stone Brewing
CATHERINE CARLOCK JULY 9 TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL:
Greensboro is on the short list with five to six other cities to host Stone Brewing Co.'s East Coast brewery and distribution hub, Mayor Nancy Vaughan told the Triad Business Journal Friday.

[ ... ]

Stone Brewing would need a 15-acre site for its brewery, a facility which would create 328 jobs during three years, Vaughan said. The facility could represent an investment of $20 million, according to sister paper the Charlotte Business Journal.

Vaughan added that Stone has a "very aggressive" timeline and would look to open within the next 18 months. The company's next step will be to cut its shortlist down to two to three cities, Vaughan said.

More here.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY DAVID EISENBERG @ BREWBOUND:
South Carolina lawmakers in both the House and Senate adopted what has become known as the Stone Bill this afternoon, effectively loosening restrictions on how brewers in the Palmetto State do business.

[ ... ]

The bill will allow brewpubs to apply for brewery licenses, which will enable them to serve food while producing an unlimited amount of beer. An earlier version of the bill sought instead to amend the brewpub definition by stretching the state’s production cap of 2,000 barrels up to 500,000.

Brook Bristow, a lawyer with Bradford Neal Martin & Associates who provides general counsel to the South Carolina Brewers Association, said the vote marks a “new day in our state for craft beer.”

“It’s written in a way that benefits our existing craft breweries, but it tells the Stones of the world, the Deschutes of the world, and whoever comes after them, that our doors are open for business,” he said. “We support craft breweries. That’s something we want in this state.”

May 29, 2014 - Craft brewing pioneer Jack Joyce, Co-Founder of Rogue Ales in Oregon, Has Died
Jack Joyce, a co-founder of Oregon's Rouge Ales in 1988 who was one of craft beer's pioneering legends, died tis week at age 71. Rouge opened its first brew pub in 1989 and today has pubs in Oregon, Washington and California. The company eventually expanded into distilling spirits and now has micro distilleries in Portland and Newport.

Steve Marks, executive director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, told the Oregon Statesman Journal which noted that "Jack was a daring pioneer in Oregon's craft brewing and distilling industries," Marks said. "As Rogue Ales and Spirits co-founder, he took a risk to start a business from the ground up with ingredients harvested from Oregon soil. His dream grew into one of Oregon's most successful breweries and distilleries."

Jack Joyce is survived by his son Brett, his daughter Anna Joyce, and his wife, Joan Joyce, the children's step-mother. Brett Joyce summed up his father's career and accomplishments:

Yesterday the Rogue Nation and Family lost our co-founder, leader, friend, and father as Jack Joyce passed away at the age of 71.

Following a career as both a small town attorney and Nike executive, Jack and some friends founded Rogue in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon. From the outset, Jack set Rogue on a path of innovation, creativity, and rebellion.

Rogue made hoppy, flavorful beers and was told that no one would drink them. Rogue made a wide range of beers and was told no one wanted variety. Rogue sold 22oz bottles of beer and was told no one would pay a premium for a single serve beer. Rogue opened multiple pubs and breweries and was told that it would be wise to follow a more efficient and logical business plan.

Rogue took the road less, or perhaps never, travelled.

Rogue was the first U.S. craft brewer to send beer to Japan. Rogue won 1,000 awards for product and packaging excellence. Rogue worried about getting better, not bigger. Rogue began distilling. Rogue began farming. Rogue remained dedicated to its small town roots and made sure to give back to its local communities. Rogue started a Nation.

This was all vintage Jack.

He was the true Rogue and will be missed by us all.

May 28, 2014 - Phila. Inquirer "Brewvitational" Winners Announced
REPRINTED FROM THE LIQUID DIET BLOG
The full results of the annual Philadelphia Inquirer Brewvitational judging will be in tomorrow’s edition, kicking off Philly Beer Week. The judges tasted 52 beers from 28 breweries and these are the big winners, the three best New Beers of the year past and the three Best Saisons.

New Beers

1. Nihilist Russian Imperial Stout (new in 750 ml bottles) (9.5%) 90 IBU, Sly Fox Brewing Co.

2. LaGrave, Triple Golden Ale (8.0%) 31 IBU, Tröegs Brewing Co.

3. Fear of a Brett Planet, Pale Ale with brettanomyces, (5.1%) 45 IBU, Round Guys Brewing Co.

Saison Division

1. HandFarm Four-Grain Saison aged in Chardonnay barrels (5%) 15 IBU, Tired Hands Brewing Co.

2. Saison Wood, Saison (7.0%) 30 IBU, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant (Maple Shade)

3. Solaire, Grisette/Saison (5%), Forest & Main Brewing Co.

Details and more results will be in tomorrow's edition.
May 21, 2014 - Philly Beer Scene Magazines Awards 2014
FROM PHILLY BEER SCENE WEBSITE:
And the winners are….

Brewer of the Year: Jeremy Myers, Neshaminy Creek

Brewery of the Year: Victory Brewing Company

Brewpub of the Year: Iron Hill Brewery

Philadelphia Bar of the Year: Monks Cafe

Suburbs Bar of the Year: The Hulmeville Inn

DE/NJ Bar of the YEar: The Pour House

Best New Bar: Strangelove’s

Philadelphia Beer Distributor of the Year: Bella Vista Beer Distributor

Suburbs Beer Distributor of the Year: The Beer Yard

DE/NJ Beer Store of the Year: Joe Canal’s West Deptford

Philadelphia Bottle Shop of the Year: Bottle Bar East

Suburbs Bottle of the Year: The Loft at the Iron Abbey

Beer Writer of the Year: Joe Gunn

Best Bar Food: Standard Tap

Best Bar to Watch the Game: City Tap House

Beer Event of the Year: Friday the Firkinteenth

Beer Festival of the Year: Sly Fox Goat Races

Pale Ale of the Year: Troegs Perpetual IPA

Imperial Pale Ale of the Year: Victory DirtWolf

Dark Beer of the Year: Yards Love Stout

Strong Dark Beer of the Year: Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout

Lager of the Year: Victory Prima Pils

Fruit/Spice Beer of the Year: Troegs Mad Elf

Belgian-Style Beer of the Year: Weyerbacher Merry Monks

Barrel-Aged Beer of the Year: Weyerbacher Heresy

Wheat Beer of the Year: Troegs Dreamweaver

Homebrew Shop of the Year: Keystone Homebrew

Beer Gives Back Award (Humanitarian of the Year): Tom Kehoe -Yards Brewing Company

Brewery Rep of the Year: Ryan Vaughan -Shawnee Craft

Wholesaler of the Year: Origlio Beverage

Philly Tap Finder Award (most searched local beer): Troegs Mad Elf

May 15, 2014 - Eight, Count 'em, Eight, Collaboration Beers Set for Philly Beer Week
OFFICIAL PBW PRESS RELEASE
Justin Low, Head Brewer at Dock Street, and Anne-Catherine Dilewyns, of Brouwerij Dilewyns, will debut the official collaboration beer of Philly Beer Week 2014 on opening day, May 30. Philly Tripel, a Belgian Abbey Tripel brewed with organic acacia honey from Belgium is a limited release brewed exclusively for PBW and imported to the United States by Vanberg & DeWulf,

Philly Tripel will be available at Opening Tap, in the PBW Beer Garden and at Dock Street Brewery, which will be hosting an exclusive Brew Day with Anne-Catherine starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 3.

The Philly-Belgo collaboration began this past February when Low and “Win a Trip to Belgium” Raffle Winner Daniel Neuner, a 24-year-old home brewer and fine art photographer from Cherry Hill, NJ, traveled to Dendermonde, Belgium, for a hands-on collaboration with Anne-Catherine Dilewyns, Belgium’s youngest brewer and one of three rising female brewers in the world.

Philly Tripel, which clocks in at 8.5% ABV, will be sold in 11.2-ounce bottles and available at many participating PBW bars and restaurants.

In addition, seven other special collaboration beers will debut and be available throughout PBW, including the latest installment of Brotherly Suds. This year’s edition, Brotherly Suds V, was brewed at Victory Brewing Company, with Flying Fish, Yards Brewing, Sly Fox, Iron Hill, Nodding Head and Earth Bread + Brewery participating in the brewing process.

Other collaboration beers include:

Free Will and Full Pint teamed up on Mango Habanero IPA

Free Will also worked with Philly Philms, the production company behind the movie “Beeradelphia,” to create Dry Irish Stout “William”

Nodding Head and Fat Head’s are working together on “something hoppy”

Standard Tap and Sly Fox combined forces on a German-style pilsner

City Tap House and Yards introduced Just Off Walnut, a Belgian Brown Ale

Monk’s Cafe and Dogfish Head Brewpub collaborated on Blood Moon, a pleasantly smoky, rye red ale.

May 13, 2014 - Hop Prices Rising, Highest Since 2007-08 Shortage Crisis
FROM CNBC/FINANCIAL TIMES
An ice-cold craft beer has become part of the uniform for self-respecting hipsters from Brooklyn in New York to the London borough of Hackney. Now the craze for the microbrews made by small independent brewers has led to a scramble for hops, the key ingredient used to add flavour and bitterness.

In the US, where the movement was born, the $14bn craft beer industry has seen annual double-digit production growth over the past few years. This has doubled the price of the specialist aroma and flavour hops favoured by craft brewers to about $7 to $10 a pound over the past five years – the highest since 2007-08 when the market was hit by a severe drought.

[ ... ]

"I've been buying hops for 30 years. It's more challenging now than just about any time in my career," says Steve Dresler, brewmaster at California-based Sierra Nevada, a leading craft brewer started by homebrewers in the late 1970s.

Read more here.

May 08, 2014 - Virginia "Farm Brewery" Blue Mountain Will Enter Local Market
NEWS RELEASE
Blue Mountain Brewery was founded in 2007 by Taylor and Mandi Smack, Matt Nucci and a group of fearless shareholders. Together, they introduced the concept of the rural brewery to the East Coast's beer scene and set the standard for great beer in Virginia.This "farm brewery" is complete with its own hop farm. Planted in 2006, it now boasts 500 hills of Cascade and Centennial hops. All of Blue Mountain's ales and lagers are produced onsite using water from a 300-foot well fed by an old spring which flows beneath miles of untouched forest watershed. Their beers are inspired by thousands of years of tradition, but not limited by convention.

Blue Mountain garnered 6 medals at the 2013 Virginia Craft Brewer's Festival and has received many awards at regional festivals and in various categories at esteemed industry events, including:
Silver Medal for Blue Reserve at World Beer Cup 2012
Gold Medal for Summer Lovin' at Great American Beer Festival 2011
Silver Medal for Blue Reserve at Great American Beer Festival 2011
Gold Medal for Sandy Bottom at Great American Beer Festival 2010
Bronze Medal for Kolsch 151 at Great American Beer Festival 2010
Silver Medal for Rockfish Wheat at World Beer Cup 2010

Blue Mountain focuses on balance and accessibility in their core line of beers and seasonals. They are well-balanced interpretations of classic styles, or fresh takes on emerging styles. Their Barrel House Series explores lesser known, more niche styles of beer. It gives their brewers the chance to play around and experiment with new techniques and styles. Blue Mountain aims to create a beer for every style of drinker and for every occasion.

May 07, 2014 - Garrett Oliver Wins James Beard Foundation Award
Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver was awarded the James Beard Award as the 2014 Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional this week. He won over Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione, who was a nominee for the award for the fourth straight year.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and cover all aspects of the industry—from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more. They are considered the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America.

JBF awards are presented each spring at Lincoln Center in New York City and nominees and winners are fêted at a weekend of social and gastronomic events.

May 06, 2014 - 40 Breweries Confirmed for PBW 2014 Opening Tap
PRESS RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, PA – On May 30, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., Philly Beer Week™ (PBW) 2014 officially kicks off with Opening Tap, presented by Interstate General Media, parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, in its new home at the 23rd Street Armory (22 South 23rd Street). Tickets for the event are currently on sale and can be purchased here. Forty breweries, both local and national, have confirmed their participation in the most-anticipated event of the 10-day celebration of beer throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs.

In addition, the route of the annual Hammer of Glory (H.O.G.) Relay leading up to Opening Tap has been announced. Every year, the official keg mallet of PBW, affectionately nicknamed the H.O.G., travels across the city from bar to bar, tapping kegs and eventually making its way to the Opening Tap, where Mayor Michael Nutter wields the H.O.G. for the first official tap of PBW. At each location, the H.O.G. gets a different means of conveyance – from kinetic sculpture to wheelbarrow to SEPTA train to the Philly Roller Girls.

“The H.OG. is the quintessential symbol of PBW, and witnessing its zany travels throughout our fair city is something that must be witnessed live,” says PBW Executive Director Kristine Kennedy. “Every year we try to outdo the previous year’s voyage, so this relay is no different. Be prepared for anything, from race cars to roller skates!”

Doors will open at 7 p.m. for general admission tickets and cost $45 per person. VIP tickets ($90 per person) will include early entry, starting at 6 p.m., along with a tasty array of catered food, a special assortment of craft beers hand-picked by selected brewers and exclusive access to the VIP Lounge. Designated driver tickets will be available for $25. Opening Tap is presented by Interstate General Media, in partnership with SEPTA, Philadelphia Weekly and Drink Philly. There will be a limited number of walk-up tickets available on May 30. Live music will be performed by The York Street Hustle, a 10-piece 1960s-style soul ensemble band.

Participating breweries for Opening Tap include: 2nd Story Brewing, Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery, The Boston Beer Company, Conshohocken Brewing Company, Dock Street Brewery, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Doylestown Brewing Company, Evil Genius, Evolution Craft Brewing, Flying Fish Brewing Company, Free Will Brewing, Home Sweet Home Brew, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Keystone Homebrew Supply, Lancaster Brewing Company, The Lion Brewery, Manayunk Brewing Company, Naked Brewing, Neshaminy Creek Brewing, Nodding Head Brewery, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Philly Homebrew Outlet, Prism Brewing Company, River Horse Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Round Guys Brewing Company, Saint Benjamin Brewing Company, Saint Boniface, Saucony Creek Brewing, ShawneeCraft Brewing Company, Sly Fox Brewing Company, Spring House Brewing, Stoudt’s Brewing Company, Susquehanna Brewing Company, Troegs Brewing Company, Twin Lakes Brewery, Victory Brewing Company, Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Yards Brewing Company and Yuengling.

May 05, 2014 - Sly Fox Reverses Bock Fest Winner
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
PHOENIXVILLE, PA May 5, 2014 - It's always unfortunate when human error enters into athletic competition but, the reality is, during the course of an event, contest or game occasionally judges, referees and officials can determine the difference between euphoric championship glory and dejected defeat.

Such was the case yesterday, May 4th, at the Sly Fox Brewing Company's Annual Bock Festival and Goat Races ,where the final heat came down to a photo finish between four goats.

The call on the course based on limited photos available at the time, was that Spartacus, a sizable athlete from Pottstown, PA, had won, and the crowd went wild. Even after the line official conferred with the benefit of video replay, the call stood Spartacus was the champion!

[ ... ]

Spartacus, a five-year-old, 75 pound runner entered by Frank Smith Beverages in Pottstown, PA, was handled by Mia Lucchesi and Jeremy Woodside. This was Spartacus' shot at redemption having been disqualified in 2013 due to inept handling. The entire team erupted with joy when Spartacus was named the winner of the closest final heat in recent memory.

There was just one problem, Spartacus lost by a hoof.

[ ...]

The actual winner of the 2014 event is Jixxer, a recused Alpine four-year-old weighing 132 pounds. Owned and handled by Rob Detwiler, this was Jixxer's second goat race....

The entire statement can be read here.

April 24, 2014 - Three Floyds Is Planning a $10 Million Expansion
FROM BREWBOUND (David Eisenberg)
The only thing worse than running into one zombie would be crossing paths with 100,000 of them. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the undead that adorn the labels of Three Floyds’ revered pale ale, Zombie Dust. Beer lovers would probably like to see more of those around.

In that regard, they’re in luck. The Munster, Ind.-based craft brewery is planning a $10 million expansion, which would double the size of its facility and nearly triple production to 100,000 barrels annually.

The project calls for a new bottling and packaging line, additional warehouse and basement storage space, a tasting room, a carry-out counter and other employee amenities. On top of that, Three Floyds plans to add a distillery to begin producing spirits.

Read the complete story here.

April 18, 2014 - Belgium's Beer Heritage May Be Dying
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
DWORP, Belgium — The ruby lettering on the front of the old corner pub “In de Welkom” has peeled almost beyond recognition. Owner Leza Wauters, a tough 87-year-old, is holding on to her business but can’t say how much longer. Sooner or later, yet another bar with a warm “Welcome” will be gone.

Serving local geuze, triples and pils beers for generations, the pub has embodied what the drink means to Belgians — bringing together families and friends with cheers of “sante” and “gezondheid,” gulping down tasty suds before ordering more.

Now, the tables are often empty, a sign of the hard times many pubs have fallen upon as Belgians have stopped drinking beer like they used to. The beer industry, meanwhile, has increasingly relied on exporting the world-class beers to far-flung markets.

Not good, they say here.

Read the entire story here.

April 18, 2014 - Beer News You Can Use. Or Not.
FROM CRAFT BUSINESS DAILY:
Munster, Indiana's Three Floyds' proposed $10 million expansion, recently secured through local bank money, calls for doubling the size of the microbrewery, and producing craft spirits. "In three years time, [CEO Nick] Floyd says the expanded brewery -- complete with a German-made, robot-run 'Porsche of bottling lines' -- will nearly triple its production to 100,000 barrels a year and get your favorite beer to your favorite bar in half the time," per DNAinfoChicago. The expansion includes plans for a five-story craft spirits distillery with room to quick-age whiskey ("at Texas temperatures"). They plan to use their beer mash to make "Indiana whiskey" and also distil their popular but rare imperial stout, Dark Lord, "into a unique high-quality spirit that appeals to both beer and whiskey drinkers."

The first 750-barrel batch of Lagunitas IPA was mixed a few weeks ago, and is now getting into bottles and labels at the new Chicago brewery. "Other batches of IPA are right behind as production begins to ramp up," per Crain's Chicago Business. "The Chicago brewery is set to start making Little Sumpin' Sumpin' beer next month." Chicago will help alleviate the Petaluma facility, currently brewing at 94% of capacity.

New Belgium Brewing has announced it will officially break ground and start construction on its second brewery, a 133,000 square foot brewery and tasting room in Asheville, at the beginning of May. At full buildout, New Belgium will brew 500,000 barrels annually and support upwards of 140 jobs at the new site. The groundbreaking includes a private ceremony on May 1 and a public celebration on May 2. New Belgium worked with North Carolina's brownfield program to invest in and remediate the site and improve the tasting room area, a brownfield site.

April 12, 2014 - Iron Hill Wins Five Medals, Small Brewpub Championship at 2014 World Cup
BA PRESS RELEASE:
Boulder, CO • April 11, 2014—The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America's small and independent craft brewers—announced the results of one of the largest commercial beer competitions to date, the 2014 World Beer Cup Awards. The awards were presented at the conclusion of Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America® in Denver, Colo.

Drawing the highest number of entries to date, this edition of the World Beer Cup saw 4,754 beers from 1,403 breweries representing 58 countries—a 21 percent increase in the number of entries from the 2012 World Beer Cup, which had 3,921 entries.

Complete press release here.

LOCAL COVERAGE (Jack Curtin):
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations won five medals at the 2014 World Cup in Denver last night, including three Golds and two Bronze, and Iron Hill Media was named Champion Brewery in the Small Brewpub Category.

Other local winners were Bronze Medals awarded to Stoudt's Brewing Co. and Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery, a return to the winner's circle for the Pennsylvania's oldest modern day brewpub and a first step into the limelight for one the region's newest brewpubs.

Here's a complete list of all the 2014 World Cup Winners.

Update: Here is a list of the seven local award winning brews and brewers.

April 09, 2014 - Craft Beer Conference Opened Today, Draws Largest Crowd Ever
FROM BREWBOUND (by David Eisenberg and Chris Furnari):
Representatives from the Brewers Association (BA), alongside Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and other notable brewing industry professionals, addressed a standing room only crowd of brewers and distributors during this morning’s Craft Brewers Conference general session in Denver, Colo.

BA president Charlie Papazian asked brewers to continue improving various aspects of their businesses — urging attendees to focus on producing quality beer, continuing innovation, getting involved in legislative debates and promoting safety.

[ ... ]

BA director Paul Gatza and staff economist Bart Watson delivered a state of the industry presentation, which put that explosive growth into numerical perspective.

Fresh off a year (in 2012) where craft beer production reached an all-time high, 2013 volumes grew 18 percent. That growth came at a time when overall beer sales declined 2 percent, Watson said. Nevertheless, 15.6 million craft barrels were sold in 2013, an uptick of 2.3 million over 2012. Craft pricing also went up 2.3 percent, said Watson.

[BA Executive Director Paul] Gatza touched on a number of other concerns facing the industry, chief among them was what he described as a necessity to reform franchise laws and a commitment to producing quality beer....[I]t was quality beer that Gatza emphasized the most – he listed it as a concern three times in his presentation.

[ ... ]

Ron Extract, of Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas, was given the FX Matt Defense of the Industry Award. Teri Fahrendorf, of Pink Boots Society, was given the Brewers Association Recognition Award. Lastly, the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation and Excellence in Brewing was given to Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Co., of Escondido, Calif.

Much more in the complete Brewbound story here.

April 09, 2014 - Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Program Goes National This Summer
NEWS RELEASE
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has announced that it has invited every craft brewery in the country – more than 2,700 – to take part in a multi-weekend traveling beer festival this summer. Beer Camp Across America is a celebration for the entire craft beer community, bringing together brewers and the fans who have buoyed their success.

“We’re about to open a second brewery in North Carolina, and while that’s exciting for us, it’s an even greater reason to celebrate the future of craft brewers everywhere,” explained Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder. “We’ve watched and learned from each other for decades, and together we’ve seen tastes change and craft’s momentum snowball. Beer Camp Across America is our way of reflecting on this—with thousands of brewers, fans and great beers. It should be pretty fun.”

Beer Camp Across America will feature seven stops—in cities with thriving craft beer cultures—moving geographically west to east, much like the craft movement has historically spread. Each tour stop will feature that city’s local and surrounding regional brewers. The festivals will appropriately begin and end at Sierra Nevada’s two brewing locations, kicking off in Chico where it took root in 1980, and culminating in Mills River, NC for the grand opening of its East Coast brewery. The festival schedule is as follows:
* Sat, July 19th: Northwest Edition at Sierra Nevada Hop Field in Chico, CA, 12-5 p.m.
* Sun, July 20th: Southwest Edition at Embarcadero North in San Diego, CA, 1-6 p.m.
* Fri, July 25th: Rocky Mountain Edition at Sculpture Park in Denver, CO, 5-10 p.m.
* Sun, July 27th: Midwest Edition at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, 12-5 p.m.
* Fri, August 1st: New England Edition at Thompson Point in Portland, ME, 5-10 p.m.
* Sat, August 2nd: Mid-Atlantic Edition at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, PA, 12-5 p.m.
* Sun, August 3rd: Southeast Edition in Mills River, NC, 1-6 p.m.

Each festival will feature up to two beers per brewery, food vendors, and live music by the MarchFourth Marching Band spectacle. Tickets are limited to 5,000 per venue. Tickets cost $65 for general admission, which includes a tasting glass and unlimited tastings (in most locations, see the website for full details). A designated driver ticket is available for $30. Ticket prices are exclusive of taxes and fees, which will vary according to location.

In conjunction with the festivals, Sierra Nevada has partnered with a dozen exceptional craft breweries to create 12 different beers for one mixed 12-pack – including 10 bottles and two cans – another first in the craft beer world. The Beer Camp Across America 12-pack will be available throughout the U.S. this summer, and the dozen brewing partners will join selective legs of the festival tour. Craft drinkers can explore all 12 beers and purhcases tickets online.

Beer Camp Across America is also a giveback program: proceeds will go to the state brewers guilds in the festival host states and to hop and barley research to foster the development of new types of hop varieties and barley crops to fuel the pursuit of new flavor experiences for the ever-expanding tastes of craft drinkers.

April 02, 2014 - Airlines Are Adding Craft Beers to In-flight Offerings
FROM ABC NEWS
Attention passengers, craft beer has reached 35,000 feet.

As the airline industry works to improve its food and beverage options, a new trend has emerged -- airlines adding craft beers to their in-flight offerings. The assumption is that as more drinkers switch from mass market beers to specialty brews, they'll be happier if they don't have to give up the good stuff when they're in the air.

"We already had our drinkers on airplanes, we just didn't have the beer," says Jim Koch, co-founder of the Boston Beer Co., maker of Sam Adams. "They want to drink in the air what they're drinking on the ground."

It's another sign that airlines are getting better at responding to changing consumer tastes...

[ ... ]

Reasons for the surge include the craft beer industry's new preference for cans over bottles -- which are lighter and easier to store on drink carts -- as well as greater availability of the beers.

Read more here.

April 01, 2014 - Brewers Association Lists Top 50 Breweries of 2013
NEWS RELEASE
The Brewers Association HAS released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume and the craft brewer definition in 2013.

Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 38 were small and independent craft brewing companies.

“In 2013, craft breweries reached new all-time highs in production volume and dollar sales,” said Bart Watson, staff economist, Brewers Association. “Beer lovers continue to demand high-quality, fuller-flavored and local beers from small and independent craft breweries.”

Complete news release and list of top 50 breweries.

April 01, 2014 - Boxcar Brewing to Open West Chester Brewpub
NEWS RELEASE
Today we formally announced our plans to establish Boxcar’s very own brewpub in the heart of West Chester, Pennsylvania, aimed at providing locals and beer fanatics alike with quality crafted beer and locally grown food and ingredients.

"The inspiration for the brewpub is rooted in our desire to create a living, breathing space where our passion for beer and the arts can integrate with our community in a meaningful and lasting way,"said Kymberly Robinson, co-owner of Boxcar Brewing Company as well as Stratus Interactive, a West Chester based full service marketing and website development firm.

Read it all.

March 28, 2014 - When Titans Gather: Dogfish Head, Boston Beer & Yuengling Honchos Speak Out
FROM LEHIGH VALLEY LIVE (Edward Siegel):
Boston Brewing founder Jim Koch likens the evolution of the craft beer industry to the "Star Wars" movie trilogy.

The 1990s represented "Star Wars: The New Hope," as craft brewers proliferated like the scrappy band of rebels battling Darth Vader triumphed over the Empire, Koch said. Then, the Empire struck back and the nation's big brewers drove a majority of craft brewers out of business, he said.

[ ... ] Hotel Bethlehem tonight hosted the Brewers of Pennsylvania trade association and three industry heavyweights to discuss craft brewing's history and growing future.

Joining Koch at the dais for a panel discussion were fifth-generation brewer Dick Yuengling and Sam Calagione, founder of the innovative Delaware-based craft brewer Dogfish Head Brewing.

The whole story is here.

March 27, 2014 - Virginia's Devils Backbone Brewing Plans Major Expansion
FROM BREWBOUND (David Eisenburg)
Looking to become a “significant regional player,” Virginia-based Devils Backbone Brewing Co. is setting its sights on the 100,000-barrel club.

In the next 18 months, the company — which only began bottling and kegging its products for regional distribution in 2012 — will install a 120-barrel brewhouse by next summer in an effort to accommodate rapid growth. The expansion project will increase Devils Backbone’s theoretical production capacity to about 100,000 barrels and the brewery is capable of being scaled to 275,000 barrels, said brewery COO Hayes Humphreys.

“We intend to fill that capacity,” added Humphreys. “We’re going to be a pretty big player on the east coast.”

Read the entire story here.

March 24, 2014 - BA Reports Increase in Craft Exports
BA NEWS RELEASE:
The Brewers Association today reported that, based on results from a recently-completed industry survey, craft beer export volume increased by 49 percent in 2013, representing 282,526 barrels and an estimated $73 million.

Canada remained the industry's largest export market, with shipments increasing 92 percent by volume (up to 131,511 barrels) in 2013. Sweden (15.5 percent) and the United Kingdom (7.9 percent) remained the next two largest markets, with Australia (5.4 percent) and Japan (3.2 percent) following.

In total, shipments to Asia Pacific (non-Japan) increased by 73 percent and accounted for 44,228 barrels. American craft beer exports have increased substantially in the Asia-Pacific region largely due to emerging markets such as Singapore (up 379 percent), Hong Kong (up 150 percent) and Thailand (up 99 percent).

"Exports of American craft beer continue to expand in the international market, reflecting craft brewing’s overall success as an industry. New distribution agreements for U.S breweries throughout Europe and Asia are helping to grow exports,” said Bob Pease, chief operating officer, Brewers Association. “This sustained growth is a testament to the innovation of small and independent American craft brewers and the enthusiasm of beer drinkers internationally. With more beer exported around the world, the challenge now is to ensure that beer quality is preserved in all cases, so consumers are assured a positive experience. This is an area of focus for the Brewers Association and the Export Development Program.”

The BA supports exports through its Export Development Program (EDP) which was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program (USDA MAP). The EDP generates exposure for American craft beer through trade shows, festivals, seminars, media outreach and competitions, among other activities.

“Expanding the footprint of American craft beers internationally is an important goal for small and independent craft brewers. We are thrilled to see the increasing appreciation of and demand for American craft beer in markets outside of the U.S.,” added Eric Wallace, president and co-founder of Left Hand Brewing Company and chair of the BA’s Export Development Program committee. “The EDP will continue to promote American craft beers through its focus on quality and diversity to ensure they flourish abroad over the long term.”

March 23, 2014 - Beverage Media Group 2014 Beer Market Forecast Shows Craft Impact
BEVERAGE MEDIA GROUP STORY
For American beer lovers, the coming year looks to be positively sunny, with more astounding styles flowing from taps, bottles, barrels and cans than ever. For suppliers, however, it looks like marketers and resellers are in for strong tradewinds—in multiple directions.

The U.S. craft beer category—now comprised of almost 3,000 artisanal brewers in all 50 states—is so hot that it surprises no one that some crafties are now receiving takeover offers from overseas as well as at home.

Read the whole story.

March 19, 2014 - Could Stone Brewing's New East Coast Brewery End Up in Bethlehem?
FROM THE MORNING CALL
Celebrity chefs from around the world. Concerts with headliners from Selena Gomez to Motley Crue. The world's largest gaming operator at the Sands casino. A luxury outlet mall. Perhaps a Bass Pro Shops store.

So what's on tap next for the former Bethlehem Steel plant? Maybe Stone Brewing Co., a rising West Coast craft brewer well known to hops lovers. The original developers behind the redevelopment of the former Bethlehem Steel plant on South Side have answered Stone Brewing Co.'s call for proposals on where it could build its first East Coast facility.

The plan envisioned for Bethlehem would, appropriately, place Stone Brewing in an old stone building, the former Iron Foundry, in the nearby Carpenters Shop and in what city officials call "the ruins," the Bessemer complex of the Bethlehem Iron Co., Steel's predecessor.

The $20 million first phase of the project would start by year's end, with an expansion that could lead to a $60 million investment, company officials said.

Read the complete story.

March 19, 2014 - Tired Hands Will Open Second Ardmore Location
FROM THE MAIN LINE TIMES:
Tired Hands Brewing Company in Ardmore has anNounced they are expanding with a new production facility at 35 Cricket Terrace next to Schauffele Plaza.

The site will be capable of supplying 10,000 barrels of beer per year plus a new brewcafe according to a post made on Instagram:.

"It is with great pride and humble excitement that I present to you the next chapter in the life of Tired Hands," reads the Instagram post. "Located at 35 Cricket Terrace in our fair town of Ardmore, this beautiful building will serve as our production facility (capable of producing up to 10,000 barrels of our Strange & Beautiful beer per year) as well as a secondary brewcafé (focusing on a very different culinary theme than our existing café).

Both establishments will offer wildly different draft offerings as well (we will soon have room for hundreds of oak barrels). While we don't have a proper name for our new facility just yet, we are all unbelievably excited to increase our contribution to the blossoming Philadelphia brewing scene. Thank you all for your love and support throughout the past (almost) two years of operations. Stick with us... We are just getting started."

No further details, including an estimated date of opening, are currently available.
March 17, 2014 - Brewers Association Releases Preliminary 2013 Stats
NEWS RELEASE
The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, today released 2013 data on U.S. craft brewing¹ growth. As a primary driver of growth in the beer industry, craft brewers saw an 18 percent rise in volume², representing a total of 15.6 million barrels, and a 20 percent increase in retail dollar value.

In 2013, craft brewers reached 7.8 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market, up from 6.5 percent the previous year. Additionally, craft dollar share of the total U.S. beer market reached 14.3 percent in 2013, as retail dollar value from craft brewers was estimated at $14.3 billion, up from $11.9 billion in 2012.

“With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade,” said Bart Watson, staff economist, Brewers Association. “Beer drinkers are excited about what small and independent brewers are offering and that is evidenced by the rising production and sales of the craft segment.”

Read the entire news release.

March 15, 2014 - Recalcitrant Bottling Line Hindered Victory's First Days in New Brewery
FROM BREWBOUND:
Victory Brewing Company hit the ground running in February with the launch of its second brewery, but in recent weeks, the installation of a used bottling line has proved a royal aggravation.

“Last week was extremely painful,” said brewery co-founder Bill Covaleski. “This 12-year-old piece of equipment has worked great for 12 years. You assemble it in a new location and [stuff] doesn’t want to work.”

Everything else, he added, from brewing clarification to fermentation has been going perfectly. But for the first three weeks of January, Victory was without bottling capabilities. It’s better now, but still not perfect.

[ ... ]

DirtWolf, which was released last October, has thrived for a couple of reasons. For starters, it’s a double IPA. It’s also the company’s first foray into 4-packs, which it now offers as a sort of recognition of the craft consumer’s brand promiscuity.

Here's the complete Brewbound story.

March 12, 2014 - Total Beverage Solution Acquires Rights to Vanberg & DeWulf Portfolio
NEWS RELEASE
Total Beverage Solution (TBS) and Vanberg & DeWulf are pleased to announce that TBS has acquired the exclusive rights to the Vanberg & DeWulf portfolio...

Writing from Belgium, Vanberg & DeWulf co-founders Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield explain, “We feel this is the right move at precisely the right time with exactly the right team. Our brewers and their beers are in capable hands.”

Here's the entire news release.

March 10, 2014 - Stone Brewing Is Latest West Coast Brewery To Seek East Coast Location
FROM BEERPULSE.COM
This winter, Stone Brewing Co. subtly announced through a Request for Proposal (RFP) that it would like to open another brewery, ideally, East of the Mississippi River. The company also released a second open-ended RFP indicating that it would like to open more Stone Company Store locations around the U.S...

Read more here.

March 03, 2014 - Brewers Association Board Makes Strategic Changes
BA NEWS RELEASE:
At a two-day meeting held February 26-27 in Boulder, Colo., the Brewers Association (BA) Board of Directors introduced changes to the association's foundational framework to better serve the not-for-profit trade group's membership of small and independent American craft brewers.

"The changes to fundamental elements of our industry were undertaken with significant deliberation and consideration of many voices," said Paul Gatza, Brewers Association director. "In November 2013, at the Board's direction, the BA surveyed our voting brewery members regarding the ‘foundational documents' of our association. The results gave us ample member input on these matters of critical importance as the Board headed into its strategic planning meeting."

Gary Fish, chair of the BA Board of Directors and president of Deschutes Brewery, added: "The Board takes seriously its duty to help the association evolve with the dynamic industry it represents. The Board worked to provide forward-looking leadership, recognizing our role as elected decision makers while taking into account the variety of views expressed by the Brewers Association's diverse membership."

The rest of the story, including full details of all the changes and the revised craft brewer definition.

February 28, 2014 - Can the Big Brewers Make Light Beer Work Again?
FROM BLOOMBERG
MillerCoors LLC and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), after years of focusing on craft ales, ciders and imports, are paying more attention to the working man’s drink of choice: cheap beer. The two brewers, which account for three-quarters of the U.S. beer industry, will boost marketing this year for economy brands such as Keystone Light and Busch Light.

During the televised Nascar race on March 2, MillerCoors will begin airing the first national advertising for Keystone Light since 2011. A similar campaign for Miller High Life, which calls itself the “champagne of beers,” starts in April. AB InBev will expand its marketing for Busch to year-round and has introduced a fuller flavored version called Busch Signature Copper Lager.

“Regular guys like to drink beer, there’s no doubt about it,” MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said in an interview. “We’ve struggled with those brands a little bit.”

As persistent unemployment after the recession left blue-collar workers with less money for beer, brewers shifted resources to higher-margin brands such as MillerCoors’s Blue Moon and Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev’s Bud Light Lime. As the economy rebounds, companies are racing to win with a crowd that is among the most loyal and thirsty of beer drinkers.

the whole story.

February 25, 2014 - There Will Be a Beer Garden on Independence Mall Starting This Summer
FROM PHILLY.COM (MICHAEL KLEIN'S "INSIDER":
Imagine people eating and getting their drink on, just steps from Independence Hall. It happened in the 18th century, and it will happen again this summer.

Chef/restaurateur Michael Schulson has secured a deal with the owners of One South Independence Mall West - the landmark Rohm & Haas building and now the home of Dow Chemical at Sixth and Market Streets - to create an outdoor beer garden across from the Liberty Bell.

Schulson, who owns Sampan, The Saint James, and Atlantic City's Izakaya, will control a staggering 30,000 square feet around the building as Independence Beer Garden, which they hope to open July 4. Plan is to run it seven months a year.

Read the whole story.

February 25, 2014 - Brewers Confronted by California’s Water Crisis
FROM THINKPROGRESS.ORG
Along with California’s water supplies and public health, the ongoing drought in the state may have yet another victim to claim: beer.

Lagunitas Brewing Company — one of California’s biggest craft breweries — told NPR last week that the drought is threatening the Russian River, where they get the water for their beer. Such sources play a key role in the brewing process — as NPR notes, producers like Coors and Cold Spring Brewing Co. tout their use of water from the Rockies and a Minnesota natural spring, respectively. But if the drought forces Lagunitas to switch from the river to groundwater for its supplies, the heavy minerals in the latter won’t go well with the beer.

“It would be like brewing with Alka-Seltzer,” Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas’ head brewer, told NPR.

“In some [of the region's wells] there are taste and odor issues,” added Jay Jasperse, chief engineer with the Sonoma County Water Agency. “You have high nitrate concentrations in places, from agricultural industries, and iron and manganese.”

Read the whole story.

February 16, 2014 - Victory Brewing Co. Wins State Sustainability Award
VICTORY PRESS RELEASE
On Saturday, February 8, Victory Brewing Company® (Victory) was awarded the 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Business Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).

Presented as part of the PASAbilities Leadership Award Series at PASA’s 23rd annual Farming for the Future conference, the honor recognizes Victory’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, innovation and environmental leadership within the community.PJL_1443

“When we joined PASA many years ago, we recognized the group as a sort of refuge of like-minded individuals,” said Bill Covaleski, President and Brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company. “At the time, local production and consumption were strange ideals to many, so we felt the need to band together with this group."

Read the whole press release.

February 15, 2014 - Historic Columbia House in Phoenixville To Become Newest Great American Pub
NATALIE KOSTELNI, PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL:
The family that owns the Great American Pub has put the Columbia House in Phoenixville, Pa., under agreement with an eye toward bringing the popular eatery to the Chester County borough.

The Hemchers anticipate closing on the Victorian building at 148 Bridge St. in a month and has plans to spend roughly $500,000 to renovate the structure on the inside and out.

The 13,555-square-foot property, a landmark in Phoenixville, was put up for sale last year as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding filed by an entity that owned it. The property was initially listed for $1.8 million and then lowered to $1.6 million. The asking price was dropped to $1.4 million and the Hemchers are reportedly paying close to that amount.

Th complete story is here.

February 13, 2014 - Number of US Breweries Reaches All-Time High, Says Beer Institute
BEER INSTITUTE PRESS RELEASE
The United States saw an ever-higher number of new breweries enter the market in 2013, with a record-high 3,699 active ‘permitted breweries’ overseen by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). An analysis by the Beer Institute showed that the majority of the 948 new permits issued in 2013 went to brewpubs.

“We have tracked the industry since our preceding trade association was first founded in 1862, and there’s a story in these numbers. Beer is constantly evolving in the U.S., with more small brewers than ever before, more brands being introduced by national brewers and growing interest in imports,” said Chris Thorne, vice president of communications at the Beer Institute.

Read the entire press release.

February 09, 2014 - Anheuser-Busch InBev Is Purchasing New York's Blue Point Brewing Company
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the country’s largest brewer, has agreed to buy the Blue Point Brewing Company in a move that could help it capitalize on the popularity of craft beer.

The deal, announced on Wednesday, would bring a Long Island beer company with a devoted following into a family of brands that includes Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s and – as of last year – Corona. Blue Point, which calls itself “Long Island’s oldest and most award-winning brewery,” is known for its creativity and independent spirit.

Terms of the deal between Blue Point and the United States arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev were not disclosed. It is expected to close in the second quarter.

Read the whole NYT story here.

While there was some outrage in the craft beer community, overall reaction was calm and responsible.

The times, they are a'changin...

February 04, 2014 - Fox News: The Next Beer Snob You Meet Just Might Be a Robot
FROM FOXNEWS,COM
A team of Spanish researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona have created an electronic "tongue" that can tell the difference between beer varieties and the amount of alcohol each variety contains.

The discovery, published last year in the journal Food Chemistry, states that the robotic tongue is accurate 82 percent of the time.

The futuristic tongue was able to tell the difference between Schwarzbier, lager, double malt, Pilsen, Alsatian and low-alcohol beer.

Read the whole story.

February 04, 2014 - Cicerone Certification Program Launches in Canada
NEWS RELEASE:
In February, the US-based Cicerone Certification Program is launching a version of their materials fully adapted to the Canadian market. The new version makes it easier for Canadians who sell and serve beer for a living to join the ranks of more than 30,000 individuals who have earned the respected Cicerone credentials.

While Canadians have been participating in the Cicerone program at all levels since it was launched in January of 2008, the Cicerone organization has adapted the program to the Canadian market based on input from Canadian brewers, bar owners and educators. Changes affect both the syllabi and exams for the first two levels of the program: Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone®. Changes from the US versions include things like drinking age, alcohol distribution and some aspects of beer style descriptions.

“People who live in nearly a dozen countries have earned Cicerone credentials, but the extensive participation in Canada led us to make it our first official international program,” said Ray Daniels, Cicerone Certification Program’s founder and director. “Toronto beer expert and Master Cicerone® Mirella Amato has been instrumental in helping us adapt the program.”

As Canada’s second Certified Cicerone (certified in 2009) the founder of BetterBeer.com, Steve Riley has found participating in the program lends more credibility to his business. “Having a career in the beer industry, I found the accreditation extremely valuable as it has given me credibility as someone who understands beer,” Riley said. “As the certification is difficult to obtain, it also proves that graduates have made the commitment to improving their beer education.”

At Toronto’s craft beer-focused bar WVRST, beverage manager Pat Thomson requires the bar staff to attain Certified Beer Server certification within three months of hire. “As a modernized beer hall specializing in craft beer, it's paramount that our staff not only enjoy beer, but truly understand it as well,” Thomson said. “The comprehensive Certified Beer Server Syllabus has given our staff the tools and information they need to become knowledgeable and confident beer servers.”

January 31, 2014 - Triumph Brewing Old City Pub Will Be Sold, Reports Michael Klein
The days appear to be numbered for Triumph Brewing Co.'s Old City location, at 117 Chestnut St. FROM MICHAEL KLEIN'S "THE INSIDER":
Paperwork filed with the Liquor Control Board and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau shows that a partnership has applied for licensing at the brewpub, which opened about seven years ago.

The potential buyers will call the operation Second Story Brewing Co., a play on both the second-floor brewhouse in Old City and the new industry of the investors.

Read the full story, including a guess as to who will be in the brewhouse.

January 31, 2014 - Draft Magazine's America’s 100 Best Beer Bars 2014
Teresa's was the only suburban venue among the honorees and the Hartranft/Maida group hit a double with both Memphis Taproom and Strangeloves being chosen.

Read the complete story here or just the Northeast listings here

January 28, 2014 - Victory Brewing Co.: How It Started & Where It's Going
FROM SCOTT PRUDEN, MAINLINETODAY.COM
A little more than two years ago, two men walked unannounced into the West Sadsbury Township building. Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet had a question: How would the small, semi-rural Chester County community feel about hosting Victory Brewing Company’s latest venture. “I just about jumped across the table and kissed the two of them,” recalls Frank Haas, chairman of the township’s board of supervisors.

Friends since fifth grade, Covaleski and Barchet have overseen the Downingtown microbrewery’s unlikely success story. Back in 1985, just out of college, Covaleski began tinkering with his dad’s home-brewing equipment. That same year, he gave Barchet his own kit for Christmas, and things snowballed from there. Ditching their corporate jobs, they dove into the suds industry, working for Baltimore Brewing Company and Virginia’s Old Dominion before officially opening Victory on Feb. 15, 1996.

Eighteen years later to the month, they begin full-scale production at their newest brewery.

Read the whole story here.

January 28, 2014 - West Flanders Brewing & Elysian Brewing Brewpubs Make Super Bowl Wager
NEWS RELEASE
(Boulder, CO) – In advance of the upcoming Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, West Flanders Brewing is entering into a “we’re going to win!” wager with its brewpub peers at Seattle, Washington’s revered Elysian Brewing Company.

The terms of the wager are significant.

The head brewer for the brewpub of the winning city’s team will be flown to the losing team’s city, at the loser’s expense. The winning brewer will take over the losing brewery’s equipment and staff and brew a beer of their choice on that brewery’s equipment.

To raise the stakes even higher, on tapping day the host brewery must fly the Denver Broncos, er, winning team’s flag for two weeks or until the beer is gone, whichever comes first.

“My suitcase is packed and I already have the Broncos flag folded up for the trip,” says West Flanders head brewer Brian Lutz. “The Seahawks are a great team, but Manning and the Broncos are going to stampede to victory in New Jersey.”

Lutz says he is compiling a list of premium Colorado-grown ingredients to use in the beer he intends to brew in Seattle. “The beer’s gonna be delicious,” he says, “but it may leave a bad taste in the mouths of Seahawks fans.”

"I cannot wait to see the Seahawks flag raised in Colorado" says Elysian co-founder David Buhler. "The NFL's top-ranked defense against the top-ranked offense makes this one of the most epic Super Bowl games ever. But the ‘hawks secondary is going to dismantle Manning and our offense will be in Beast mode"

West Flanders co-founder Mark Heinritz is not worried about such predictions. “The state of Washington,” Heinritz says, “has excellent breweries, incredible hop fields, and the second-best football team in the NFL. The Broncos will win.”

January 28, 2014 - Craft Brew Alliance CEO Comes out Swinging at Beer Summit: "Don’t Bash Beer"
AS REPORTED TODAY BY BREWBOUND:
In a powerful speech, Andy Thomas, the newly-minted CEO of Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), used this year’s annual Beer Summit as a platform to fire specific and cutting remarks at the Brewers Association, the chief representative of the craft brewing movement and one that has tried to classify his products and others as something less than craft.

Taking the stage in front of 300 beer industry professionals and saying he intended to “go back to when we were younger and weren’t afraid to speak our minds,” Thomas leveled a series of charges against high school-style cliques and labels in the beer industry, and instead suggested that brewers worry more about their companies than what they are called by others.

[ ... ]

He emphasized his point, over and over again.

“Don’t bash beer,” he said. “Don’t bash craft beer. Don’t bash crafty beer. Don’t bash domestic beer. Don’t bash imported beer. Don’t bash light beer. Don’t bash brands. Don’t bash brewers. Don’t bash beer consumers. Don’t bash retailers or wholesalers. Don’t bash beer — celebrate beer.”

Read the entire article here. It's worth the time.

January 27, 2014 - Brewbound Reports Sierra Nevada’s 2014 Strategy
POSTED AT BREWBOUND THIS AFTERNOON:
Sierra Nevada Brewing had planned to brew one million barrels in 2013. The company had also planned to open its new brewery in North Carolina and grow production more than four percent.

It’ll have to wait a little while.

Sierra Nevada sold 985,000 barrels in 2013 — just shy of the one-million it was hoping for — as growth was stunted by capacity constraints at Sierra’s home base in Chico, Calif....

Read all about Sierra Nevada's plans for the coming year here.

January 24, 2014 - Philly Beer Week Names New Executive Director
REPORTED BY MICHAEL KLEIN JAN 17:
Philly Beer Week has a new executive director.

Kristine Kennedy replaces founder Don Russell, who resigned in December. Kennedy made it onto the board's radar because of her work with Fishtown's Penn Treaty Park.

The complete original report is here.

January 17, 2014 - Victory Sends Beer Lover on World Wide Craft Tour
FROM BREWBOUND:
Victory Brewing Company has teamed up with some of the world’s leading craft breweries to send one lucky beer lover, Jordan Flinchum of California, Kentucky, on a beer trip of a lifetime, touring six of the world’s best craft breweries across five countries in four weeks.

Jordan, who won the trip after receiving the most fan votes in a social media contest orchestrated by Victory, as well as 4 Pines Brewing Company (Sydney, Australia), Feral Brewing Company (Perth, Australia), Good George Brewing (Hamilton, New Zealand), Meantime Brewing (London, England) and The Brew (Shanghai, China), will be flown craft beer class (economy) on a round-the-world ticket, stopping at each participating brewery....

Read the complete news release here.

January 15, 2014 - US Brewery Number Climbs Over 2,700
BREWERS ASSOCIATION BLOG:
At the end of 2013, the number of breweries in the United States reached the highest level seen in the country since the early 1870s. At the end of December, the Brewers Association counted 2,722 brewing facilities in the US, an increase of almost 400 from the end of 2012.

This brewery count is the number of breweries in operation at the turn of 2014. The number of operating breweries for the calendar year will be somewhat higher to account for breweries that operated for some of the year, but closed during 2013. The operating breweries figure will be released later this winter.

These breweries broke down as follows (for more on these definitions see market segments):
Regional breweries: 120
Microbreweries: 1376
Brewpubs: 1202
Large breweries: 24

Read the complete story here.

January 14, 2014 - Victory Brewing Company Introduces 1337 Ale
BREWERY NEWS RELEASE
Victory Brewing Company is pleased to announce a special beer release, 1337TM Ale, to hit retail shelves along the East Coast in late-February 2014. Scheduled for release around Victory’s 18th anniversary, 1337 Ale is a salute to the legislation that legalized homebrewing with a throwback recipe from co-founders Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet’s early days as homebrewers.

Signed into law in 1979, H.R. 1337 made home-brewed beer for personal or family use exempt from taxation and ignited a movement that led to the birth of a now thriving craft beer industry. At that time, Bill and Ron were more focused on street hockey and Star Wars than hops. However, six years later, armed with a home brew kit, the pair developed a passion for the hobby that would lead them to abandon their corporate jobs to pursue the craft and eventually start Victory Brewing Company.

Now, as Victory continues its expansion into a second full-time production brewery in Parkesburg, Pa., this limited and commemorative ale, packaged in 22 oz. bottles and kegs, also celebrates the brewery’s future.

“Thankfully, 1337 Ale will have more maturity and complexity than we did as a 16-year olds,” laughs President and Brewmaster, Covaleski. “This was a fun beer to dream up; it took Ron and me on a nice walk down Memory Lane, while at the same time, celebrates the next phase of our journey as we head into our 18th year with two breweries and soon-to-be second brewpub under our belt. Hopefully our fans have enjoyed the ride as much as we have.”

January 10, 2014 - The First U.S. Brewed Trappist Brewery Born in New England
FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE
With only nine Trappist breweries in existence, beer brewed by monks carries with it high expectations. For a time, Westvleteren XII, a beer brewed by monks at the Abbey of Saint Sixtus in Belgium, was rated as the number one beer in the world on Beer Advocate’s website. The beers from Chimay Brewery, perhaps the Trappist brewery with the biggest footprint overseas, are marketed as premium products in this country.

The monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey were aware of those lofty goals when creating their recipe. Many commercially successful Trappist beers are big, boozy Belgian Tripels or Quadruples; Westvleteren XII is 10.2 percent alcohol by volume. Spencer Brewery settled on what it’s calling a “refectory ale,” named for the dining hall in which the monks take their meals. At St. Joseph’s, the monks will be allowed to drink the beer with Sunday dinner.

The beer is a simple Belgian Ale of 6.5 percent alcohol by volume...

Read the whole story here.

January 09, 2014 - Philadelphia Brewing Co. Embraces Bitcoins
FROM BREWBOUND:
Philadelphia Brewing Company will be the first brewery in the United States to accept the crypto-currency Bitcoin as payment for both retail and wholesale purchases effective immediately.

Retail customers will be able to purchase the popular brewery’s full assortment of beers and ciders, as well as company T-shirts, bottle openers, and other merchandise at their retail outlet on Frankford Avenue, in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Brewing Company, which has been brewing and delivering fresh beer daily since 2007, decided to accept Bitcoin because it is a simple, efficient way to accept electronic payment....

Read the complete story at Brewbound.

January 03, 2014 - Weyerbacher, Sly Fox Achieve Regional Brewery Status
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton produced 17,352 barrels of beer in 2013, while Sly Fox Brewing Co. in Pottstown turned out 16,070 barrels.

Those production levels put both companies over the arbitrary 15,000 barrel mark which the Brewers Association has set as the point where a Microbrewery becomes a Regional brewery. Weyerbacher cross that line in mid-September, sly Fox in early December.

Both companies came online in 1995, Weyerbacher in the basement of an old livery stable in August and Sly Fox as a neighborhood brewpub in a small shopping center in December. Both have earned awards and recognition for various beers produced over the years.

January 01, 2014 - Why Philadelphia Brewing Co. Is Cooler Than You Think
FROM WHYY NEWSWORKS:
When lunchtime comes for the people who brew Kenzinger beer, Walt Wit Belgian-style white ale and others, they don't have to leave the Philadelphia Brewing Company. The owner, Bill Barton, makes lunch for his employees almost every day.

Read the entire story and watch the video here.

December 20, 2013 - Red Owl Tavern Revamps Beer List to Feature Craft Beers
NEWS RELEASE
Red Owl Tavern, a modern American tavern located at the cross roads of history on Independence Mall, has revamped its beverage program with an all-domestic craft beer menu featuring interesting craft brewers from the Philadelphia area and beyond. Red Owl Tavern also recently launched its Featured Brewer of the Month program with additional menu offerings and special prices on select cans, bottles and drafts. This month’s selected brewer hails from Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains with Shawnee Craft Brewing Co.

Starting this week and running through the end of the month, Red Owl Tavern will feature Shawnee’s Apiarius Dry Pale Ale, a crisp ale brewed with local honey, on draft for $6 {$4 during happy hour} and Shawnee’s Session Porter, a rich and dark beer with chocolate and black currant overtones, in 500ml bottles for $14.

“Shawnee is a very small production brewery and they’re new,” says Red Owl manager David Lash. “But the main reason we chose them for our featured brewer this month is that they’re making really outstanding beers. Shawnee brews with all-natural ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible and they use old-style recipes interpreted for today’s craft beer market, which is something that we value at Red Owl. ”

Other craft beers currently on tap at Red Owl Tavern include:
Philadelphia Brewing Co. Walt Wit (PA)
Victory Prima Pils (PA)
Left Hand Milk Stout (CO)
River Horse Hop Hazard Pale Ale (NJ) Long Trail Hibernator (VT)
Brewer’s Art Ozzie Ale (MD)
Troegs Mad Elf (PA)

The Featured Brewer of the Month will be something to look forward to each month at Red Owl Tavern, with careful selections from each brewery. Look for more beer-related news to surface from Red Owl Tavern as they expand their well-considered all-domestic beer program and continue to explore the craft beer scene.

Featured Brewer of the Month in January will be Sly Fox Brewery of Pottstown, PA. Red Owl Tavern will offer Helles Golden Lager by the can for $3 and Route 113 IPA on draft for $4.

December 18, 2013 - Don Russell Quits Philly Beer Week Position
FROM PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER VIA PHILLY.COM
(read the original article by Danya Henninger here.)
Big Philly Beer Week news: Don Russell has stepped down from his position as executive director of the popular beer festival. The immensely popular citywide festival is gearing up for its seventh year (it runs May 30-June 8, 2014) and Russell (aka Joe Sixpack of the Daily News) has been involved since its inception.

We reached out to Philly Beer Week chairman of the board of directors William Reed (who is also co-owner of Johnny Brenda’s and Standard Tap) and to Don Russell himself to find out what led to the split. It appears Russell and the board couldn’t come to terms on salary.

“I’m totally proud of Philly Beer Week,” Russell told us. “I loved all the work I did to build it into what it became - an unprecedented event! But over time, specifically the past couple of months, it became clear to me that the majority of the board of directors didn’t share my vision for PBW - specifically, that they didn’t value my time or work that reflect my degree of expertise and the effort I put into it.”

For Russell, Philly Beer Week was a fulltime job. He isn’t quite sure what he’ll be doing next (other than enjoying the holidays with friends and family), but he did want us to make sure to stress that his Daily News column will continue. “Joe Sixpack has been around for 17 years and it’s not going anywhere.”

Here’s what Reed told us:

Don was part of PBW from the beginning. His collaboration with Bruce Nichols and Tom Peters helped launch what is the first and best Beer Week celebration. It's been ripped off, err... emulated a hundred times over, across the country and abroad.

"Philly Beer Week is the work of many people, and Don was always a big part of the leadership and vision. His role of Executive Director was the sole paid position of what's essentially a grassroots, volunteer-run organization.

"The board of directors and Don couldn't agree on fair compensation for the coming year and I believe Don felt his work undervalued.

"It's a big loss to us at PBW. Don has been a friend to most of us on the board for many years. He's earned my respect and admiration on a professional level and I'm sorry to see him resign.

"The board is currently searching for a new executive director, but there’s no need to worry, beer lovers: Philly Beer Week will continue to be as awesome as ever. As Reed says, “There are so many talented people and too many years of building up the beer community in Philadelphia to let this be a problem.”

December 17, 2013 - Craft Brewers’ Economic Contribution Reaches $34 Billion
NEWS RELEASE
According to a new analysis by the Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade association that represents the majority of U.S. breweries—small and independent American craft brewers contributed $33.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012.

The figure is derived from the total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves through the three-tier system (breweries, wholesalers and retailers), as well as all non-beer products that brewpub restaurants sell.

“With a strong presence across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, craft breweries are a vibrant and flourishing economic force at the local, state and national level,” said Bart Watson, staff economist, Brewers Association. “As consumers continue to demand a wide range of high quality, full-flavored beers, small and independent craft brewers are meeting this growing demand with innovative offerings, creating high levels of economic value in the process.”

In addition to the national impact, the BA examined output of the craft brewing industry by state, as well as the state economic contribution per capita for adults over 21.

Top Five States (2012)
1.California - $4.7 billion
2. Texas - $2.3 billion
3. New York - $2.2 billion
4. Pennsylvania - $2.0 billion
5. Colorado - $1.6 billion

December 12, 2013 - Manatawny Still Works Craft Distillery Set to Open in Early February
NEWS RELEASE:
Have you ever asked yourself, “What if ?” That’s exactly what founding partners John Giannopoulos, Jeff Vaughan, Paul Czachor, Al Matarazzo and Derek Menaldino asked themselves when they first discussed opening a craft distillery in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Fast forward twelve months from that casual conversation and Manatawny Still Works, the first craft, small-batch distillery in Montgomery County since 1969, will be opening to the public in February, 2014.

The 7,500 square foot facility is located behind the Pottstown Municipal Airport in the Circle of Progress Industrial Park on the banks of Manatawny Creek.

Manatawny Still Works (MSW) has entered into a working relationship with their neighbor on the Circle, award-winning craft brewery Sly Fox Brewing Company. The brewery will be producing the wash– the first step in whiskey production– from their state-of-the-art brewhouse.

MSW distiller Max Pfeffer, formerly lead brewer at Sly Fox Brewing Company, will run the day-to-day operations at the new distillery. "To make great whiskey, you have to start with great beer," says Pfeffer who is working on the installation of the company’s new still. "By focusing on the best ingredients, you’ve got a head start on bottling great spirits. Pfeffer studied Chemical Engineering at Penn State University before completing the prestigious, Master Brewer Program at UCDavis in California. He honed his skills and furthered his passion with stops at Victory Brewing Company and Sly Fox before accepting responsibility of operating Manatawny Still Works’ brand new, Italian-made,1,200 liter still from Barison Industry.

"There is a lot of history with liquor and spirits in Pennsylvania, says Pfeffer. "Not only will we concentrate on the more traditional spirits like vodka, rum, and whiskey but we’ll do some seasonal small batches that will only be available in our tasting room at the distillery. Max isn’t revealing too many of his secret recipes but he says, "I’ve got a few things up my sleeve, so stop in, get a tour of our facilities and taste the difference."

The barrels are stacked and awaiting the first batches to come off the stills. MSW will launch with an un-aged white whiskey aptly named, Virgin Whiskey and a light rum called Sedition; whiskey fans will have to wait two years for the new distillery’s signature spirit, Pennsylvania Whiskey.

###

ABOUT:
Manhattan Still Works (320 Circle of Progress Drive, Suite 104 Pottstown, PA 19464 484.624.8271 www.manatawnystillworks.com) is a new distillery bottling the highest quality hand-crafted spirits in small batches. The distillery is situated in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania on the banks of Manatawny Creek -whose Lenape name literally means, "the place we meet to drink."

December 11, 2013 - Philly Beer Week Raffle Event Postponed
PBW NEWS RELEASE:
PHILADELPHIA, PA – We know Philly beer drinkers are hearty souls and willing to trudge through snow for their favorite pint. Still, we think everyone will have a better time if they don’t have to worry about getting home after a fun night at the taps. With that in mind, we cancelled the original raffle date scheduled for December 10, at 7 p.m and rescheduled it for Saturday, December 21 at 2 p.m., Philly Beer Week (PBW) will host their annual Win a Trip to Belgium Raffle at Field House (1150 Filbert Street, 215-629-1520).

Online ticket sales will continue through December 20 – and, because we are so sorry to disappoint you, additional prizes have been added: an expenses-paid pub crawl with Joe Sixpack for two guests, including a chauffeured trip to the best bars in Philadelphia; a full case of Philly Beer Week’s 2014 collaborative brew; and various merchandise and gift cards from our favorite participating breweries and restaurants.

Guests will also have an opportunity to mingle and “vote” for their favorite local brewers. The grand prize remains unchanged as one lucky winner will travel to Belgium, courtesy of importer Vanberg & DeWulf, with his or her favorite brewer and consult on Philly Beer Week’s annual Belgo Collaboration beer, this year with Belgium’s youngest female brewer, Anne Catherine Dilewyns of Brouwerij Dilewyns.

Raffle tickets are $5 each, or 5 for $20. They can be purchased online before the event at PhillyBeerWeek.org (http://phillybeerweek.org/pbw_raffle.cfm). Secondary prizes, including baskets of cheer, gift certificates from local bars and restaurants, and event tickets, will also be awarded.

The PBW 2014 Collaborative Brew will be created in cooperation with Brouwerij Dilewyns and imported by Vanberg & DeWulf, who will provide the winner’s and brewer’s airline tickets and hotel rooms for the whirlwind expedition, and previously partnered with PBW and Brasserie Dupont in 2012.

December 09, 2013 - Victory Brewing Co. Expanding National and International Distribution Footprint
FROM THE BREWERY NEWS RELEASE:
Victory Brewing Company is pleased to announce that it will expand its national and international distribution footprint to include Idaho, Arizona and Kentucky, as well as the United Kingdom, Cayman Islands and Sweden. The brewery also has realigned and expanded its current distribution partners in Oregon and Washington state.

Beginning this month, Victory’s beer will be available in Oregon, Grand Cayman Island, Sweden and the UK. In January, Arizona, Idaho and Kentucky will be added to the fold.

“Many fans in these markets have long-awaited this news and we’re excited to finally make it official,” said Steve German, vice president of sales and distribution. “We're looking forward to working with our new partners, and of course, excited by the opportunity to introduce our brand to new fans in states and countries around the world.”

Victory will launch in these markets first with year-round brands: HopDeviI IPA, Headwaters Pale Ale, Prima Pils, Golden Monkey, DirtWolf and Storm King. The brewery will look to add its seasonal lineup over time.

With the addition of these new territories, Victory’s national distribution footprint will include 34 states as well as the District of Columbia; the brand will be available internationally at select locations in seven countries around the world.

"For more than 17 years, Victory has maintained a commitment to crafting delicious, full-flavored beer," German continued. "With great beer now flowing from our second brewery in Parkesburg, we're excited to share these unique flavors and recipes that our longtime fans have supported with a wider audience of craft beer lovers."

Once fully operational, the new Parkesburg brewery, which is located just 17 miles from the Downingtown brewery and headquarters, will double Victory’s production capacity.

December 04, 2013 - End of an Era: Sugar Mom's Turns Out the Lights
One of the pioneer good beer bars in Philadelphia is done. Sic transit Gloria...

FooBooz has the story

November 21, 2013 - On-Premise Beer Sales Evolving Rapidly; Craft Beer Is a Critical Factor
FROM BREWBOUND:
Food industry consulting firm Technomic released a study today showing that craft beer selection alone is enough to draw 49 percent of consumers to a restaurant.

Additionally, more than half of those surveyed agreed a wide variety of craft beer is an important factor in getting them through the door of any licensed establishment, whether it’s a casual dining stop or a high-end craft beer bar.

More details and the Technomic news release here.

November 17, 2013 - More Than 1 Million Homebrewers Brew 2 Million Barrels Yearly
FROM AN AHA NEWS RELEASE:
Boulder, CO • November 12, 2013 – The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) released results of a first-ever nationwide homebrewer survey today, a break-down of demographics, brewing habits and shopping behaviors of American homebrewers.

According to the survey, there are an estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States, two-thirds of who began brewing in 2005 or later.

“The homebrewing community is in every corner of the country and highly engaged in this hobby,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “From the amount of money spent on supplies to the sheer number of homebrewers, it’s clear this is a growing trend and people are incredibly interested in learning about and making their own brews at home.”

Survey results include:

· Demographics: The average homebrewer is 40 years old, with most (60 percent) falling between 30 and 49 years old. The majority of homebrewers are married or in a domestic partnership (78 percent), have a college degree or some form of higher education (69 percent), and are highly affluent—nearly 60 percent of all homebrewers have household incomes of $75,000 or more.
· Location: Homebrewers are fairly evenly spread across the country, with the slight plurality congregated in the West (31 percent), followed by the South (26 percent), Midwest (23 percent) and the fewest in the Northeast (17 percent).
· Production: In terms of brew production, homebrewers mainly stick to beer—60 percent of respondents only brew beer at home, compared to wine, mead or cider. AHA members and people affiliated with the AHA on average brewed nearly 10 batches of beer per year, at 7 gallons a batch, which is 15 percent more batches and nearly 30 percent more volume than homebrewers who were not affiliated with the AHA. Collectively, homebrewers produce more than 2 million barrels of brew a year, which represents a small but sizeable portion (1 percent) of total U.S. production.
· Retail: Nearly all homebrewers (95 percent) shop in two local homebrew stores eight or nine times a year, while a majority (80 percent) also shops in three online stores five times a year. On average, homebrewers spend $800 a year—about $460 on general supplies and ingredients, and $330 on major equipment.
The survey was completed by more than 18,000 homebrewers via an online survey from July 30 to September 3, 2013. Of the respondents, 65 percent were members of the AHA, and 35 percent were unaffiliated homebrewers
November 15, 2013 - PUC Grants Victory Brewing Discounted Wastewater Treatment Rate in Parkesburg
STORY BY ANDRE MAYKUTH, PHILA INQUIRER 15 Nov 3013:
Hoist one for the Victory Brewing Co.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved a discounted wastewater treatment rate that should save the Downingtown craft brewer about 21 percent on its monthly sewer bill at its new facility in western Chester County.

The Pennsylvania American Water Co. asked the PUC to approve the special bulk rate now given to Arcelor Mittal, which operates a steel mill in Coatesville. The brewer will save about $1,836 off its estimated monthly sewer bill of $8,695 under the typical industrial rate.

The utility argued that the addition of the brewery on Lower Valley Road in West Sadsbury Township "will provide economic benefits to the Coatesville area and help bear the current and future costs of providing wastewater service for all customers of the Coatesville operations," according to the PUC staff recommendation.

Victory built the brewhouse in an existing 212,000-square-foot building near Parkesburg. Initial production is expected to be 225,000 barrels a year....


Read more here.
November 13, 2013 - New Website Helps Beer Lovers Plan Their Ultimate Tasting Trip
FROM THE NEWS RELEASE:
BrewTrail.com, the ultimate compilation of brewery information, has gone online and promises to make beer tourism a one-stop planning experience.

According to the Brewer’s Association, there are 2,538 breweries and brewpubs operating in the country (the most since the 1880s) Brew Trail compiles every brewery and brewpub in the country – over 2,500 - allowing beer lovers to quickly and seamlessly plan their ultimate tasting trip. Tour schedules, tasting room hours, fees and other info is all available on one site for the first time ever.

With Brew Trail’s Trip Planner, aficionados can plot out a multi-state tour or simply check out some new breweries in town, easily incorporating each brewery’s schedule to cover ground most efficiently. It’s all free, and it’s optimized for mobile devices. From pilsners in Portland to stouts in St. Louis, Brew Trail will help plan a fantastic expedition along America’s beer trail.

“It’s been a true labor of love. A very, very detailed labor of love,” said Brew Trail co-founder Chris Margonis. “Why did we start the site? My buddy and I love beer, it’s as simple as that. And when we realized there weren’t any sites like this – a one-stop spot for all the brewery details along with brewery tour and tasting room times, we devoted ourselves even more to our hobby.

"We want Brew Trail to be seen as a promotional asset for all craft breweries - to help them level the playing field and gain recognition among the big boys. And we think Brew Trail also has the potential to become an excellent tool for state and local tourism boards as more and more localities launch their own beer trails.”

November 13, 2013 - Sam Adams, Ted's Cigars Will Create Beer-Infused Cigar
FROM FOX.COM
Ever wanted to smoke your beer and drink it too? Sam Adams is partnering with Ted’s Cigars to create a sweet and spicy beer infused cigar.

“Aficionados of both cigars and beer know that subtle flavors and delicate touches can elevate the drinking or smoking experience tenfold,” announced Ted Jackson, president of Ted’s Cigars. “It’s exciting for us to work with such an innovative brewery to create these one-of-a-kind cigars.”

Sam Adams’ limited release Utopia brew, a non-carbonated beverage with vanilla and maple flavors, will lend its signature flavor to the cigar. Only 15,000 bottles of Utopia will be released during the 2013 season. At $199 a bottle, it may be more economical to sample the beverage by smoking it.

Ted’s Cigars, a major wholesale and online distributor of cigars, carries several booze-infused blends on its roster including Maker’s Mark bourbon and Patron Anjeo tequila. The new Sam Adams cigars are hand rolled in the Dominican Republic, then shipped to Ted Cigars’ Louisville headquarters to receive their custom ale infusion.

Some might find this culinary combo unusual but Jackson thinks the new mix will be a delectable fit. “Cigars and craft beer, particularly a complex brew like Utopias, have more in common than most people would imagine and complement each other quite well.”

November 08, 2013 - You Can Win a Trip to Belgium with a Local Brewer
FROM PHILLY BEER WEEK:
PHILADELPHIA, PA – On Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m., Philly Beer Week (PBW) 2014 will host their annual Win a Trip to Belgium Raffle at Field House (1150 Filbert Street, 215-629-1520).

Guests will have an opportunity to mingle and “vote” for their favorite local brewers. One lucky winner will travel to Belgium with his or her favorite to help brew Philly Beer Week’s annual Belgo Collaboration beer, this year with Belgium’s youngest female brewer, Anne Catherine Dilewyns of Brouwerij Dilewyns.

Raffle tickets are $5 each, or 5 for $20. They can be purchased online before the event at PhillyBeerWeek.org (http://phillybeerweek.org/pbw_raffle.cfm). Secondary prizes, including baskets of cheer, gift certificates from local bars and restaurants, and event tickets, will also be awarded.

“Our annual trip to Belgium is one of the high-water marks of the pre-PBW season, and we look forward to another great turn-out for this exciting event,” says PBW Executive Director Don Russell. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, both for the lucky winner and for the brewer chosen to accompany him or her, and every year we look forward to offering them this chance – and to reaping the delicious benefits when we unveil their special beer at Opening Tap.”

The PBW 2014 Collaborative Brew will be created in cooperation with Brouwerij Dilewyns and imported by Vanberg & DeWulf, who will provide the winner’s and brewer’s airline tickets and hotel rooms for the whirlwind expedition, and previously partnered with PBW and Brasserie Dupont in 2012. This year’s participating breweries and representatives are:

Scott Morrison of Barren Hill ·
Jason Kohser of Boxcar ·
Justin Low of Dock Street ·
Tim Hawn of Dogfish Head ·
Mark Braunwarth of Evil Genius ·
Josh Bushey of Fegley’s Brew Works ·
Barry Hosten of Flying Fish ·
Matt “Lothar” Knuttel of Naked ·
Jeremy Myers of Neshaminy Creek ·
Gordon Grubb of Nodding Head ·
Ben Schamberg of Philadelphia Brewing ·
Rob DeMarian of Prism ·
Chris Rakow of River Horse ·
Scott Rudich of Round Guys ·
Tim Patton of Saint Benjamin ·
Matt Lindenmouth of Saucony Creek ·
Chris de Gasperis of Shawnee Craft ·
Brian O’Reilly of Sly Fox ·
Brett Kinzer of Stoudt’s ·
Guy Hagner of Susquehanna ·
Josh Gambrel of Triumph ·
John Trogner of Troegs ·
Jordan Sunseri of Victory ·
Tom Kehoe of Yards

NOTE: Recent winners Iron Hill and Weyerbacher are sitting out of this year’s raffle.

At the raffle event, guests will have the chance to mix and mingle with the participating brewers, and enjoy specialty brews from each. The Field House will serve its popular menu of beer-friendly pub fare, along with 40 local draughts.

Philly Beer Week 2014 will be held from Friday, May 30 until Sunday, June 8. Established in 2008 as a celebration of America’s Best Beer-Drinking City, PBW is the largest beer event of its kind in the United States, featuring hundreds of festivals, dinners, tours, pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights throughout greater Philadelphia. PBW highlights the region’s diverse beer scene – its world-class breweries, neighborhood taverns, trend-setting restaurants and rich beer culture and history.

For more information about Philly Beer Week, including the ever-expanding schedule of events both during PBW and throughout the year, a list of participants and other details, please visit www.phillybeerweek.org, follow us on Twitter (@PhillyBeerWeek) and like us on Facebook.

About Brouwerij Dilewyns: Founded in the 1800s, Brouwerij Dilewyns endured the loss of their copper brewing kettles to ammunition plants during the two World Wars and was reopened by contemporary founder Vincent Dilewyns in 1999. Though he began by brewing beers for his own personal consumption, demand quickly expanded and Brouwerij Dilewyns has grown exponentially since then, from moving to a new brewery in 2011 to Vincent passing along his brewing tradition to his daughters, Anne-Catherine and Claire. They are best known for their Vicar Tripel, an easy-drinking tripel with good balance between hops and malt that pairs beautifully with seafood and shellfish.

About Vanberg & DeWulf: Following a three-year stay in Belgium, founders Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield formed Vanberg & DeWulf more than 30 years ago. Considered pioneers in bringing Belgian beer styles to the American market, Vanberg & DeWulf introduced Americans to Duvel, Rodenbach, Frank Boon’s lambics and many other now-well-known Belgian imports. Today, they work exclusively with independent, family-run and artisanal breweries and are dedicated to educating beer enthusiasts about the rich and varied beer culture of Belgium.

November 01, 2013 - A Taste of History: the Return of Dock Street Amber Ale
FROM A DOCK STREET NEWS RELEASE:
On Tuesday, November 26, Dock Street Brewery is re-releasing the Amber Ale, one of our award-winning classics - and the beer that started it all. One of the first microbreweries in the USA, Dock Street opened in 1985 with one beer that set the bar high for the new wave of American brewing.

Today, our iconic Amber Ale is still brewed with Cascade Hops and Two Row Pale and Caramel malts, and is then dry-hopped lending a bright, crisp hoppiness to a remarkably complex and balanced brew. Dry-hopping this classic top-fermented ale is an homage to the style’s traditional recipe, and adds layers of hop nuances that is a staple of American Craft Brewing.

In the past two decades, we’ve expanded our repertoire with countless new favorites, limited release collaborations with the likes of Four Seasons and Whole Foods, and plenty of groundbreaking experimental styles.

But, since reopening in West Philadelphia in 2007, we have never brewed our original Amber Ale - until now! We’re revisiting an old favorite, and it’s too good not to share.

October 23, 2013 - Learn To Homebrew Day on Tap for Nov. 2
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE:
Boulder, CO • October 16, 2013—On November 2, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) celebrates the 14th annual Learn To Homebrew Day. The annual global event provides the opportunity for people to learn how to brew or teach others how to make beer.

Participating in Learn to Homebrew Day is as simple as finding a local event on the AHA website. There are more than 80 events taking place at homebrew shops, breweries and garages across the nation. Many local homebrew clubs, breweries and shops will have demonstrations and classes for beginners. Individuals can also organize an event, register it online, invite friends and brew at home.

"Learn to Homebrew Day shows people that homebrewing is an easy and fun hobby that anyone can pick up and enjoy," said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. "The homebrewing community has added many new enthusiasts over the past decade-some of whom found their passion for making their own brews at a Learn to Homebrew Day event."

There's more. Read the complete news release.

October 17, 2013 - Duvel Moortgat to Acquire Boulevard Brewing
FROM BREWBOUND:
Duvel Moortgat, the Belgian owners of Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y. will purchase Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Mo. in a deal that will combine one of the country’s largest craft breweries with the domestic and import branches of a high-end international brewing conglomerate in a separate holding company focused on U.S. sales.

The deal, announced Thursday afternoon, is expected to close before the end of the year. While terms were not disclosed, industry sources have estimated its value as at least $100 million.

Michel Moortgat, the chief executive officer of Duvel Moortgat, said the acquisition is initially being financed with bank debt that the company plans on reimbursing with cash flow from the parent company’s international business.

Boulevard, which sold 173,793 barrels of beer in 2012, and Brewery Ommegang, which sold 37,800 hectoliters (approximately 32,200 barrels), will be rolled into a holding company that will also control all of Duvel Moortgat’s import brands in the U.S. In 2012, the company sold a combined 63,200 hectoliters (about 53,800 barrels) in the U.S.

[ ... ]

The deal will comprise the first major craft brewery acquisition since Goose Island was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in March 2011, for $38.8 million.
Read the whoe story.

October 13, 2013 - Neshaminy Creek, Stewart's, Tröegs, Sly Fox & Yards Pace Local GABF Results
Led by Gold Medals for Neshaminy Creek Brewing, Stewart's Brewing and Tröegs Brewing and double wins by Sly Fox Beer, Troegs and Yards Brewing, Philadelphia regional breweries earned 13 medals at yesterday's Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony in Denver. Four medals won by other Pennsylvania breweries brought the tri-state region's total to 17.

Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock took its 4th Gold Medal since 2006 (it also won two Silvers during that stretch) in the Bock category and the brewery also took Bronze for Sunshine Pils in the German-style Pilsener category. Sly Fox Grisette took a Silver (Belgian and French-Style Ale) and Oktoberfest won Bronze (Vienna-Style Lager). Yards Brawler earned Silver in the English-Style Mild grouping and Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce got Bronze in the Indigenous Beer category. Neshaminy Creek's Gold Medal was for Chuchville Lager (Vienna-Style Lager) and Stewart's Gold was for Stumblin' Monk (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Beer).

Silver medals were won by Dogfish Head Midas Touch (Specialty Honey Beer), Flying Fish OktoberFish (American-style Amber Lager), McKenzie Dark and Stormy (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer), Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout) and Rock Bottom KOP The Hammer (Baltic Porter).

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Erie's Lavery Brewing Liopold Ior took Gold (French-and Belgian-Style Saison), Bloomsburg's Marley's Brewery and Grill Pack Dog Peanut Butter Ale earned a Bronze (Specialty Beer), Pittsburgh's Penn Brewing Chocolate Meltdown won Bronze (Chocolate Beer) and Meadville's Voodoo Brewing Big Black Voodoo Daddy won Silver (aged beer).

252 medals were awarded, chosen from 4,809 competition entries from 745 breweries, hailing from 49 states, plus Washington, D.C.

A final note: for the last several years, Pennsylvania has always been the largest medal-winning state in the East, but its total of 14 for 2013 was matched Virginia, due primarily to six wins by the incredible Devil's Backbone Brewing Co. Base Camp and three by Port River Brewing.--JACK CURTIN

*Beer Yard GABF statistics differ from the official ones posted by the Brewers Association every year because we assign wins to the actual location the beers were brewed rather than the corporate headquarter address of multi-location brewers. For more about that and additional GABF commentary, go to Jack Curtin's Liquid Diet Online.

October 13, 2013 - 252 Medals Awarded, 230 First-Time Participants Compete @ GABF 2013
FROM THE OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE
Boulder, CO • October 12, 2013—The 2013 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 252 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States, including GABF Pro-Am medals. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence. In its 27th year, the 2013 competition surpassed all previous participation records, setting the bar high.

To accommodate growth, this year's GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 201 beer experts from 11 countries evaluating 4,809 entries, with assistance from more than 130 competition volunteers.

Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 beer categories covering 138 different beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S. Winners were chosen from 4,809 competition entries from 745 breweries, hailing from 49 states, plus Washington, D.C.

2013 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Baker City Brewing Company, Marks Lanham and Eli Dickison

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Devils Backbone Brewing Company - Basecamp, Jason Oliver

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Matt Brynildson

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Sandlot; John, Tom, Bill & Addison

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Gella’s Diner & Lb Brewing Company, Gerald Wyman

Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year: Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Julian Shrago and Ian McCall

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Pelican Brewing Company, Darron Welch and Steve Panos

Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year: Rock Bottom Brewery, Team Rock Bottom

Overall Competition Highlights:
Reflecting craft brewing's increasing popularity nationwide, across state and regional borders, overall competition highlights include:

Twenty-four first-time entering breweries won awards. During the registration process, 230 breweries self-identified as first-time entrants.

There was a tie for most gold medals won, three each for Left Hand Brewing Co. (Longmont, Colo.) and for Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, Calif.).

New Jersey topped the list of ratio of medals to entries by state, with one medal won among seven entries, a 14.3% ratio. Delaware had a 13% winning ratio, with three medals won among 23 entries. California, the state with the highest number of beer entries—at 885—won 52 medals for a 5.9% ratio of medals to entries.

Style Categories
Since 2001, the most-entered category has been American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 252 entries in 2013. The top five entered categories were:
American-Style India Pale Ale (252 entries)
Imperial India Pale Ale (149 entries)
Herb and Spice Beer (134 entries)
American-Style Pale Ale (124 entries)
American-Style Strong Pale Ale (120 entries)

2013 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition:
Gold, silver and bronze medals were also awarded in the GABF Pro-Am competition, which pairs amateur brewers with professional brewers, who scale up the award-winning homebrew recipes. The medal winners, including the winning professional brewers and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) member homebrewers were:

Gold: Poblano, Cigar City Brewing Brewmaster: Wayne Wambles, Cigar City, and AHA member Jeff Gladish

Silver: Charlie’s Brown, New Belgium Brewing Co. Brewmaster: Peter Bouckaert/Grady Hull, New Belgium Brewing Co., and AHA member Mike Formisan

Bronze: Oatmeal Stout, Upslope Brewing Co. Brewmaster: Alex Violette, Upslope Brewing Co., and AHA member Derek Ordway

2013 Great American Beer Festival Statistics: 624 breweries in the festival hall, More than 3,100 beers served at the festival, 49,000 attendees, More than 2,800 volunteers,
745 breweries in the competition from 49 states, plus Washington, D.C; 4,809 beers judged (includes 100 Pro-Am competition entries), a 12 percent increase over 2012; 84 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition; 201 judges from 11 countries
Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 51; Category with highest number of entries: American-Style India Pale Ale: 252.

October 10, 2013 - Government Shutdown Slows the Pace of Craft Growth
FROM BREWBOUND:
As pundits on the Potomac continue to bemoan the government shutdown and tourists squint at national monuments and parks from a distance, craft brewers are also being affected by the ongoing furloughing of federal employees.

Like the rest of the nation’s federal workers, operations at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), have stalled. This means that no new breweries, products or labels can be approved by the TTB, preventing them from legally entering the marketplace....

Aside from mandating rules and regulations for the beer industry, the TTB also conducts daily reviews of permits for new business proposals and new products, including package labeling. Until the government returns to standard operations, the TTB won’t respond to any kinds of inquiries, according to a notice on its website.

The entire article is here. And here's another take.

October 04, 2013 - Beer Executives Meet in Las Vegas
FROM BREWBOUND:
Five of the beer industry’s top executives, all staunch competitors, agreed on one thing at the 76th annual National Beer Wholesaler’s Convention: continued, overall volume declines of the category are cause for serious concern.

So on Tuesday, when a panel featuring Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione, Anheuser-Busch president Luiz Edmond, Crown Imports president Bill Hackett, MillerCoors CEO Tom Long and Heineken USA CEO Dolf van den Brink took the stage to address thousands of U.S. beer distributors, it was with an eye toward ways to lessen the bleeding.

“Volume concerns are a real issue,” said Long. “Our aim in putting together MillerCoors was to grow the size and value of the entire beer category. We are doing a good job of driving the value of the business but the volume has been down.” <

Overall beer volumes have been in decline throughout the year. Industry-wide sales are down 2.1 percent and domestic brewery depletions are down 3.3 percent through August, according to trade publication Beer Marketer’s Insights.

Although total beer volumes increased from 205 million barrels to 207 million barrels in 2012, most industry professionals will claim that it was an anomaly and note the three previous years of declines. If this year’s trends continue, the industry will lose about 10 million barrels alone in 2013.

So what’s to blame? Large domestic brewers have pointed out poor weather, the loss of drinking occasions to wine and spirits and the growing consumer shift towards higher alcohol craft beers.

While that shift has helped Calagione, he said that he’d still like to see overall beer consumption improve. >p>“The craft beer community recognizes that we do need to see overall beer trends return to the positive,” he said. “We are hopeful that we can start getting some of that share back from liquor and wine.”

Read it all, including Sam's surprising argument, here.

October 01, 2013 - Jurado Will Join Abita
Jaime Jurado will become Director of Brewing Operations for the Abita Brewing Co. in New Orleans in November.

Jurado sent 15 years with The Gambrinus Company breweries and held that same title when he left to help build and launch the Susquehanna Brewing Co. in January 2012. He announced he was leaving that company this past August.

September 27, 2013 - BA Economist Says No Reason to Fear Craft Beer "Bubble"
FROM A BLOG POST BY BART WATSON ON THE BA WEBSITE:
One of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the craft brewing industry these days is: “are we in a bubble, and if so, when will it pop?” I’ll cut straight to the chase and give the short answer: I see little to no evidence that craft is in a bubble. Now for the longer answer…

First, let’s define a bubble. A bubble is a period of overinvestment where asset prices aren’t aligned with reality. In other words, people are betting on a future that won’t exist. Sadly, too many Americans now understand this all too clearly, having invested in a housing market that they assumed could only go up. What evidence is there that craft is in a similar situation; that brewers and investors are betting more than they should on a future that won’t exist?

[ ... ]

How long can craft keep gobbling up share points at the rate of 1 or 2 points a year? The answer: as long as the consumer demand for full-flavored beer continues, and it shows no signs of slowing. The craft revolution isn’t just built on innovative businesses, it stems primarily from a changing set of consumer preferences away from light adjunct lagers and toward full-flavored beers for more occasions. Some of this demand is being met by new brands from large brewers, but market statistics continue to show that the vast majority is being met by local craft brewers.

Read the entire blog post.

September 20, 2013 - Dogfish Head Is Opening a Hotel
FROM THE DFH WEBSITE:
Here at Dogfish Head, we have places to eat, places to drink and places to play. The missing link? A place to stay.

We're fixin' to change that. In late spring of 2014, the 16-room Dogfish Inn will open in downtown Lewes, Del., at what is now the Vesuvio Motel.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of craft beer fans from around the world make a pilgrimage to Dogfish Head’s coastal Delaware brewpub and brewery. For nearly a decade, we've helped host some of these folks at the Dogfish Head Brewmaster's Suite at the lovely Inn at Canal Square. Our migration a few boat-lengths down the canal will give us a bigger home base dedicated to exploring all of the off-centered opportunities in this beautiful part of the state....

Read the full story.

September 19, 2013 - Saison de Rose Debuts for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
NEWS RELEASE
Philadelphia, PA—To help raise funds and awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the brewers at Free Will Brewing Co. partnered with some of Philly’s top female beer personalities for an inspiring pink beer collaboration in support of Penn Medicine’s Rena Rowan Breast Center. The charitable brew, Saison de Rose, will hit the Philadelphia craft beer market late September 2013 with an official Saison de Rose Release Party & Free Will Weekend at Devil’s Den the weekend of Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6.

When Free Will Assistant Brewer David Wood and Philadelphia craft beer bar owner Erin Wallace [Devil’s Den, Barren Hill Tavern, Old Eagle Tavern] worked together during a Philly Beer Week event, little did they know that it would be the precursor to a charitable collaboration between Free Will and four of the best female beer personalities in Philadelphia. Wood brought the idea of brewing a special charitable pink beer for breast cancer awareness month to the rest of the brewers at Free Will, while Wallace gathered a group of female beer experts like herself.

That group includes Wallace; Marnie Old, sommelier, author, and Cheap Buzz columnist in Philadelphia’s Daily News; Tara Nurin, Ale Street News columnist, Pink Boots Society historian, and Cicerone Certified Beer Server, and Carolyn Smagalski, an international freelance beer journalist, Certified International Beer Judge and Cicerone Certified Beer Server.

Their goal was to brew a beer for October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and they came up with Saison de Rose (season of pink), a true collaboration developed after many batches and flavor adjustments from the women’s expert palates.

Saison de Rose will be available at Devil’s Den in South Philly, Old Eagle Tavern in Manayunk, and Barren Hill Tavern in Lafayette Hill, as well as numerous other craft beer destinations throughout the city. Saison de Rose will also be featured at the Midtown Fall Festival, Sunday, October 6. Every keg and every bottle bought by bottle shops and bars will benefit Rena Rowan Breast Center. $1 from every pint sold will benefit the charity with an estimated donation of $10,000 from the entire Saison de Rose project, plus additional donations from participating bars.

September 18, 2013 - Barren Hill Tavern Head Brewer Scott Morrison Announces His Beers
PRESS RELEASE:
Lafayette Hill, PA—While owner Erin Wallace is transforming the old General Lafayette Inn into Barren Hill Tavern & Brewery, Head Brewer Scott Morrison has started the brewing process.

Head Brewer Scott Morrison has announced a list of the first beers coming from Barren Hill Tavern— beers that steer away from the conventional or expected. The beers are a sampling of global styles, experimenting with water variations, doubles, triples, different barleys and hops, and original hybrid creations.

Currently in the tanks and the first anticipated taps will be Double Berliner Weisse—a 6% ABV wheat beer; and Burton IPA—an English style IPA, dry hopped with English East Kent Golding and brewed with water that Morrison manipulated to recreate this famous water in Burton Upon Trent, a town in England straddling the River Trent, known for breweries.

The next brews to debut will be German Imperial Pilsner—stronger than an ordinary pilsner, dry hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker hops; and Triple—Belgian/Down Under, using Belgian Malts and Belgian yeast, but added Pacific Rim hops, Pacific Jade and Pacific Gem.

Having just returned from a trip to France, Morrison is planning the French version of Oktoberfest, Biére de Octobre—a French style bière de garde, made using lager yeast; and Baltic Porter—a smooth lagered porter that’s typically made in Finland. This porter is quite different and stronger than an English-style Porter at 7% ABV because it is lagered for six weeks.

Additionally, as Barren Hill Tavern opens, Morrison’s list of beers to expect include:

Single Hop-Amarillo Pale Ale – single hopped ale brewed using exclusively Amarillo hops, which are flavorful and yield a flowery, spicy and citrus-like aroma.
Pilsner IPA – a hybrid between a German Pilsner and American IPA with additional German Hops.
Edelhelles – a helles (light) brewed with exclusively German Noble Hops.
White IPA - a hybrid style American IPA with wheat and unmalted wheat to give the beer a “white” beer character.
Amer-Belgo Black IPA – a dark version of American IPA; Belgian yeast gives this beer “Belgo” character.
American Triple – A Belgian style triple with all American hops.
Vanilla Baltic Porter – a traditional Finnish Baltic Porter aged on Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla beans.
Prohibition Pale Ale - pale ale brewed with cherry and oak chips.
Scotch Wallace Ale – Traditional Scotch Ale brewed with “optic” barley, a common ingredient in Scottish Peated Whiskey.
German Hefe-Weiss – a German Wheat Beer.
Imperial Milk Stout – English Stout that uses lactose, 9%ABV.
Oatmeal Extra Stout – English Style Stout with oats.
Head Brewer Scott Morrison and Owner Erin Wallace have big plans for the Lafayette Hill brewpub and this first round of brews indicates a style that promises to be experimental, refined, and surprising. More details about Barren Hill Tavern’s opening will be coming soon.
September 18, 2013 - New York Marketers Hope to Turn Old Neuweiler Brewery in Allentown into Contract Brewing Plant
FROM BREWBOUND
Aiming to capitalize on the growing demand for craft beer and an increasing need for commercial brewing space, two New York City-based entrepreneurs are planning to redevelop the defunct Neuweiler Brewery in Allentown, Penn. and turn it into a new contract brewing facility.

Josh Wood and Alex Friedman, co-founders of technology and marketing firm Ruckus Marketing, have established what they’re calling “a new way to contract brew.” The Brewers Consortium, as the pair has named it, will inhabit and revitalize the historic brewery space with the goal of producing 100,000 barrels of contracted craft beer, energy drinks and soda.

The plan, for now, is to give small craft breweries and non-alcoholic beverage startups the ability to produce their products, under contract, at the facility. The group also hopes to provide contracting beverage companies access to cheaper ingredients and packaging supplies, said Justin Tripodi, the vice president of strategy and development for both Ruckus Marketing and The Brewers Consortium.

“We are still ironing out all of the details, but our goal is to provide a consistent, reliable and quality experience for our brewing partners,” he said. “We would like to be able to secure economies of scale for ourselves and our tenants and nothing is off the table.”

Dubbed the “Brewers Hill” development project, the $30 million, 200,000 sq. ft. space could also include a restaurant, event center, commercial office space as well an incubator area for enterprising entrepreneurs.

Initial brewing capacity will be about 50,000 barrels and is contingent on how many contract agreements the company is able to secure prior to a projected opening date of September 2014.

“Should the demand for space necessitate quicker growth, we will reevaluate our plan,” said Tripodi. “We recognize that the craft brewing industry is burgeoning and we want to meet that demand with quality supply.”

In addition to established East Coast contract brewers like F.X. Matt and the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company, The Brewers Consortium will have to compete with a number of large-scale East Coast contract facilities like Two Roads Brewing, Brew Hub and Paragraph 11, all of which have either opened or are planning to launch by 2015. But Tripodi said he’s confident that enough demand for contract brewing space still exists.

“We have secured adequate initial interest in tank space,” said Tripodi.

The Consortium project will also allow Ruckus to increase the production of its own beer brand by the same name (Ruckus Brewing), which last year totaled approximately 1,000 barrels.

“We have an opportunity now to create more styles and offer our wholesaler more ammunition for growing the brand,” said Bradley Mines, the vice president of operations for Ruckus Brewing. “My focus going forward will be on growing our existing markets and catching up with the industry by adding seasonals and potentially even some barrel-aged offerings.”

Mines said he hopes to grow the Ruckus brand to 5,000 barrels in the next two years.

Tripodi could not disclose specific investment details on the redevelopment of the Neuweiler Brewery space but noted that a portion of the financing will come from state and local tax credits.

“There is about $1 billion of investment happening in Allentown over the next 24-36 months,” said Tripodi. “A $275 million waterfront project that includes apartments, offices and retail space is also being built. Part of the plan calls includes a pedestrian walkway along the waterfront that would lead to our facility.”

Tripodi said he expects to hire upwards of 50 new employees to run day-to-day operations at the brewery.

September 12, 2013 - Tröegs Will Introduce Canned Beers in October
Troegs Brewing Co. is added a canning line to its packaging system. The manufacturer of the new equipment, which is expected to fill 177 cans per minute, is CFT Packaging, the Italian company which also manufactured the brewery's recently installed new 12/22oz and 375/750ml cork & cage bottling lines.

the first releases are expected to hit the market by mid-October, beginning with 4-packs of 16oz Tröegenator Doppelbock cans and 12-packs of 12oz Perpetual IPA cans.

Co-founder and head brewer John Trogner noted that "Perpetual IPA is our #1 brand at the moment so 12-ounce seemed the perfect size for that, and whenever I drink a bottle of Tröegenator, I always want a little bit more, so this is a package with a little bit more.

What beers might next show up in cans? "We'll be taking it slow to start," Trogner said. "We'll do more as feel the market and see where we want to be. I used to joke that cans were for soup, but with all the new technology out there, cans are definitely for beer as well."

September 11, 2013 - If It Wasn't Called IPA, Would Anyone Buy It?
FROM BREWBOUND:
Would an IPA by any other name still taste as hoppy? And more, if it weren’t labeled as an IPA, would anyone buy it?

It’s a question many craft breweries are exploring and some, it seems, are banking on the continued growth of the style and the name, which is a shorter version of India Pale Ale. The country’s leading craft beer style, IPA dollar sales of $128,005,155 are up 35.7 percent in U.S. supermarkets through July 14, according to data from IRI, a Chicago-based research firm.

The growth of the IPA, with its distinct, hoppy flavor, has coincided with the growth of influential California breweries like Stone, Lagunitas, and many others, and it the popularity of the style seems to have pushed craft’s largest players, like Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are answering the call by brewing up even more hop-forward variations.

Read the entire article.

September 10, 2013 - American Beer Revolution Will Be Showcased at Great American Beer Festival
NEWS RELEASE:
Boulder, CO • September 10, 2013—As the nation’s brewers continue to revolutionize the American beer scene, beer lovers from around the world will descend upon Denver for the 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Presented by the Brewers Association from October 10-12, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served in a public tasting event, alongside one of the most prestigious beer competitions and judging panels in the world.

Since the first GABF in 1982, the event has synchronously evolved with the American brewing community. In 1982, the GABF played host to 800 attendees, sampling 40 beers from 22 breweries. Comparatively, in 2013, 49,000 attendees will be offered over 3,100 beers from 624 breweries in the festival hall. Additionally, 210 judges will assess 4,875 beers in the GABF competition, which represents a 12 percent increase in entries from last year.

“Bringing together brewers and beer lovers of all shapes and sizes, the Great American Beer Festival is a wonderful representation of just how far the U.S. brewing community has come,” said Nancy Johnson, event director, Brewers Association. “As the demand for festival tickets has grown, the number of breweries interested in participating has likewise skyrocketed. We worked diligently to ensure that breweries who wanted to participate could do so in some capacity. America’s brewing landscape will truly be displayed in the festival hall.”

Inside the tasting hall, this year’s GABF also pays homage to the growing trend of brewpubs and craft beer and food pairings with the expanded Brewpub and Farm to Table Pavilions. Of today's roughly 2,500 breweries, 1,100 are brewpubs. This year’s Brewpub Pavilion features 36 breweries, chosen by lottery, representing all regions of the country—a 50 percent increase from the 24 breweries showcased in 2012. The Thursday and Friday night Farm to Table Pavilion reprises its place at GABF, offering attendees an opportunity to experience top-notch craft beer and food pairings designed and prepared by chefs from around the country.

Tickets for the GABF sold out in a record 20 minutes during the public ticket sale.

September 03, 2013 - Victory Brewing Co. Invited To Join Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. For 2014 Nationwide Collaboration, Release Tour
VICTORY NEWS RELEASE:
Victory Brewing Company has been invited by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to join 11 other craft breweries in a celebration of craft beer called Beer Camp Across America. Inspired by Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp® program—multi-day beer-making workshops—Beer Camp Across America comprises the creation of a variety 12-pack—one beer per brewery partner—to be released in summer 2014 preceded by a multi-weekend, west-to-east tour of regional festivals that highlight each locale’s craft beer community. The journey will culminate in Mills River, North Carolina, where Sierra Nevada will open the doors of its new East Coast brewery.

Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman and his son, Brian, co-leader of Sierra Nevada’s North Carolina brewery, personally reached out to founders Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet to invite them to join the lineup.

“Ken, Brian and the entire Sierra Nevada team are once again demonstrating what leadership means in this craft beer world by inviting brewers and consumers to actively participate in their new brewery opening,” said Bill Covaleski. “It’s an honor to be a part of this project.”

“We have two huge advocates of whole-cone hops coming together here,” said Ken Grossman. “Victory knows how to highlight distinct hop flavors and aromas. We strive for the same at Sierra Nevada, so this tag team has lots of promise.”

Opening a second brewery is no small feat for Sierra Nevada, but the Grossmans are adamant about highlighting the greater momentum of craft beer, not just their own next step.

“We’ve been in the game for a while, but we don’t reach a milestone like this without our peers,” said Ken Grossman. “We support each other and we challenge each other. Why not celebrate that spirit and what it’s done for craft beer across the country?”

The specific travel path for festivals is a work in progress, but in early 2014, Covaleski and Barchet will visit Chico, Calif., to brew alongside:
• Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
• Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
• Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI
• Cigar City Brewing, LLC, Tampa, FL
• Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
• New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI
• Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, OR
• Oskar Blues Brewing Company, Longmont, CO
• Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA
• Three Floyds Brewing, LLC, Munster, IN
• Local brewing community in Asheville, NC

Beer Camp Across America will also support hops and malt research as well as champion the PA craft beer community through the Brewers of Pennsylvania.

Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp program started in 2008 when a group of distributors wanted to visit Chico and learn how to brew beer. It evolved into a national contest where winners from all over the country head to Chico for a two-day, hands-on brewing session. Sierra Nevada recently reached Beer Camp number 100.

“There are no reins in Beer Camp,” said Ken Grossman. “We typically bring a dozen folks in who don’t know a ton about beer and let them have at it. This time we‘ll be brewing 12 beers with as many pros. It has potential to be epic.”

“This is a great moment for American craft beer,” said Bill Covaleski. “And Ron and I are psyched to brew a great American craft beer with our friends at Sierra Nevada.”

September 03, 2013 - A Farewell to Tired Hands Farmhands Saison
FROM THE TIRED HANDS WEBSITE:
A few months ago, we received a Cease & Desist notice from lawyers representing Brewery Vivant from Grand Rapids, Michigan over our use of the name FarmHands (one word, plural), because they brew a beer called Farm Hand (two words, non-pluralized). The C&D stipulated that we were to no longer use the name FarmHands, or we would be sued for millions of dollars.

Generally speaking, Saison is a style of beer with roots firmly planted in the fields of Northern France and Belgium, a beer which was primarily brewed and consumed by… you guessed it, Farmhands. That’s why the name is so intuitive (not to mention beautifully in line with our identity as a small business: Tired Hands, HopHands, FarmHands… you get the picture). Go ahead, search for “farm hand” on Ratebeer.com. No less than three other breweries are currently using some combination of those two words to identify one of their beers… Some even distribute in America. As educated beer consumers, you would not have any trouble distinguishing one beer from another (not to mention the fact that none of these beers are available in the same geographic location). Marketplace confusion sucks, but we have never had that problem in our industry, because what we sell is necessarily unique to the producer. We’re not making widgets here, we are crafting an organic product that has inherent value beyond “branding.”

As an industry, we are heading down a gnarled and paranoiac path that will only serve to isolate our customers by truncating the creativity of fellow beer producers; effectively losing sight of what made this industry so great when I entered into it nearly a decade ago… Collaboration, camaraderie, and a sense of infinite exploration.

We have had an absolutely killer first year of business, and are deeply thankful to all of you who have helped make Tired Hands what it is today. That being said, our money is better spent paying our employees (20 and counting!) and brewing killer beer. That’s not to say that we didn’t spend any cash on this engagement; we spent almost $5,000 on defending our FarmHands.?? We exist for one very simple reason; to produce the best beer in the area. Localization still guides all that we do, which is why we are continuing to invest in our community via the construction of a new production brewery that will (hopefully) meet the local demand for our strange and beautiful beers of distinction and valor.

In the end, we will be retiring FarmHands on September 26th, 2013 to avoid a lawsuit from Vivant. Not the recipe, nor the fact that it is one of our most beloved house beers, just simply the name: FarmHands. We will be renaming it something… Not sure what yet, but it will be good and jive well with our identity.

Please join us on Thursday September 26th to celebrate the life of FarmHands and see it through to it’s next stage of existence. We’ll be selling pints of (the newly renamed) FarmHands for $3.33 (half the price of the Beast) from 4-8pm. Get out here and drink one of the most accurate representations of Saison in the area and mourn/celebrate with us. Thank you all for your continued support.

August 22, 2013 - Russian River Brewing Maxes Out But Has No Intention of Expanding Capacity
The beer is only available in three states — California, Colorado, and Oregon — along with a few bars in the beer-mad city of Philadelphia. There is a years-long waiting list for restaurants and beer stores to get their hands on anything from Russian River.

[ ... ]

[Owners Natalie Cilurzo] and brewer husband Vinnie have no plans to expand the brewery. They have nearly paid off their initial investment, she said, and they have been gradually buying out the original investors to consolidate the privately-held company in their own hands.

“People can't understand why we don't want to grow our brewery,” she said, “That's the American way.”

Lots more here.

August 14, 2013 - Weyerbacher Brewing Creates Special Beer to Ease Financial Burden for Breast Cancer Victims
The team at Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton is showing its support for area breast cancer patients by brewing a special beer in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

“We want to give back to the community,” says Dan Weirback, president of Weyerbacher Brewery. “Since beer-making is our business, we have started brewing a new Belgian-style dubbel with plums and will direct donations from its sale to the Pink Ribbon Patient Assistance Fund.”

[ ... ]

It was the patients and their needs that inspired Natalie DeChico, regional sales manager for Weyerbacher, and her colleagues to name the microbrew Althea. “It means healing in Greek,” DeChico says. “For every bottle of Althea that’s sold, we will donate $1 to the Pink Ribbon Patient Assistance Fund.”
The complete Lehigh Valley Health News story is here.
Weyerbacher website story (with photos) is here.

August 12, 2013 - Victory Brewing Announces Two New Beers
VICTORY NEWS RELEASE:
DOWNINGTOWN, PA – Victory Brewing Company is pleased to announce several additions to its lineup of packaged beers hitting the market this fall, including a new year-round offering, DirtWolf Double IPA, and holiday seasonal ale, Winter Cheers. The brewery also will return an old fan favorite to the market, Old Horizontal, after a hiatus in 2012 and 2011.

[ ... ]

Wildly assertive, intentionally untamed and dangerously satisfying, DirtWolf Double IPA is the culmination of Victory’s double IPA series experiment with whole flower American-grown hops. With two-row German malts and a well-balanced combination of whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops, this 8.7% ABV brew blends the powerful citrus aroma and fruity flavors, with the piney, earthy and mildly floral characteristics found in these intriguing hop varieties. Replacing Victory’s Hop Wallop Ale, which will take a hiatus from the market for the time being, DirtWolf Double IPA will launch the brewery’s entry into four-packs when it begins to hit markets in October.

“So a wolf and a prospector walked into a bar...,” joked President and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski. “No, in all seriousness, Hop Wallop will be missed, but isn’t necessarily gone forever. We developed that brand 10 years ago as our flavorful response to the hop-bomb vogue of the time. But as brewers who enjoy experimenting with beer styles and ingredient varieties, we looked for the opportunity to do other interesting recipes as time passed. Making the decision to put Hop Wallop aside for a few years allows us to bring this delicious new double IPA, DirtWolf, to the market in bottles.”

Light in body with a soothing texture, Winter Cheers is a stark contrast from the pungent punch of DirtWolf. A wheat ale, combining German wheat and barley malts, oats, torrified wheat and whole flower Tettnang and Citra hops, this fruity and warming holiday brew delivers a refreshing finish, with spicy hints of banana, clove and citrus. At 6.7% ABV, this beer will fuel “festive times and chase winter’s chill,” and will be available in 12 oz. bottles (six-packs) and on draft, beginning distribution in October as well.

Barleywine fans also will enjoy the return of Victory’s Old Horizontal, hitting shelves again in November of this year, this time in 22 oz. bottles. With floral, fruity aromas and lingering sensations of candied and citrus fruit, the late warming effect of this 11% ABV brew delivers a harmonious finish.

“Our fans have spoken, and we were listening,” Covaleski continued, addressing demand for the return of Old Horizontal by many Victory-faithful. “As we look toward the completion of our second brewery in Parkesburg, fans can expect several of our vacationing brands to make a return, along with many new and exciting recipes and styles.”

Other notable fall releases from Victory include:

Victory Festbier, the award-winning malty Märzen style fall seasonal, making its way into markets now, in 12 oz. bottles and on draft.

Red Thunder, the returning wine barrel-aged Baltic Thunder hitting the market in mid-August. Available in 750 ml bottles and on draft.

Storm King Stout, repackaged and available in four-packs and on draft in October.

August 12, 2013 - Despite What Gallup Says, Beer Remains Our Favorite Beverage
FROM HUFFPOST TASTE:
Sensationalized [Gallup Poll-inspired] headlines could have easily (and truthfully) been replaced by the following: "Beer Remains America's Preferred Alcoholic Beverage" and "Young drinkers still prefer beer over wine and spirits." Summarizing the 2013 data, Gallup even states: "Despite these changes, beer remains the preferred beverage of 18- to 29- and 30- to 49-year-olds. Wine continues to rank as the top choice of those 50 and older." The survey found that 41 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds prefer beer, versus 24 percent for wine and 28 percent for spirits.

This type of survey data released by Gallup provides little evidence of what is really going on with consumers in the beer category. The truth is that the end is not even close for beer. If anything, we're in the throes of the greatest beer renaissance since before Prohibition. There are now more breweries in the U.S. (2,538 as of June 2013) than at any point since the 1870s.
The whole analysis is here.

August 11, 2013 - Guy Hagner Takes Brewmaster Post at Susquehanna Brewing as Jaime Jurado Moves On
Guy Hagner, 52, of Fairview Township, has spent the past year and a half as the company’s assistant brewer and head of packaging and quality assurance. He replaces Jaime Jurado, a 1990 Wilkes University graduate and Forty Fort resident, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities.

Jurado was hired in 2011 when the company was still months away from assembling its brewing equipment in its sprawling facility off of South Main Street in Jenkins Township. He came to the company from The Gambrinus Brewing Co. in San Antonio, Texas, the nation’s sixth-largest brewer, with the goal of helping to get Susquehanna Brewing running and on the right path to success.

More than a year after brewing began, company owners, Ed and Fred Maier and Mark Nobile, said Jurado has done what he was asked and has left on good terms.
Here's the Times Leader story.

August 08, 2013 - A Dogfish Head Sitcom Is In the Works
BY BLOGGER WILLIAM MILLER:
While taking a quick read of Twitter earlier today, I saw a Tweet that mentioned that Fox was looking to develop a show based on the life of Sam and Mariah Calagione, the founders of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales.

Intrigued, I wanted to find out if this is true, so I shot an email out to Sam Calagione. He said the planning is in the early stages, but did share a note he sent to the brewery staff about the show. sam-brew-masters-280x192

The show will use Calagione’s book, “Brewing Up a Business” and the story of Dogfish Head’s early days as the back-story for a Fox Network sitcom.
Read the whole story.

August 07, 2013 - Duvel Moortgat Plans To Buy U.S. Craft Breweries
Over the years, Duvel Moortgat has grown through international acquisition.

[ ... ]

Now, however, the Belgium-based brewing company is looking to strengthen its position in the U.S. craft beer market by purchasing other American breweries.

“We would like to acquire two or three U.S. craft breweries over the next five years,” Simon Thorpe, the president and CEO of Duvel USA and Brewery Ommegang told Brewbound.com. “We’re looking to the U.S. to be the engine of our group growth over the next 10 to 20 years. Part of that will be achieved by growing the Ommegang and Duvel brands but part of it will also come by finding other breweries that fit our portfolio.”
Read the whole story.

August 03, 2013 - Houston Beer Can Home Is a Local Landmark
A child of the Great Depression, John Milkovisch didn't throw anything away — not even the empty cans of beer he enjoyed each afternoon with his wife.

So, in the early 1970s when aluminum siding on houses was all the rage, he lugged down the cans he had stored in his attic for years, painstakingly cut open and flattened each one and began to wallpaper his home.

[ ... ]

Determined to preserve this accidental piece of folk art, local nonprofit Orange Show Center for Visionary Art bought the property about 10 years ago, began a careful restoration of the house and opened it to the public.

See the whole story with photo here.

July 30, 2013 - Victory Brewing Announces New Brewpub in Kennett Square
VICTORY NEWS RELEASE:
DOWNINGTOWN, PA – Victory® Brewing Company (Victory) is pleased to announce that it will extend its craft beer experience in Chester County, signing a lease with Kennett Square Realty and committing to develop an upscale brewpub, with on-premise brewing and a takeout beer component, in Kennett Square, Pa.

“The announcement is a culmination of nearly a year’s worth of planning and effort, and we couldn’t be more excited than we are today to finally confirm for our excited fans, who have been asking, that yes we are in fact headed to Kennett!” said Matthew Krueger, Vice President of Retail Operations.

The nation’s 26th largest craft brewery, Victory’s second brewpub location will occupy all 8,234 square feet of the bottom floor of a four-story, luxury apartment building in Kennett Realty Group’s latest upscale townhome, apartment and retail community, Magnolia Place. Kennett Realty is owned and operated by the Pia Group, who also own Kaolin Mushroom Farms Inc. and South Mill Mushroom Sales.

“We could not have found a better partner than the Pia family, a group that shared—and are now helping us realize—our vision to bring Victory to Kennett,” Krueger continued, a sentiment echoed by Mike Pia, Jr., developer with the Kennett Realty Group. z

“Victory’s mission to provide high quality food, a family-friendly environment, and of course, delicious craft beer, all with a focus on community, ethics and environmental stewardship, made them an ideal partner for this project,” said Pia. “We’re looking forward to the exceptional experience they’ll bring to the community of Magnolia Place and the greater Kennett Square area.”

Called Victory at Magnolia, the location will accommodate a 250-seat restaurant with space for outdoor dining, and boast a chef inspired menu, featuring some of the company’s signature dishes, including their Hand Tossed Pretzel and Wings of Victory. The space also will be equipped with a five-barrel brew house to keep new, site-specific brews—along with Victory’s existing lineup of world-class ales and lagers—flowing.

Victory at Magnolia is targeted to open in the second quarter, 2014. The brewery also is finishing construction on its second production brewery in Parkesburg, Pa., expected to be operational this fall.

July 29, 2013 - Brewers Association Reports Continued Growth for U.S. Craft Brewers
BA PRESS RELEASE
Boulder, CO • July 29, 2013—The steady and sustained growth of American craft brewing continued during the first half of 2013, according to mid-year data released by the Brewers Association (BA). The not-for-profit trade association, which represents the majority of U.S. breweries, announced that during the first six months of 2013, American craft beer dollar sales and volume were up 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Over the same period last year, dollar sales jumped 14 percent and volume increased 12 percent.

During the first half of 2013, approximately 7.3 million barrels of beer were sold by small and independent1 craft brewers, up from 6.4 million barrels over the first half of 2012. American craft beer continues to grow despite decreased overall beer sales, which were down two percent through the first six months of the year.

“Demand for beer produced by small and independent brewers has never been higher, as evidenced by increased production and the hundreds of new breweries joining the playing field each year,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “Beer drinkers nationwide are responding positively to high-quality, full-flavored, diverse offerings from American craft brewing companies that continue to innovate and push the envelope.”

There are 2,538 breweries operating in the U.S. as of June 30, 2013, an increase of 446 breweries since June 2012. The BA also lists an additional 1,605 breweries in planning at the year’s midpoint, compared to 1,252 a year ago. As of June 30, 2013, the count of craft breweries was at 2,483, showing that 98 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers. Craft brewers currently employ an estimated 108,440 full-time and part-time workers, many of which are manufacturing jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.

“More breweries are currently operating in the U.S. than at any time since the 1870s.” Gatza added. “With each new brewery opening, American craft brewers are reinforcing the U.S.’s position as the world’s most diverse brewing nation. It’s a very good time to be an American beer lover.”

See the news release with graphs included here.

July 27, 2013 - Philadelphia Magazine Names Bill Covalelski to "20 Best Philadelphians" List
From Jack Curtin's Liquid Diet blog:
In its annual Best of Philly issue which hits the stands next week, Philadelphia Magazine names Victory Brewing’s Bill Covaleski one of the 20 Best Philadelphians, a group defined as “innovative, impactful and generally interesting people who are changing our lives–and our city–for the better, right now.”

Now that is impressive....
Read about other beer-centric honorees for 2013 here.

July 26, 2013 - Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Taking Over Original Flying Fish Brewery
From Beer-Stained Newsletter:
A year after Flying Fish Brewing left its founding Cherry Hill location, another brewery tenant has signed up for the place.

Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing finalized its lease in early July for the 13,500-square-foot business park unit on Olney Avenue in Cherry Hill. The company will take over the premises on Sept. 1.

Founder Jamie Queli says Forgotten Boardwalk will produce about five ales for distribution, brewing on a 30-barrel Criveller system. The company plans to use a 1- to 2-barrel pilot system to produce another 50 to 60 beers – think experimental brews – for cycling through the taps of a planned 2,500-square-foot tasting room to be tricked out in a turn-of-the-20th-century-boardwalk theme. The beers themselves (for instance, their names) will share in the throwback boardwalk theme.

Read the whole story.

July 23, 2013 - Largest Craft Brewers Embrace Broader Distribution
BREWBOUND NEWS:
With capacity constraints now in the rearview mirrors at many top-50 craft breweries, there’s a bit of land grab occurring amongst the country’s largest producers.

In the last month, breweries like Dogfish Head, New Belgium and Victory Brewing have announced plans to expand their distribution footprints. All three breweries also recently added new capacity, enabling them start venturing into new markets.

This week, another crop of established craft breweries said they are looking to grow. San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing announced its intent to become a national brand by 2014.

“For the most part it looks like we will be national before the end of the year,” said Jim Kenny, Green Flash’s vice president of sales.

The brewery will look to enter all 50 states with the exception of Hawaii — and Kenny said the company is even evaluating ways to ship a consistent supply of fresh, refrigerated beer to the islands.

“With the addition of new fermentation space, we can now produce at a 100,000-barrel rate and that allows us to enter these states and start seeding our brand,” he said.

Kenny said a second production facility located in Virginia Beach is scheduled to open in January, 2015 and will help support the growth of the brand.

Fresh off its own brewery expansion, Stone Brewing also announced plans to expand its footprint into Nebraska next month. Stone — the country’s tenth largest craft brewery — will enter the cornhusker state on August 20 with four distributors: Double Eagle Beverage, Eagle Beverage, H & H Distributing and Quality Brands of Omaha.

“Nebraska has long been a state that has expressed interest in having our beers available in their local establishments,” Jason Armstrong, Stone Brewing’s director of national sales said in a press statement. “Our Nebraska fans have been very active on social media and telling us at beer festivals how much they want Stone beer in their state.”

Also expanding its reach later this month is Atlanta-based Sweetwater Brewing. The company will enter Northern Kentucky on July 31 with Kentucky Eagle Distributors as its wholesaler partner in Lexington, and Chas. Seligman Distributing Company in Northern Kentucky. It’s the first new state the company has opened since 2008 and comes on the heels of a $19 million expansion.

“It has been incredible to see our brand resonate and gain traction in an organic footprint over the last several years, but now that our brewery expansion is complete, we’re kicking off some major growth into new states and we’re excited that Kentucky is among the first,” Dave Guender, Sweetwater’s director of sales said in a press release.

July 18, 2013 - Dock Street Will Celebrate 6th Anniversary with Special Beer Release
THE NEWS RELEASE:
On Thursday August 22nd, 2013 join us in celebration of our 6th Anniversary in the big old firehouse on 50th & Baltimore in West Philly. In honor of our birthday, we are premiering the very special Trappist IPA and re-releasing Firehouse Saison.

Dock Street Brewery is celebrating 6 years in our beautiful brewpub in the firehouse and over 25 years in the craft brewing industry. It’s a very special occasion and we want to share the mirth with our Dock Street Bohemians. We are offering drafts at half price from 4-6pm. The first 25 guests will receive a souvenir gold logo tulip glass. We’ll also be putting a few special beers on tap for the first time ever or in a long while.

Trappist IPA was brewed in collaboration with past Dock Street Brewer Scott Morrison, George Hummel of Homesweet homebrew and Tom Peters of Monk’s Café. The beer they created is inspired by Orval. Brewed with saccharomyces and brettanomyces for a moderate sour character. Citrus, grassy notes from Sonnet and East Kent Goldings hops. This collaboration is a rare thing, obviously the beer is limited.

Firehouse Saison is a favorite recipe of DS Head Brewer Justin Low. This saison is brewed with a small percentage of smoked malts. The flavor delivers a low-key chewy flavor of smokiness balanced by the fruity saison yeast.

Join us in the celebration of 6 years of making award winning beer and pizza in West Philly. Special beers on tap, half priced drafts, souvenir glass! See you Thursday Aug 22.

Go West of Center. Cheers!

July 17, 2013 - Sly Fox Enters Maryland; Virginia and DC Next
NEWS RELEASE:
SLY FOX OPENS MARYLAND DISTRIBUTION TODAY
Sly Fox Brewing Company of Pottstown, PA announced today that it would begin selling its beer in the Maryland market immediately and that the move would be marked at a celebratory party at Frisco Taphouse & Brewery in Columbia tonight. A brewery representative will be on hand and there will be 16 Sly Fox beers on tap and two cask-conditioned firkins on the bar. A similar event is planned for Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore for next Thursday, July 25th.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Bond Distributing Company in Baltimore,” said Director of Sales Patrick Mullin, “and equally pleased that we can finally satisfy the demand for Sly Fox beers in the state of Maryland. We were very impressed with Bond’s commitment to the craft beer category and their execution with their present portfolio. We’re really looking forward to working with them.

“Bond will be handling our products in Baltimore, Howard, Carroll, Harford and Cecil counties as well as in Baltimore City. Other parts of Maryland will be added to our distribution footprint in the near future. We are sending our entire portfolio of year-round and seasonal beers in cans, 750ml bottles and on draft to Maryland starting today.

“We are thrilled and honored to add Sly Fox into our Bond Craft portfolio,” said Matt Crow, Director of Craft & Import Sales. “Sly Fox fits perfectly into our strategy of Maryland/Regional Craft offerings as well as select National Craft Brands.” Sly Fox joins Bond's Craft portfolio which includes Boston Beer, New Belgium, Shiner, Harpoon, Boulevard, Terrapin, Yards, and Maryland Breweries Flying Dog, DuClaw, The Brewers Art, and Peabody Heights.

In addition to expanding farther into Maryland, Sly Fox plans to open the Virginia and Washington, DC markets as well by the end of the year," Mullin added. “When we built our new brewery in Pottstown, we committed to growing our distribution area,” he said, “and the clear demand for our award-winning beers in this exciting regional market was a major factor in the decision to increase our production.”

When this latest expansion is complete, Sly Fox beers will be available in six states and the District of Columbia.

July 17, 2013 - Victory Brewing Opens Alabama
NEWS RELEASE
VICTORY BREWING EXPANDS DISTRIBUTION TO ALABAMA
Victory® Brewing Company (Victory), will expand its national distribution footprint to include Alabama, beginning at the end of July. Taking the brand statewide by the end of August are distributors Allstate Beverage Company, of Montgomery, AL; Gulf Distributing Company of Mobile, AL; and International Wines & Craft Beer, of Birmingham, AL.

“We're excited to finally sell in Alabama,” said Steve German, vice president of sales and distribution. “The craft beer fans there were passionate enough to fight and change certain laws in order to have the right to enjoy full-flavored, delicious beer in their home state. And what better way to celebrate a win, than with a Victory.”

Marking the 30th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, within Victory’s national distribution footprint, the brewery will launch in the Alabama market first with core brands—HopDevil IPA, Headwaters Pale Ale, Prima Pils and Golden Monkey—and look to add their strong seasonal lineup over time.

“Our thirsty fans have been asking us for more,” said Bill Covaleski, Victory’s president and co-founder. “And that is exactly what we’ll be able to deliver with the completed construction of our new, state-of-the-art brewery in Parkesburg. As we grow into that facility, there will be plenty of headspace to continue the delicious experiments and seasonal offerings that our longtime fans have enthusiastically supported.”

The new brewery, located just 17 miles away from the Downingtown brewery and headquarters, will double Victory’s current production capacity, once fully operational later this fall.

Covaleski continued, “This is just the first of a few exciting announcements fans in states where Victory beer is not currently available, can expect from us, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

July 12, 2013 - IPA Day Set for August 1
Founded in 2011, IPA Day is a universal movement created to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers and brewers worldwide.

IPA Day is opportunity for all breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. It is an opportunity for the entire craft beer culture to combine forces and advocate craft beer through increased education and global awareness.

Complete news release is here.

July 11, 2013 - New Belgium Plans to Become a National Brewery Within Five Years
After addressing its capacity in Fort Collins and re-configuring the construction timeline for its new plant in Asheville, NC, New Belgium CEO and co-founder Kim Jordan said the brewery has turned its attention to distribution.

The company currently sells beer in just 31 states and its products are not available beyond U.S. borders.

Red the whole story.

July 10, 2013 - Dick Yuengling talks about the future of America's oldest brewery
Work hard and surround yourself with good people.

Be determined and don’t always listen to what people tell you (including your own father).

And, of course, throw in a pitcher of luck.

That’s the formula for the wildly successful career of Dick Yuengling, owner of D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. in Pottsville, one of the nation’s top-selling beer makers.

Read the complete interview here.

July 02, 2013 - TV Series Brings Famed Scottish Brewers to Pottstown for July 4 Filming
This new program will premier on the Esquire network, set to debut in the USA in September as part of a line up of shows which celebrate the interests, passions and aspirations of men today. How did this all come about? You might say that Philadelphia’s loss is Pottstown’s gain.
Pottstown Mercury story here.
Show details here.
July 01, 2013 - Brewery to Open in Kennett Square Late This Year
NEWS RELEASE: Historic Kennett Square has announced that a new business, Kennett Brewing Company, will be settling in on South Broad Street.

Kennett Brewing Company was started by two couples who share a passion for well-crafted inventive beers. The company motto is “Kennett Brewing Company believes that everyone deserves extraordinary beer.”

The founders Chris and Jen Braunstein and Mark and Jocelyn Osborne have spent years pursuing excellent traditional and inventive beers and soon realized that to savor the best beer all the time they would have to brew it themselves. According to their website, “Together they dedicated over 15 years of research, practice and achievement to develop their own beer to the category of extraordinary.”

Kennett Brewing Company will take over the space at 109 S. Broad Street on the lower level. They will brew their beer on site and plan to offer their extraordinary beer with a limited menu that will offer traditional taproom fare.

A full menu of traditional beer styles will be brewed, as well as, several unique offerings.

“We are really excited to bring some historical English ales and new flavors to Kennett. Everyone from those new to craft beer, to the real hopheads out there have something to get excited about. Kennett is a second home for us, and we can’t wait to contribute to the historic downtown and the community at large. This is as much Kennett’s brewery and dream, as it is ours. Together we are going to have an extraordinary brewery in this extraordinary town,” said Chris Braunstein.

Look for the opening of Kennett Brewing Company in late 2013. To keep updated on their progress “Like” Kennett Brewing Company on Facebook.

June 28, 2013 - Iron Hill Phoenixville Announces BLOB-Fest Plans
NEWS RELEASE: On Saturday, July 13 beginning at 2 p.m., Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (130 East Bridge Street, 610-983-9333) will host their annual BLOB-Fest, celebrating the Phoenixville-filmed horror classic The BLOB. The film, which will be shown at nearby Colonial Theatre (227 Bridge Street, 610-917-0223), is the inspiration for Head Brewer Tim Stumpf’s Red Cherry BLOB witbier, as well as fun menu of BLOB-y beers, snacks and plates and a tin foil hat contest.

“Each year, Phoenixville celebrates the cult-classic movie The BLOB and just keeps getting better and better, so we’re thrilled to be a part of the fun,” says Stumpf.

The featured beers will include: Red Cherry BLOB, a dark imperial witbier brewed with sweet Oregon cherries; Dirty Weisse, a wheat beer blended at the tap with a touch of Lindeman’s Framboise, a sweet-and-sour Belgian-style raspberry beer; Monster Barleywine is a traditional brown, English-style Barleywine with intense, complex malt sweetness and a sherry-like quality, full-bodied with balanced bitterness and a warm finish; and Bridge St. Bock, a traditional full-bodied, amber German lager with distinct malty and bready characteristics in aroma and flavor with a clean and dry finish.

The beers will pair beautifully with the BLOB menu items, will include: BLOBster Bisque with inside-out lobster raviolis; Bloody Mary Blob Salad with mesclun greens, candied bacon, celery sticks, carrots avocado, bell peppers and served with a blue cheese dressing; Macaroni and Cheese Blobs, fried macaroni and cheese, applewood smoked bacon, served with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce; Beer Braised Meatblob, fettuccini pasta, parmesan cheese, spinach and served with a Vienna-tomato sauce; Pan Roasted Salmon served with a cauliflower cream blob, charred scallions and saffron-almond sauce. Grilled New York Strip Steak TV Dinner with a cheddar laced potato croquette, buttered sugar snap peas, horseradish infused cream sauce and a lemon bar. Dishes will range in price from $6.50 to $28.95.

As part of a long-standing tradition during Phoenixville’s BLOB fest, Iron Hill invites all customers to bring their best Tin Foil Hat creations (to wear in order to ward off any aliens trying to read their minds) for the chance to win a $100 gift card. The contest kicks off at 7 p.m.

June 27, 2013 - Deschutes Brewery Celebrates 25th Anniversary by Entering Greater Philadelphia Market
NEWS RELEASE: Today, Thursday, June 27 is the 25th Anniversary of the country’s fifth-largest craft brewery Deschutes Brewery (901 SW Simpson Avenue, Bend, OR; 541-385-8606). To celebrate its silver anniversary, Deschutes Brewery is thrilled to announce that for the first time, its award-winning craft beers will be available year-round across the greater Philadelphia area. Deschutes Brewery has partnered with Muller, Inc. to distribute its line of beers in the city and surrounding Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. It is Deschutes Brewery’s first distribution to the East Coast.

“For the past four years, beer lovers have only been able to experience Deschutes Brewery beers during Philly Beer Week, but now they can enjoy these world-class beers every day,” says Muller Vice President of Sales John Houck. “We couldn’t be more proud and honored to be working with Deschutes Brewery to bring their amazing beers to the region.”

Deschutes Brewery beers, available in bottles and on draft, include: Mirror Pond Pale Ale, with a whole flower Cascade hops, complex aromas and multi-layered flavor, available both in bottles and on draught; Black Butte Porter, the brewery’s flagship brand, a smooth porter with slight hop bitterness, distinctive chocolate and roasted finish and creamy mouthfeel; and the 2012 number one selling new craft brand Chainbreaker White IPA, brewed with wheat, pilsner malt and Citra hops for beautiful citrus aromas and thirst-quenching flavor.

In addition to these iconic brews, Deschutes Brewery will also be sending the city bottles of the brand-new Fresh Squeezed IPA, part of the brewery’s experimental Bond Street Series; Inversion IPA, a big, bold IPA with intense multi-hop kick ideal for discriminating hop heads; and Deschutes River Ale, a session beer built with craft soul resulting in a perfect balance of hops and malt for a subtle, refreshing flavor. A variety of seasonal and small-production beers will also be offered throughout the year depending on availability and the brewers’ latest inspirations.

“Philadelphia is a craft-savvy market that has welcomed us with open arms and gives us a perfect launch pad for our first distribution area on the East Coast,” said Deschutes Brewery’s President Michael LaLonde. “We’re excited to work with Muller on a full-time basis and to fill the demand that the past years of participating in Philly Beer Week have created for our beers.”

Representatives from Deschutes Brewery, including a brewer, will celebrate the launch with a week-long series of tastings and events in and around Philadelphia in early November; more details will be available later in the summer at http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/events.

June 25, 2013 - American Craft Continues to Grow on International Scene
"Global demand for American craft beer is at an all-time high, as evidenced by small and independent brewers in the U.S. exporting their products to new markets around the world at a growing rate," says Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease. Included in the summer schedule are festivals and conventions in Brazil, Germany and Great Britain.
Read more here.
June 21, 2013 - U.S. Brewery Count Passes 2500
Current trends indicate that the total will reach 3000 at some point in 2014. "I wouldn't expect the rate of opening to continue at over two new breweries per day on average," BA director Paul Gatza writes on the BA blog.
Read the whole blog post..
June 17, 2013 - Homebrewers Do Love Themselves Some Hops
FROM THE NEWS RELEASE: The American Homebrewers Association’s (AHA) members like their beers bitter and once again voted Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder the “Best Commercial Beer in America” for the fifth year running. The poll is conducted annually by Zymurgy magazine—the journal of the AHA.

This is the 11th year that AHA members voted for up to 20 of their favorite beers in an online poll. Members were able to choose any commercial beer available for purchase in the United States. As in recent years, flavorful IPAs and double IPAs continue to outshine the rest, and comprised eight of the top 10 beers.

The top-ranked beers include:
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
4. Bell’s Hopslam Ale
5. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
6. Founders Breakfast Stout
7. Stone Brewing Co. Arrogant Bastard Ale
8. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
T9. Lagunitas Sucks
T9. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
T9. Stone Brewing Co. Ruination IPA
(T indicates tie)

More than 1,100 breweries were represented in this year’s poll, and the top-ranked brewery is Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, Calif.), who had five beers in the top 50. Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, Calif.) took second with five beers as well, followed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, Calif.), in third with four beers making the list.

Additionally, the Best Portfolio of Beers was awarded to the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), which had 40 beers receive votes in the poll. The top contenders in the category include:
1. The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
2. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3. Avery Brewing Co.
4. Cigar City Brewing
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

As was the case in 2012, no beers produced by breweries outside of the U.S. made the top 50. The two top vote-getters among foreign breweries both hailed from Belgium—Orval and Saison Dupont tied for first place.

June 13, 2013 - Time Magazine Reports "Beer Bellies Are a Myth"
According to University of California Davis food science professor Charles Bamforth, the colloquial notion of the beer belly — that beer somehow uniquely targets the gut – doesn’t jibe with medical science. The main source of calories in any alcoholic beverage is alcohol,” Bamforth told Popular Science. “There’s nothing magical about the alcohol in beer, it’s just alcohol.”
Read it all here.
June 11, 2013 - AHA Survey Shows 26% Growth in 2012 Homebrew Sales
Reviewing data from 275 shops spanning 47 states-a 32 percent increase in participants from last year's survey-the survey found that on average, participants saw gross revenue increase by 26 percent in 2012. For shops that primarily sell homebrew supplies, gross revenue increased on average by 29 percent. This is 2 percent higher than last year's results and 10 percent higher than results from the first AHA supply shop survey conducted in 2009.
Read more here.
June 06, 2013 - For Homebrewers, The Final Triumph
As reported by the realbeer.com newslettter:

For the first time since the end of Prohibition - and a mere 35 years after President Jimmy Carter legalized homebrewing at the national level - it will soon be OK to homebrew in every state in the nation.

Alabama governor Robert Bentley has signed legislation that allows residents to homebrew limited amounts of beer, wine, mead or cider. Although the Alabama legislature was the last to approve a bill legalizing homebrewing the state is not the last where it's officially legal. Mississippi lawmakers approved homebrewing first, but the law doesn't go into effect until July 1.

We have no doubt local homebrewers are waiting patiently before they fire up their kettles. Of course, thousands of people in Alabama have been homebrewing all along; often unaware they've been breaking the law, in fact committing what legally was a felony. The new Alabama law is more restrictive than many. It limits production to 60 gallons of beer, wine, cider or mead in a calendar year, compared to 200 gallons in some states. Those who live in dry counties or cities cannot homebrew at all.

Yeah, right.

June 06, 2013 - Weyerbacher Wednesdays Off to Smashing Start
Weyerbacher Wednesdays kicked off June 5 at the market in Centre Square. The new weekday market sponsored by Weyerbacher Brewing Co. is scheduled 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through September. The brewery will help promote the market at its South Side visitor center and offer free samples at both the Wednesday and traditional Saturday markets.
Complete story here.
May 26, 2013 - Garden State Anticipates a Host of New Craft Breweries
About two dozen new craft entities are in various stages of planning around the state, looking to join the 25 already in operation, according to records kept by the Brewers Association. The growth the result of to a recent overhaul of the state’s Byzantine brewery rules. Last fall, Gov. Chris Christie signed a measure to give craft beer makers a greater opportunity to sell to the general public.
Long and informative story here.
May 25, 2013 - Beer Yard Voted Best Suburban Beer Distributor [UPDATED]
Voters in the annual Philly Beer Scene magazine "Best of" awards chose The Beer Yard as the best beer distributor in the Philadelphia suburbs. The trophy was awarded at the awards event at World Cafe Life on May 22.

Several members of the Beer Yard staff were in attendance, led by owner Matt Guyer and right-hand man Mark Sauerbrey.

UPDATE: Complete list of winners.

May 24, 2013 - Easton Farmers' Market to begin "Weyerbacher Wednesdays" on June 5
Twenty vendors will offer their local produce, flowers, herbs, dairy products, meats and eggs. Weyerbacher will also be present, offering samples of its craft beers.
May 21, 2013 - Magic Hat vs. West Sixth Brewing in Trademark Squabble
The lawsuit argues that designs and trade dress by West Sixth are similar enough to those associated with the Magic Hat #9 brand to confuse buyers. The logos of the two brands are “confusingly similar,” according to the Magic Hat filing.
Read the story here.
May 21, 2013 - Philly Beer Week Features Collaborative Brews
FROM THE NEWS RELEASE One such special beer, brewed in Brussels, Belgium during PBW's annual "Win a Trip to Belgium" event for local beer lovers, is Manneken-Penn, a Belgo-American Dubbel. This past winter, raffle winner Matt Hohorst, along with head brewer Chris Wilson of Weyerbacher and Tom Peters of Monks Café traveled abroad to brew with Yvan De Baets at Brasserie de la Senne. Manneken-Penn will be available for the first time on Friday, May 31, at Opening Tap (click for tickets).

"Collaboration beers are a huge part of what makes PBW special: brewers coming together and pushing each other to do ever more outrageous and delicious things," says PBW Executive Director Don Russell. "As always, we're very excited to see what amazing new beers they've created - and to raise a pint to 'America's Best Beer-Drinking City'."

Manneken-Penn is a 7.5% Belgo-American Dubbel whose name and label art were inspired by Philadelphia's famed William Penn statue above City Hall, and Brussels' landmark Manneken Pis sculpture of a playful naked boy - ahem - relieving himself. Manneken-Penn was made with oats, molasses and a combination of American Calypso hops and European Slovenia, Aurora and Styrian Goldings hops. It is imported for PBW by Shelton Brothers and will be available both on draft and in 11.2 oz bottles.

Throughout the 10 days of PBW, beer drinkers will be able to enjoy other collaborative brews including:

Brotherly Suds 4, an English summer ale with a zesty citrus hop, brewed this year at Yards by Tom Kehoe, Bill Covaleski of Victory, Gordon Grubb of Nodding Head, Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant and Gene Muller of Flying Fish;

Dock Street Trappiste Pale, a Trappist-style IPA inspired by Orval, brewed by Dock Street, Scott Morrison, Tom Peters and George Hummel, fermented with saccharomyces in the primary fermentation and brettanomyces in the secondary fermentation for a moderate sour character, plus Sonnet and East Kent Golding hops for grassy, citrus-y flavor, available in 750 mL bottles from Dock Street exclusively during PBW;

Johnny Berliner, brewed by Dock Street and Johnny Brenda's, a Berlinerweiss German-style sour beer that is clean, refreshing, distinctly tart and low in alcohol (4% ABV), making it perfect for summer;

Standard Pale, the sixth collaboration between Sly Fox's Brian O'Reilly and Standard Tap's William Reed, an American pale ale brewed with new hop varietal Calypso, which will be tapped by the HOG when it makes its way past Standard Tap on the HOG Relay, en route to Opening Tap, and poured for free until the firkin is empty;

DNA UK, from Dogfish Head and Charles Wells, a transatlantic collaboration that brings together the "DNA" of Dogfish Head's famed 60 Minute IPA and a strain of yeast from Brit brewer Wells. DNA is making its debut at PBW;

Brewvolution II, a collaboration between Prism, Evil Genius and Boxcar that is a hard root beer drawn from Lancaster County's Amish community and infused with root herbs and spices for all the character of a root beer with none of the saccharine sweetness.

May 14, 2013 - The Big Shift: Germany Is Importing U.S. Beers
Almost 65 years after Allied planes flew Western supplies into blockaded Berlin, a new American import is arriving by air: craft beer. The beer is being flown in as part of a new surge of German interest in American brewing, upending a centuries-old relationship in which German beer defined the golden standard for brewing and Americans emulated it... German consumers, intrigued by unfamiliar flavors, are purchasing more imported beer and are increasingly copying American efforts with their own small-scale brewing operations.
Read the whole story.
May 10, 2013 - Flying Fish Hurricane Sandy Relief Beer Will Return
FROM A FLYING FISH NEWS RELEASE: After many, many requests asking us to re-release the beer for the summer, we're going to brew one batch of Sandy in kegs and then about 1,000 cases in the 750 ml champagne bottles that the Exit series beers come in. We will continue our fundraising efforts by earmarking a portion of these proceeds to add to the $45,000 we've already donated to the rebuilding efforts.

Kegs of this wheat pale ale will be heading out in time for Philly Beer Week in June. We're hoping to get the bottles out in mid- to late-June. Stay tuned.

And if you can't wait that long, the last keg of the original FU Sandy is being tapped on May 15 at Natirar Ninety Acres. In the meantime we are featuring the very cool FU Sandy glassware and t-shirts.

If you were wondering were those donations went so far, read all about it here.

May 08, 2013 - And Now There Are 50: Alabama Is Final State to Approve Homebrewing
Homebrewing became federally legal in 1979, though the 21st Amendment predominantly leaves regulation of alcohol to the states. "Homebrewing has been an integral part of the history of America, so it's thrilling to know that soon all 50 states will support this growing hobby and long-standing tradition," said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association.
Read more here.
May 06, 2013 - Three-Legged Goat Wins Sly Fox Goat Race
Fan favorite Peggy the Three-Legged failed in her effort win her third straight title at the 15th annual Sly Fox Bock Fest & Goat Race in Phoenixville yesterday, being eliminated in the semi-finals.

Instead, the honor of having the 2013 Maibock named in his honor went to Simon, a first time contender who also has had a leg amputated (Peggy a rear leg, Simon a front one). Both goats are owned and cared-for by veterinarian Christina Vittoria and Weyerbacher brewer Colin Presby,

Thousands of revelers filled the parking lot in front of the Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery. A new twist this year was the addition of a large video screen on which the entire crowd could see the races as they happened rather than only the few hundred who secured a place along the racing path.
Here is the story covering the event from this morning's Pottstown Mercury.

May 02, 2013 - Iron Hill Planned Ardmore Location Still In Dispute
Board President Liz Rogan said the restaurant chain had granted an extension until June 20 for the board to vote on a resolution approving or denying approval of the inter-municipal transfer from a business in another part of Montgomery County. The postponement is the second in recent weeks on the application, which has sparked controversy in the residential neighborhoods near the shopping center on Greenfield Avenue. Read more here.
April 29, 2013 - Founders Brewing Co. Reveals PBW Schedule
Topping the list is an All-Star Road Show event on Sunday, June 2, from 4-11pm at World Cafe Live. “All-Star” refers to both the draft lineup and the FBC All-Stars, the official brewery band, who will be playing a live show that evening. Read more here..
April 18, 2013 - Once He Was Wicked, Now He's Merely Session-able
Earlier this year Slosberg began crafting Mavericks beer, a line of session offerings that clock in at less than 4 percent alcohol by volume. The new line is an extension of products already available from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. When the owners of the Coastal California brewpub wanted to begin outside distribution of its beer, they asked Slosberg for assistance.
Read more here.
April 16, 2013 - Boston’s Craft Beer Community Rallies to Support Marathon Victims
Members of New England’s craft beer community are coming together and organizing community events to help victims of yesterday’s attack on the Boston Marathon.
Details here.
April 15, 2013 - Head Brewer Casey Hughes Is Leaving Flying Fish
Casey Hughes' Facebook post this afternoon:
Well big news Monday! After 10 years with Flying Fish I will be leaving for the Sunshine State to start a brewery! Thanks to Gene and everyone here, its been a great 10 years!
April 12, 2013 - US Craft Beer Has inspired British Brewers
"Somehow, beer from the United States has become not just widely respected, but achingly fashionable," say a a BBC story. "An explosion in independently-run microbreweries producing lovingly-created, strong, pungent, flavour-rich ales has transformed the reputation of the product."
Much, much more here.
April 10, 2013 - Brewers Association's Top 50 Breweries of 2012
Local craft beer folks wiill be delighted to see that Troegs (#50) has joined Dogfish Head (#13) and Victory (#26) among the Top 50. "In 2012, craft surpassed six percent of the total U.S. beer market, with volume and dollar sales reaching record levels,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association.
Complete list and more information here.
April 04, 2013 - Coors Launches "Craft Collection" in Ireland
The UK debut of The Craft Collection is due to take place later in 2013. Ireland was selected as the launch country for The Craft Collection due to the explosion of the craft beer market here, both in terms of the availability of craft beers and the establishment of a growing number of dedicated craft beer pubs.
More here.
April 03, 2013 - Susquehanna Ale Trail Welcomes Seven New Establishments for April Passport Event
OFFCIAL NEWS RELEASE:
The Susquehanna Ale Trail, a collection of breweries in central Pennsylvania committed to creating good times and great beer will welcome seven new partners to the Trail for this year's Second Annual Passport Event happening April 12-14 and 19-21.

For $15, beer enthusiasts can purchase a passport online or at one of the participating establishments, which grants them access to 13 breweries and one distillery for all event weekends. Not to mention, the purchase of a passport entitles participants to special brewery tours, three to five craft beer tastings, a 10% discount on merchandise and a souvenir Susquehanna Ale Trail mug! In addition to the standard passport, designated driver passports are also available for $5.

The Susquehanna Ale Trail has doubled in size since the first Passport Event last spring and includes breweries, brew pubs and brewing outlets in York, Lancaster, Dauphin and Franklin counties:

The latest brewery to hit the York craft beer scene is Liquid Hero Brewery, a small- scale microbrewery devoted to bringing the flavor back to beer. Friends Matt, Christian and Josh started producing beer out of a garage in York in 2008 and have been mastering the art of brewing ever since. Pull up a stool in the brewery's cozy tasting room and sample a pint of American Hero - an amber-colored American ale and the frontrunner of all four flagship beers.
Housed in a 100-year-old renovated factory building in downtown Hanover, Warehouse Craft Brewing Company, is the brainchild of local businessman Keith Stambaugh. After spending years perfecting small batches of home brews for friends and family, Stambaugh opened the microbrewery in November 2012. Stop in to taste a variety of ales, pilsners and porters with creative names like Warehouse Passive/Aggressive Pale Ale or Leggy Blonde Imperial Blonde Ale.
Starting on a small 3 bbl system in 2000, brewer Scott Bowser had no idea that Swashbuckler Brewing Company, located on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, would take off with such smashing success. After just one season, the small brewery was insufficient at keeping up with Faire patrons' requests for hand-crafted ales and lagers, and expanded to a much larger system offering everything from a light German style-Kolsch ale to a Belgium-style dubbel ale.
Taste everything from a citrusy IPA to a robust Stout at Central Pennsylvania's first nano-brewery, Rumspringa Brewing Company, located in the Lancaster Beer & Wine Gallery. Relax in the Barn Café and sample one of Rumspringa's four signature beers, or choose from two rotating seasonal brews.
Named for the patron saint of brewers, Saint Boniface Craft Brewing Company in Ephrata offers more than six varieties of beers. Friends Mike and Jon combined their brewing expertise to create rich, tasty brews.
In Chambersburg, raise a glass at "America's Freshest Brewery," Roy-Pitz Brewing Company! Passionate brewmasters Jesse and Ryan refer to their beer as "liquid art" and strive to create a product that reflects both imagination and skill. Learn about the brewery's 16 beers on the facility tour, and afterwards sample the likes of Chicken Leg Stout, Old Jail Ale or Lone Soldier Sour Ale.
Nestled in the picturesque town of Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, Old Republic Distillery specializes in hand-crafted, small-batch spirits made with only local produce. This limited distillery is the first of its kind in York County and produces top-of-the line fruit liquor with tempting flavors like apple and blueberry pie.
In addition to the seven new partners, the Susquehanna Ale Trail also includes Bube's Brewery, Holy Hound Taproom, Lancaster Brewing Company, Mr. Steve's Homebrew Supply, Mudhook Brewing Company, Stoudt's Brewing Company and Tröegs Brewing Company. For more information: go here or call 888.858.YORK.
April 03, 2013 - SAVOR Moves to NYC for 2013
Presented by the Brewers Association, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience is the premier beer and food pairing event in the U.S. The event comes to NYC after five consecutive years in the nation’s capital. Attendees will enjoy beers from 76 small and independent U.S. breweries, hailing from 31 different states and representing all regions of the country. Along with tasting some of the finest craft beers, attendees will enjoy a diverse array of food pairings designed by Chef Adam Dulye, co-owner/chef of San Francisco’s The Monk’s Kettle and James Beard Award-semifinalist Abbot’s Cellar, in collaboration with a panel of chefs and Cicerones®. Sonnier & Castle will serve as the event caterer.

SAVOR sets itself apart by bringing the notable personalities behind craft beer brands to the front lines to serve guests. Attendees also have an opportunity to interact with brewers during private salon tastings throughout the two nights.

Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15, 2013 7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Altman Building and adjoining Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011. Tickets and more information here.

March 29, 2013 - 30th Annual Craft Brewers Conference Concluded Today
NEWS RELEASE:
Boulder, CO • March 29, 2013—The Brewers Association (BA) —the not-for-profit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers—has concluded the 30th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & BrewExpo America®.

As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 6,400 brewing professionals and approximately 440 exhibitors in the nation’s capital for conversation and collaboration about America’s ever-growing craft beer culture.

Highlights from the 2013 conference include:
2013 Achievement Awards
Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service during the opening session.
Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing: Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing Co. was honored with the Russell Schehrer Award for implementing the biggest barrel ageing operation in the country. Brewmaster for the past 10 years, Bouckaert makes all kinds of experimental beers, many of which are released under New Belgium’s “Lips of Faith” series. The award is given annually to honor Schehrer's contributions to the brewing industry. Schehrer was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado's first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co.

Brewers Association Recognition Award: Art Larrance of Cascade Brewing/Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub received the Brewers Association Recognition Award for his innovative and award-winning beers. Larrance has been in the industry since the early 1980s and opened Cascade Brewing in 1998. Each year, BA members nominate candidates for this award and the BA Board of Directors votes to determine the most deserving brewer.

F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award: David Katleski, president of the New York State Craft Brewers Guild and owner of the Empire Brewing Co., received the F.X. Matt Award for his tireless efforts to make regulatory reform possible and change legislation. Katleski operates a small brewpub in Syracuse and is constantly working to help the local craft market. This past year, he had five major pieces of reform legislation passed in New York. The award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt, president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and chairman from 1989-2001.

Other notable takeaways from this year’s CBC include:
Craft Brewers Hill Climb: A record 233 small and independent American brewery owners and brewers, representing 215 craft breweries and 46 states, climbed the steps of the United States Capitol. They met with Congressional staff to tell their success stories and discuss legislative issues of concern to the craft brewing industry.

Kim Jordan Keynote: New Belgium Brewing co-founder and CEO Kim Jordan welcomed attendees as this year’s keynote speaker. Jordan presented the keynote at CBC in New Orleans in 2003, where she famously called for craft brewers to aspire to reach 10 percent of all U.S. beer sales. A decade later, Jordan returned to discuss issues ranging from technical brewing considerations to the industry’s collective spirit and future.

Leadership Recognition Awards: The Honorable Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was presented the Brewers Association Achievement Award in appreciation of his five years of leadership in the House Small Brewers Caucus. DeFazio was recognized for his evergreen commitment to supporting America’s small and independent brewers and for his personal passion and enthusiasm for craft beer and homebrewing.

Sustainability Manuals: With increasing numbers of craft brewers prioritizing sustainability issues, the BA officially unveiled three new manuals for craft brewers: BA Water and Wastewater: Treatment/Volume Reduction Manual; BA Solid Waste Reduction Manual; and BA Energy Usage, GHG Reduction, Efficiency and Load Management Manual. Each contains multiple levels of solutions for different size breweries and a toolbox including guidance, checklists and Excel-based tools.

New Records in Craft Beer Growth in the U.S. and Abroad: CBC also saw the BA release a full, extensive analysis of 2012 data on U.S. craft brewing growth. In a year when the total U.S. beer market grew by one percent, craft brewers saw a 15 percent rise in volume and a 17 percent increase in dollar growth, representing a total barrelage increase of almost 1.8 million. The BA also recently reported that the American craft brewing industry set new records for exports in 2012. Craft beer export volume increased by an astounding 72 percent compared to 2011, with a value estimated at $49.1 million. The full 2012 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2013 issue of The New Brewer.

Next year’s conference will be held in Denver, CO from April 8-11, 2014, in conjunction with the 2014 World Beer Cup®.

March 27, 2013 - Brewers Association and Beer Institute At Odds Over Proposed Tax Legislation
The Beer Institute, which includes member companies such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, plans to “actively oppose” the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce, or Small BREW Act, this year. The Brewers Association — essentially the trade group for craft brewers — is lobbying for the bill, which would reduce the federal excise tax on beer from small producers.
Much more right here.
March 27, 2013 - Craft Brewers Conference Keynote: Honesty, Identity Will Determine Craft’s Fate
Jordan’s tone, while hopeful, was still cautionary. Her keynote speech addressed a variety of industry concerns including product quality, sustainable business practices, finite resources and even brewery expansion projects.
Lots more here.
March 26, 2013 - The $338 Million Powerball Beer Run
Pedro Quezada , a 44-year-old bodega owner who heads to Eagle Liquors to buy a few bottles of Corona and a lottery ticket after work every day made the best purchase of his life last Saturday The Dominican-born Quezada beat the 175-million-to-1 odds when he bought the winning ticket; using the Quick Pick option, he hit all five numbers and the Powerball.
Entire story here.
March 21, 2013 - Sly Fox Announces Release of Helles Golden Lager in Cans..and a New Style Can To Boot
Sly Fox Helles Gold Lager in a new "360 can" which allows the drinker to remove the top completely and use the can as if it were a glass will be introduced into the local market in April.

Additionally, Sly Fox's award-winning flagship beer, Pikeland Pils, will also be sold in the new cans at the ballpark during all Phillies home games in 2012.

A photo of the new can and a link to today's "Joe Sixpack" column about it and other canned beers in the Philadelphia Daily News can be found here.

March 19, 2013 - Online Weekly "Flying Kite" Celebrates Earth Bread + Brewery's Commitment to Being Green
Traditionally, restaurants are huge producers of waste. Earth's steadfast commitment to composting food scraps makes a significant difference on trash day. They generate only five household-sized cans of trash per week -- a minuscule amount for a large restaurant.
Read the entire article here.

Editor's Note: To the delight of its many fans, EB+B now has weekend lunch and brunch hours, rectifying the brewpub's only serious fault.

March 18, 2013 - Brewery Ommegang Announces Second Annual Philly Hop Chef Competition
NEWS RELEASE: On Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m., some of Philadelphia’s most talented young chefs will compete in Brewery Ommegang’s second-annual Philly Hop Chef for a chance to represent the city in a cook-off at the brewery’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown event.

Six chefs will each create one dish showcasing their imaginative beer and food pairing skills, based on five principles of pairing. The dishes, all paired with Ommegang beers, will be served to a panel of judges and to all attendees; each chef will be given 15 minutes to describe and defend his dish to the judges.

Co-sponsored by the prestigious food magazine Saveur, Philly Hop Chef will be held at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, 215-232-2100) and tickets are $53.50 per person, with a portion of proceeds going to support the Mural Arts Program and Groundswell.

“Beer and food belong together – whether as a thoughtful beverage pairing or as an ingredient – and this competition brings some of Philly’s best and brightest young chefs into the kitchen with our beers,” says Megan Maguire, Ommegang Market Manager. “Last year’s dishes were inspired, and the playful rivalries that developed between the chefs drove each of them to work harder and to create even more exciting and interesting dishes and pairings.”

The outstanding line-up of competing chefs includes: Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic; Lucio Palazzo of La Calaca Feliz; Nick Macri of Southwark; Pat Szoke of The Industry; Eli Kulp of Fork; and Mike Deganis of Alla Spina. The chefs will be judged based on five pairing principles: Simple Pairing, a direct interaction between food and beer; Incorporation, utilizing beer in the cooking process; Mimicking, matching the flavor profile of a dish with the flavor profile of a beer; Story Telling, tracing the history of the dish and the beer; and Experimental, making beer the star of the dish.

“Our Great Beer Deserves Great Food and Hop Chef programs further the very Belgian idea of food and beer pairing – that there is a beer for every dish. Starting this year’s competition off in Philadelphia is fitting as Philly is one of the centers of beer culture in the U.S. and it also has a booming restaurant scene with high quality food, both local and ethnic” said Phil Leinhart, Ommegang’s brewmaster.

The Hop Chef Competition is part of the Ommegang program known as Great Beer Deserves Great Food®, a national initiative dedicated to the idea that fine beer deserves its rightful place at the table with fine foods. The Philadelphia event is the first in a series of chef’s cook-offs across the U.S., including other semi-final competitions in Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and Albany, NY, culminating in a Grand Hop Chef cook-off at Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival August 2 to 4 at the brewery. In 2012, Philadelphia’s own George Sabatino won the national Hop Chef title in Cooperstown. He serves as the local Hop Chef Culinary Ambassador for this year’s competition.

March 18, 2013 - Brewers Association Releases Craft Beer Data for 2012
With production at 13,235,917 barrels in 2012, craft brewers reached 6.5 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market, up from 5.7 percent the previous year. Small breweries created an estimated 4,857 more jobs during the year, employing 108,440 workers, compared to 103,583 the year prior.
More details here.
March 14, 2013 - Green Flash Will Build New Brewery in Virginia Beach
The San Diego-based company said it will break ground on a $20 million, 58,000 sq. ft. Virginia Beach, VA location later this year. Green Flash co-founder and CEO Mike Hinkley first announced his intent to build a secondary, East Coast production brewery last June...
More details here.
March 12, 2013 - American Craft Beer Exports Set New Records in 2012
Canada remained the industry's largest export market, with shipments increasing 140 percent by volume (up to 68,180 barrels) in 2012.
More details here.
March 06, 2013 - Flying Fish Special Brew Raises $45,000 to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Victims
Habitat for Humanity, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey were the beneficiaries. “New Jersey is one tight-knit state, and our fans and friends proved that with their overwhelming response to this special beer,” says Gene Muller, Flying Fish founder and president. “From our wholesalers to the local bars and restaurants that made sure no keg went unsold to the dedicated drinkers who nominated our three exceptional beneficiaries, it’s obvious that NJ residents are committed to bringing their communities back, better than ever, after the storm.”
Learn more about the F. U. Sandy campaign here.
March 05, 2013 - US Beer Sales Picking Up After Four Years of Declines
The 2012 increase in beer sales wasn't huge -- only about 1.4%.A few other factors helped sales last year, including cheaper gas, plenty of leap-year partying and a warm, dry winter in parts of the country.
Full story here.
February 28, 2013 - Lab Tests Show Budweiser Beers Meet Their Advertised Strength
Anheuser-Busch has been accused of misleading beer drinkers about the alcohol content of Budweiser and other products, in a series of class-action lawsuits filed in federal court. Tests conducted on Budweiser, Bud Light Lime, and Michelob Ultra this week by San Diego's White Labs found that "the alcohol percentages inside the cans were the same as what was stated on the can," says analytical laboratory specialist Kara Taylor.
More details here.
February 27, 2013 - Lawsuit Claims Budweiser Waters Down Its Beer
The suits, filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states, claim consumers have been cheated out of the alcohol content stated on labels. Anheuser-Busch InBev called the claims "groundless" and said its beers fully comply with labeling laws.
Read the story here.
February 26, 2013 - Scott Morrison To Leave Dock Street in May
The news was reported yesterday morning. Assistant brewer Justin Low will take over to top spot at Dock Street, which released this statement earlier today:
Scott Morrison’s Task is Complete! This coming spring, Scott Morrison is off to uncharted territory. As Head Brewer, teacher and consultant, Scott and Dock Street had an amazing year. We garnered two Great American Beer Festival Medals and a World Beer Cup medal. We made a slew of delicious brews, continued our beer collaborations and had lots of fun.

After a longstanding relationship as head brewer and consultant which began with the installation of the brewery at 50th & Baltimore, Scott will hand over the reins to the protege that he so assiduously trained, Justin Low. Dock Street is proud of the time spent with Scott while he filled the role as Head Brewer and equally supportive of Scott’s new venture.

If you're bound to be movin' on, it's surely nice to have some kind words and the wind at your back.--JACK CURTIN
February 23, 2013 - Major Hotels Hotels Embracing Craft Beer
From two beers in bottles to more than a 100, hotels are embracing craft beer and building partnerships and promotions to quench consumers’ growing thirst for it. . The Four Seasons Philadelphia has also embraced craft beer in its local community. In 2011, the hotel partnered with Dock Street Brewing Co. to brew beers only available at the hotel’s Swann Lounge.
Read more here.
February 21, 2013 - InBev, Justice Department Talking Settlement
AB InBev wants to buy the 50 percent of Modelo it does not already own for $20.1 billion.The Justice Department says the company's moves to meet anti-trust concerns are inadequate and filed a lawsuit on January 31 to stop the transaction.
Read the whole story.
February 19, 2013 - Anchor Brewing To Build Second Brewery on San Francisco Waterfront
The production facility that Anchor Brewing plans along the city's waterfront will also include a restaurant and museum."This is big news for us. We can now further expand our domestic market (Anchor is sold in every state) and open up new international markets," said CEO Keith Greggor....
Read more here.
February 18, 2013 - Boston Beer Company Will Can Boston Lager This Summer
After years of refusing to put his beer in cans, Jim Koch believes he’s finally found a package worthy of his brewery’s flagship offering, Boston Lager. Boston Beer spokeswoman Jessica Paar said the new can design is patent-pending and that Koch hasn’t decided if he’ll license its use to other craft brewers....
Read all about it.
February 15, 2013 - Anheuser-Busch InBev Will Sell Off Corona Distribution Rights To Salvage Modelo Purchase
Corona importer wins big in beer deal redo . Under the old deal, the catch was that ABI could reassess its import deal every decade and terminate it at its leisure, which made the brewer the target of a Justice Department antitrust suit.
The full story is here.
February 12, 2013 - American Craft Beer Week Set for May 13-19
For the eighth consecutive year, the Brewers Association has declared a week-long a celebration of U.S. craft brewers. Last year, ACBW was celebrated by breweries, brewpubs and retailers in all 50 states with over 1,300 official events.
Read all the details here.
February 12, 2013 - Dogfish Head And Sierra Nevada Help Design A Beer Glass Just For IPAs
Iconic drinks come in signature glasses, like the sombrero-shaped margarita glass, the balloon-esque brandy snifter, and the flared martini glass... The rise of artisanal craft beers has given Americans a new appreciation for the vessels in which their beers are served.
Read more here.
February 11, 2013 - Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Production Grew 38 Percent in 2012
The Easton brewery produced a total 13,700 barrels — 27,400 kegs — which represents a 38 percent growth over 2011.“We believe that with this success comes a responsibility to give back to Easton, the city that helped us to become such a successful business,” said the Brewery’s Office Manager Bill Bragg.
Read the compete story here.
February 08, 2013 - Brewers Seeking Tax Break in Proposed Small BREW Act
The Brewers Association applauded the introduction of the bill. It’s the third time that Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa) and Richard E. Neal (D-Mass) have introduced the legislation, House Bill 494, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (Small BREW Act).
Read the story here.
February 07, 2013 - Flying Dog Introduces Stove Topper Homebrew Kits
Giving homebrewers a chance to brew Flying Dog beers at home, Maryland's largest brewery is launching Stove Toppers - a line of clone homebrew kits. Stove Toppers are all-grain kits designed for advanced homebrewers that include the brewery's exact ingredients and brewmaster's recipe, all scaled down to a 5-gallon home brewery.
Read more here.
February 05, 2013 - Brewers Association Honors Two Congressmen With Legislator of the Year Awards
Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) were recognized for their stewardship of the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act.
Read the story here.
January 31, 2013 - Justice Department Sues To Stop ABI From Taking Over Corona
The Justice Department filed the lawsuit today. Federal authorities allege that Anheuser-Busch InBev's $20.1 billion takeover of Grupo Modelo, announced in June, would "substantially lessen competition in the market for beer in the United States as a whole" and result in consumers "paying more for beer and having fewer new products from which to choose."
Read the whole story here.
January 28, 2013 - Brewers Association Launches KegReturn.com
From the Official Press Release: The Brewers Association today launched KegReturn.com, a site that provides tools to help consumers, homebrewers, retailers, wholesalers, brewers and scrap yards redirect kegs back to the breweries that own the kegs.

Kegs are always the property of the brewery which purchased them and filled them with beer. Many kegs disappear as a result of accidental mishandling, while others go missing due to intentional misappropriation. KegReturn.com offers a convenient way for kegs to get returned to their proper owner.

“Craft beer sales have grown tremendously over the past decade, which means the number of kegs owned by brewers has increased as well,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “Keg disappearances and the resulting profit loss are hindering opportunities for craft brewers. We must ensure kegs are returned to their owners, it’s the right thing to do.”

According to the Brewers Association, keg loss costs craft brewers between $0.46 and $1.37 per-barrel of annual keg production. Assuming 2011 craft beer sales of 11.5 million barrels, that is a total direct capital charge to craft brewers of $5.3 million and $15.8 million annually. Lost kegs act as an enormous additional and unintended tax on beer, ultimately having a direct impact on job growth and profit reduction for brewers, wholesalers and retailers.

“Understanding the issue at hand is a vital part of finding a solution,” said Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and BA Technical Committee chair. “The online resource at KegReturn.com allows people to contact the brewery or their local distributor to return kegs back to the brewery to be filled again with beer. We call on beer lovers and people in the trade to help reunite kegs with their owners.”

January 28, 2013 - State Budget and Finance Committee Reports on Brewing Industry Economic Impact
A recently complete report by the Pennsylvania Senate's Legislative Budget and Finance Committee detailed the economic impact of the brewing industry in the state and offered recommendations for legislation which would promote industry growth.

Among the findings:

As of December 31, 2011, over 100 breweries were licensed and operating in Pennsylvania and there were, as of that date, breweries in 34 of the state's 67 counties;
Pennsylvania breweries had an estimated direct economic impact of $1.1B in 2011. This figure was calculated using an agreed upon percentage of the data from the Beer Institute to identify the direct impact of only the product produced and sold in Pennsylvania;
Based on the responses to a survey of all breweries licensed and operating in Pennsylvania in 2011, as of December 31, 2011, capital investment in plant and equipment has grown 318% over the previous 5 years with investments and other expenditures by the breweries totaling $782M over that period. Breweries responding to the survey employed approximately 1,900 full-time and 760 part- time workers as of the end of 2011; employment grew 10% annually over the five year period;
Pennsylvania breweries, brewpubs, wholesalers and distributors paid the state an average of $41M a year over that period in malt beverage and business taxes (taxes are not solely the result of beer produced in PA). Fees collected by the Commonwealth from breweries and brewpubs averaged $116K over the last 3 fiscal years covered by the report.
The committee recommended that the General Assembly consider amending the Liquor Code as it pertains to malt and brewed beverages to address the Granholm decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in a 5-4 decision that laws in New York and Michigan that permitted in-state wineries to ship wine directly to consumers, but prohibited out-of-state wineries from doing the same, were unconstitutional) as it relates to malt and brewed beverages.

A second recommendation was that the General Assembly consider amending provisions of the Liquor Code related to franchise agreements to reflect the change in the industry due to the growth in the number of smaller craft manufacturers.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

January 23, 2013 - Market Research Firm Projects Craft Beer To Be $18 Billion Market By 2017
"“Unlike its domestic and imported beer counterparts, craft beer has been able to defy overall beer market trends and continue expansion." Despite declining performance for domestic and imported beer, the craft beer market has risen strongly and appears poised for even greater heights...
Read the story here.
January 19, 2013 - New Flying Fish Beer in February Will Benefit Superstorm Sandy Victims
Flying Fish Brewing Co. will debut Forever Unloved (F. U.) Sandy, a hybrid wheat-pale ale, in Feburary. 100% of the proceeds from sales of the draught-only brew will go to New Jersey victims of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. F.U. Sandy will be available throughout the New Jersey and Philadelphia region.

"At Flying Fish, we proudly hail from the great state of New Jersey, so when tragedy struck, we knew immediately that we wanted to do something to help," Flying Fish founder Gene Muller explained. "Every single aspect of this beer, from the man-hours spent brewing it to the hops used to season it to the kegs that will contain it, has been donated so every cent brought in goes to Superstorm Sandy victims."

The brew will produce approximately 100 kegs of beer, with sales expected to generate $50,000. The recipient of those funds will be a grassroots NJ-based charitable organization dedicated to Superstorm Sandy relief and chosen by Flying Fish fans via social media. To nominate a charity, visit the brewery on twitter @jerseyfreshale and on Facebook.--JACK CURTIN

January 15, 2013 - New Belgium Brewing Now Completely Employee-Owned
New Belgium announced the milestone Tuesday, a day after its 456 employees got the news at their annual winter retreat. The nation's third-largest craft brewer and has been partly owned by its workers since 2000, but co-founder Kim Jordan and her family held a controlling interest until now.
Read the story here.
January 12, 2013 - Weyerbacher's Chris Wilson is going to Belgium
Weyerbacher head brewer Chris Wilson was chosen the lottery drawing this afternoon to brew the 2013 Philly Beer Week collaborative brew at De La Senne.
January 11, 2013 - Dan Weirback Is the Man
Verboten Brewing tells a craft-beer trademark story with a happy ending Verboten Brewing, which will open its doors this weekend, takes its name for the German word for "forbidden," and is a reference to German beer-purity laws, or Reinheitsgebot, which forbade brewers in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries from using anything but water, barley and hops in their beers. But Verboten's owners...discovered that their chosen name nearly ran afoul of another set of United States trademark law....Weyerbacher Brewing owns the nationwide rights to the name because it trademarked the name of its Belgian-style pale ale, Verboten....
Read the whole story here.
January 10, 2013 - Mahar's, a haven for beer-lovers, taps out
It's news that broke the hearts of beer lovers throughout the Capital Region Mahar's Public Bar is closing. Jim Mahar's watering hole, preferred by many craft beer enthusiasts, will be shutting its doors at a yet-to-be-determined time this year, to be replaced by a new pub owned by someone else. Read the whole story here.
January 08, 2013 - Memphis Taproom, Local 44, Resurrection Ale House and now...
Another scoop. The Inquirer's Michael Klein has good news for Philadelphia beer lovers.
Read the whole story here.
January 08, 2013 - Anheuser-Busch to unveil new beer at Super Bowl
Bud Black Crown Is Coming. The new beer is scheduled to be on sale nationwide by Jan. 21.
Read the story here.
January 04, 2013 - Brooklyn Brewery Opening New $5 Million Facility in Sweden
Brooklyn Expands Overseas Footprint “This is a project that takes us deeper into the Swedish market with a local brewing presence and allows us to get into the fabric of the Swedish brewing culture,” [Brooklyn COO Eric Otrtoway] said. “It will give us the flexibility to do small, locally produced batches where we collaborate with local brewers and chefs in a way we can’t currently.”
Read the whole story here.
January 03, 2013 - The Craft Beer Black Market
Would you spend thousands of dollars for a rare bottle of beer on eBay? "Having covered the craft beer industry worldwide since the 1990s, I thought I’d seen it all—but then I saw beer’s black market in action. At New York’s Blind Tiger bar one late afternoon last March, a slight, unsmiling young man in a dark windbreaker ordered several pints of beer from the bar, transferred them one by one to a canteen, then slipped away. “He’s going straight home to resell that on eBay,” muttered a patron standing nearby. The perishable beer in question was brewed by Shaun Hill at Hill Farmstead brewery in Vermont, which is currently rated the sixth best brewery in the world by the users of RateBeer."
Read the whole story here.
January 02, 2013 - Philly Beer Week Will Send Another Lucky Brewer to Belgium in 2013
THE OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE (edited):
On Saturday, January 12 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., Philly Beer Week (PBW) 2013 will host their annual Win a Trip to Belgium Raffle at Field House (1150 Filbert Street, 215-629-1520). Guests will have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for $5 per ticket or 5 for $20, and at 2:30 p.m., a drawing will be held to determine the winner. That local beer lover will then be invited to choose a brewery from among a list of PBW participants and will travel, along with the representative from their brewery of choice, to Belgium in March 2013 to partner with Bernard Leboucq and Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Senne in crafting the 2013 PBW Collaborative Brew.

The PBW 2013 Collaborative Brew will be created in cooperation with Brasserie de la Senne and imported by Shelton Brothers, who will provide the winner’s and brewer’s airline tickets and hotel rooms for the two-night whirlwind expedition. This year’s participating breweries and representatives are:

Boxcar Brewing – Jason Kohser
Dock Street – Scott Morrison
Evil Genius – Mark Braunwarth
Flying Fish – Casey Hughes Free Will – John Stemler
Manayunk – Doug Marchakitus
Neshaminy Creek – Jeremy Myers
Nodding Head – Gordon Grubb
Philadelphia Brewing – Ben Schamberg
River Horse Brewing – Chris Rakow
Round Guys – Scott Rudich
Shawnee Craft – Chris DeGasperis
Troegs – Andrew Dickson
Victory – Kevin McGovern
Weyerbacher – Chris Wilson
Yards – Tom Kehoe

NOTE: Previous winners Sly Fox and Iron Hill are prohibited from winning this year’s raffle.

At the raffle event, guests will have the chance to mix and mingle with the brewers, who must be present in order to be selected to join the winner overseas. The Field House will serve their all-new menu of beer-friendly pub fare, along with their 40 local draughts, many from participating breweries.

Philly Beer Week 2013 will be held from Friday, May 31 until Sunday, June 9.

December 28, 2012 - The Makers of Woodchuck Have Been Acquired for $305 Million
C&C Group Completes Acquisition of Vermont Hard Cider. "Vermont Hard Cider will join an impressive C&C portfolio that already includes brands like Magner’s and Hornsby’s. The company is on pace to ship just under 4 million cases in 2012, representing 25 percent growth year-to-date."

Read the complete article.

December 28, 2012 - Excellent Reasons to Win the Nobel Prize
Danish Brewery rewarded prize winner 90 years ago."[A]fter [Niels Bohr] won the Nobel Prize in 1922, the Carlsberg brewery gave him a gift – a house located next to the brewery. And the best perk of the house? It had a direct pipeline to the brewery so that Bohr had free beer on tap whenever he wanted."

Read the whole story here.

December 18, 2012 - News From Around the Internets
Yuengling Brewing valued at $1.8 Billion: "Based on the company’s stated 2012 production of 2.9 million barrels and the enterprise value-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization multiple of Boston Beer, closely held Yuengling is valued at $1.8 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Enterprise value is defined as market capitalization plus total debt minus cash. "
Read about it here.

The battle for the name Budweiser goes on: "[S]ettlement talks between state-owned Budejovicky Budvar and Anheuser-Busch, a U.S. company now part of AB InBev, have collapsed, according to Budvar's director general, Jiri Bocek."
Read about it here.

December 13, 2012 - Brewers Association: When is "Craft" Not Craft?
"In an editorial broadside launched both in print and online, the Brewers Association lashed out at “crafty” beers produced by international brewing conglomerates yesterday as part of what the BA promises will be a long battle to increase consumer awareness of the definition of craft beer.... Read about it here.
December 11, 2012 - Philly Beer Scene Magazine To Expand Distribution, Digital Offerings
Philly Beer Scene, which has established itself as "the" local beer publication in the Delaware Valley in its almost four years in the market, has some big plans brewing for 2012. This information was extracted from a long email editor and publisher Mat Falco sent to advertisers in early December and has been slightly edited:
"[I]n 2012, we...started distributing the magazine throughout York and Lancaster Counties as well as started a more significant push in North Delaware... Because of these growths, we are now printing 24,000 copies of each issue. Starting with the February/March issue, an additional 2,000-3,000 copies will be printed [and] will be available for sale on newsstands throughout the entire states of DE, NJ, and PA. The plan is to start out with Barnes & Nobles, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.

"Another new expansion for us in 2013 will be in the digital version... Starting very soon, an interactive digital version will also be available for free on iTunes. This version should hopefully be available any day now or with the February/March issue at the latest.

"Lastly, the National Homebrewers Conference is coming to Philadelphia at the end of June this year, and we are getting as involved as possible. We have already signed up as a premier sponsor and will running the hospitality suites all three nights. This will be a great night to show off how great the Philly beer culture is as we will have the focus of most everyone attending the festival.

"Also coming up in 2013, we have a few large events. The first will be Band of Brewers on February 10th. Six local breweries have each put together a band and will battle it out on stage in a battle of the bands type event. This is solely a charity event, and we are looking to raising over $12,000 through it. Following that will be the return of the Best of the Philly Beer Scene Awards Show...

"[W]e also just kicked off our 2nd Annual Battle of the Homebrew Shops. This is a two-round contest. In round one we pick a single winner from each of the 10 area shops. For round two, the winner must collaborate with the shop they won at to brew a 15 gallon batch to age in a freshly emptied barrel from Dad's Hat Rye, who is our sponsor this year. The winners will be announced at an event in our hospitality suite during the National Homebrewers Conference."

December 02, 2012 - Rogue Ales and Famed Oregon Bookstore Combine to Brew White Whale Ale
PRESS RELEASE - Powell’s Books and Rogue Ales & Spirits, two unique Oregon businesses, have collaborated to create a beer that’s dedicated to everyone with a thirst for books and artisan craft beer – White Whale Ale.

White Whale Ale is infused with the sea-faring spirit of Moby Dick. Michael and Emily Powell took pages from a copy of the book and, along with Rogue brewmaster, John Maier, placed them into the brew kettle. Moby Dick is especially meaningful to Michael Powell, who was inspired to become a bookseller when he found a first edition of the novel in a box of books he’s purchased.

White Whale Ale was brewed in honor of Powell’s Books 41st Anniversary. Powell’s Books is the one of the world’s great independent and family run bookstores. Its flagship stores in downtown Portland, Oregon, covers an entire city block and contains more than one million new and used books. It also serves customers worldwide through Powells.com.

White Whale Ale is available at Rogue Hall in the heart of the Portland State University campus and the Rogue Distillery & Public House located in Portland’s historic Pearl District, just blocks from Powell’s Books on Burnside. Commemorative bottles may also be purchased online at http://www.rogue.com.

November 20, 2012 - Narragansett Porter Is Back
NEWS RELEASE: The Famous Narragansett Beer announces the return of its winter craft brew, Narragansett Porter. A brand staple since the early 1900s, Porter has received a number of industry accolades, including a silver medal at the 2012 Great International Beer Competition following a bronze medal win the year prior, and a silver medal at the 2011 World Beer Championships.

Narragansett Porter is brewed under the supervision of award-winning Brewmaster Sean Larkin at Trinity Brew House in Providence, R.I., and High Falls Brewery in Rochester, N.Y., with chinook hops for bitterness, simcoe hops for aroma, black malt, pale malt, chocolate malt, munich malt, crystal malt, roasted barley, and ale yeast. An American-style porter, this winter brew has a deliciously mild chocolate flavor with a hint of smokiness and hops to balance out the finish, making for a robust yet extremely approachable craft experience. Narragansett Porter is 7% Alcohol by Volume and 28 IBUs.

Narragansett Porter dates back to 1916 when it was first brewed, and when Prohibition struck down breweries across America in the 1920s, the Narragansett Brewing Company was one of just six given a patent by the U.S. government to continue brewing beer for medicinal purposes, based largely on the belief that porter had healing properties. Narragansett Porter was prescribed by doctors and distributed throughout New England to patients suffering from a variety of ailments, particularly blood-related illnesses like anemia. After Prohibition was repealed in the early 1930s, Narragansett Porter became a favorite of New Englanders from Fall River, Mass., to Falmouth, Maine, and was often referred to as “‘Gansett Dark.”

In 2012, Narragansett expanded distribution of their winter craft brew to District of Columbia and Wisconsin, adding to a list of markets added in 2011, including Southern New York, North Carolina, East and Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Narragansett Porter arrived at the Beer Yard packed in 16oz cans this week.

November 12, 2012 - Brewer Scott Morrison Wins Charity Raffle at Monk's Cafe
Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe announced last week that a popular local brewer was the winner of a charity raffle run by the popular Philadelphia tavern:
We ran a Breast Cancer Charity Raffle that ended last night. The lucky bastard who won the custom Ribbecke Guitar raffle is...Scott Morrison, aka The Dude, head brewer at Dock Street Brewery.

Scott had a pretty good month...he also was awarded two medals at the Great American Beer Festival a few weeks ago. A Silver Medal for his Saison collaboration with Daniel Thiriez and a Bronze Medal for his Abt 12.

Congratulations Scott!

We far exceeded our goal of raising $10,000 for the Breast Cancer Charity. We were able to send a check for $15,000 this year. Two years ago we sent a check for $2,000, last year a check for $5,000. Thanks to all of you that helped us raise this much needed money.

Peters also included news of the next charity which will benefit from Monk's series of charitable events:
The next charity we'll be working on is Alex's Lemonade Stand, the locally based children's cancer charity. We will have occasional fund raisers over the next few months with our big event being tied to the annual February release of Russian River Pliny the Younger. Last year we donated a total of $20,000 to Alex's. Our goal for 2013 is $25,000. Get ready to dig deep my friends. Alex's is worthy of large donations from all of you. Once again, we will have crazy good vintage beer raffles.
-- JACK CURTIN
November 12, 2012 - Victory Brewing's Parkesburg Project Carries $33.1 Price Tag
NEWS RELEASE: First Niagara today announced it served as lead arranger and administrative agent in a $33.1 million financing package for Victory Brewing Company. The$33.1 million is being used to finance the build-out of a second brewery, located in a 212,000 square foot building in Parkesburg, Pa. The new brewery will feature a brewhouse capable of producing ten, 200-barrel brews per day, a 50,000 square-foot distribution center with increased efficiency and safety features, and 1,000-barrel fermentation tanks.

"We have a long-standing relationship with First Niagara, and they understand our business objectives," said Ron Barchet, Brewmaster and CEO. "They were able to customize a financing solution that will allow us to successfully grow our business and meet the demand for the Victory brand."

"From the beginning, we recognized something very special about this organization," said Robert Kane, regional president at First Niagara."Not only do they have a solid business plan, they also have a passion for their business. As bankers, we know it takes both to thrive in today’s competitive business environment."

October 23, 2012 - Captain Lawrence Is Coming
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. of Pleasantville, NY is expanding into Pennsylvania and Northern New Jersey as well as expanding its territory in Northern New York State following its move to a new location in Elsmford, NY.

The brewery and founder/brewer Scott Vaccaro won Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals at Great American Beer Festival In Denver earlier this month for Golden Sour, Golden Delicious and Barrel Select Sour in that order.--JACK CURTIN

October 14, 2012 - Tröegs Takes Three Golds, Is Named Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year at 2012 GABF
Tröegs Brewing Co. won three Gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony in Denver yesterday afternoon, earning the Hershey brewery the distinction of being named the Mid-Sized Brewing Company of the Year and head brewer John Trogner the Mid-Sized Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. The Medals went to HopBack Amber Ale, Dreamweaver Wheat and Sunshine Pils.

The Iron Hill Brewery Group won the most medals among local entrants, four in all, including a Silver for Rauchtoberfest (Lancaster) and Bronzes for Black IPA (Wilmington), Roggenbier (Phoenixville) and Russian Imperial Stout (Media).

The other multiple medal winners locally were from Philadelphia, Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant and Dock Street Brewery.

Nodding Head took Silver for George's Fault (specialty beer) and Bronze for George's Funk (sour and barrel-aged beer). Both are collaborations between brewmaster Gordon Grubb and Home Sweet Homebrew's George Hummel (Home Sweet Homebrew is the city's oldest homebrew shop).

Dock Street took a Silver for Dock Street/Thiriez Table Saison, a collaboration between head brewer Scott Morrison and French brewer Daniel Thiriez, and a Bronze for Abt 12.

Rock Bottom King of Prussia won the region's fourth Gold for The Hammer (Baltic-style Porter) and Philadelphia's Yards Brewing Co. won its first GABF medal, Bronze for Yards Brewing Co.'s Extra Special Ale (ESA).

Flying Fish Brewing Co, of Cherry Hill won New Jersey's only GABF medal, a Bronze for Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale. In addition to the Iron Hill Wilmington pub, Delaware had Silver for Stewart's Brewing Co's Oyster Stout and a Bronze for Old Dominion Brewing Co's Oktoberfest.

Pennsylvania finished fourth among the states in total medals with 17, including four by Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh (Gold, Silver and two Bronze, earning it Large Brewpub of the Year with Steve Sloan as Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year) and a Bronze for Full Pint Brewing Co. in North Versailles.--JACK CURTIN

October 14, 2012 - GABF 2012 Was Largest Ever in Entries and Attendance
Paced by 12 medals from breweries in the Philadelphia region (see previous story), Pennsylvania brought home 17 medals from yesterday's Great American Beer Festival in Denver, finishing fourth among the states behind California (49), Colorado (35) and Oregon. The East Coast did not have a strong showing overall in 2012, with only New York (4), Massachusetts and Delaware (3 each), New Jersey and Washington DC (1 each) also claiming wins.

There were 254 medals awarded overall 84 beer categories covering 134 different beer styles. Winners were chosen from 4,338 competition entries from 666 breweries, hailing from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Guam. It was the largest field of entries to date. The most popular categories were American-Style India Pale Ale (203 entries), Imperial India Pale Ale (128 entries), Herb and Spice Beer (114 entries), American-Style Strong Pale Ale (111 entries) and American-Style Pale Ale (109 entries).

GABF is conducted by the Brewers Association and is the largest commercial beer competition in the world.--JACK CURTIN

October 13, 2012 - BREAKING: Troegs Comes Up Big at GABF
There will be a complete GABF roundup here tomorrow, but the big news is Troegs. Iron Hill (4) and Nodding Head (2) also won multiple medals and both Yards Brewing and the new incarnation of Dock Street Brewing in Philadelphia earned their first ever GABF medals.

Other local winners: Flying Fish, Stewart's and Rock Bottom KOP (the region's fourth Gold). Pennsylvania garnered 16 medals in all as well as Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year and Large Brewpub of the Year (Church Works in Pittsburgh) honors.--JACK CURTIN

October 04, 2012 - Brews Coming Soon to a Farmers Market Near You?
The story, as reported in today's Pottstown Mercury:
HARRISBURG - Proposed legislation that would allow craft breweries to sell beer at Pennsylvania farmers' markets and food festivals passed the state House by a majority vote of 175 to 20 on Tuesday.

State Rep. Dante Santoni Jr., D-126th Dist., introduced the bill, House Bill 2429, on June 4. He is the Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee.

The bill moves on to the state Senate for consideration.

Further information from the Main Line Times:
[W]ith appropriate permits, craft breweries would be able to offer tasting and sales of their products for off-premises consumption. The permits would be similar to what’s now offered to wineries: $30 per day for each day of permitted use, not to exceed 30 days, Santoni said. The total number of days for all special permits could not exceed 100 days in a calendar year.

The special permits would be available only to those craft breweries that annually produce less than 25,000 barrels of beer.

This could make Saturday morning shopping one of the high spots of the weekend.--JACK CURTIN
October 02, 2012 - Great American Beer Festival Set for Denver, Oct. 11-13
The Great American Beer Festival 2012 will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver Oct. 11 -13. A total of 110 breweries will be pouring on the convention floor, a 23% increase over 2011. In addition to the public tasting, conducted in four sessions (Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening), the results of the private judging of submitted beers which is conducted earlier in the week will be announced during the Saturday afternoon session as the highly sought after GABF medals are awarded, Gold, Silver and Bronze in 84 categories 84 categories covering 135 beer styles.

A new addition in 2012 is a Brewpub Pavilion in the central area of the festival hall in which approximately 24 breweries representing all regions of the country will showcase their wares. "Brewpubs are worthy of celebration as they make up about half of U.S. breweries, numbering well more than 1,000 across the country," according to the Brewers Association, which runs the GABF.

All 49,000 tickets to the three-day event were sold out in 45 minutes after the public sale began at 10am on August 2. That shattered the previous record-a week-set last year.--JACK CURTIN

September 14, 2012 - Yuengling Provides Free Beer for Philly-wide Lager Toast on Sept. 28
America’s oldest and largest American-owned brewery, Yuengling Brewing Co. of Pottsville, sill celebrate those distinctions on Friday, Sept. 28 in Philadelphia. Sept. 28 is National Drink Beer Day and, according to press release, "Yuengling wants to thank the city that has played the most significant role in supporting the brewery, generation after generation, with a free lager and a sincere thank-you. At precisely 6:30pm, Philadelphians 21 and older are invited to one of more than 250 bars, both in the city and the suburbs, to receive a free bottle of lager and a personal `thank-you' from 5th-generation brewery President and owner Dick Yuengling.

In partnership with distributor Origlio Beverage, Yuengling will supply more than 10,000 bottles of free beer to those bars across the five-county Greater Philadelphia region. One of Dick Yuengling’s daughters, Jennifer Yuengling, the brewery’s shipping manager, will make a special appearance at Chickie’s & Pete’s on Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia to join in the celebration. Philadelphians are encouraged to tune their TVs to Comcast SportsNet at 6:30 to watch a special toast to Philly from Dick Yuengling, directly from the historic Pottsville brewery, and join in the citywide toast. There is no cost or cover to get in. Free Lagers will be distributed as supplies last.

Yuengling credits some family traditions to the company’s success story. "At the end of the day, what matters most is my family’s aggressive commitment to producing an original quality product that people love. Our distribution network is strong, and it’s our dedicated team of employees, our family values, and, of course, loyal Lager drinkers, that have led to that growing network."

A list of participation locations is available on the brewery website.--JACK CURTIN

September 06, 2012 - Northern Brewer Homebrew Supply Releases White House Beer Kits
Northern Brewer Homebrew Supply has released kits containing all the ingredients needed to make White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter less than a week after the White House made the recipes public.

For the first time in history, homebrew is coming directly from the White House itself," says a company statement. "Like all great homebrew recipes, this one is adapted from a fairly standard recipe, then tweaked with special ingredients for greater consensus – in this case, the White House used honey sourced locally, from the First Lady’s bee hive on the South Lawn. While our honey comes from non-partisan sources, Northern Brewer’s exclusive White House Homebrew recipe kits make it possible to brew just like they do at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue...without leaving the comfort of your own home."

While the White House recipes use extracts and so do the Northern Brewer kits, Michael Dawson, a senior product developer at Northern Brewer. Since the White House brews were both extract recipes, as are the Northern Brewer kits, there are reports that the company is creating all-grain versions for sale to more serious homebrewers.--JACK CURTIN

September 04, 2012 - White House Beer Recipes [UPDATED]
The White House has released their beer recipes. You can check them out and watch a video of the beer being brewed here.

[ORIGINAL STORY 8/22/2012]
Fox News, of all places, is reporting that Americans want the White House to release...

Not tax returns....

Not birth certificates....

Not academic reports.

No, what they are demanding are the recipes for the famous White House homebrews.

From the story:

The White House has made no secret that it churns out brews that include Honey Porter and Honey Blonde Ale, made with the honey from Michelle Obama's White House garden and equipment the Obamas bought with their own money. But ever since President Obama last week admitted he was traveling with a stash of White House-brewed beer on his campaign bus, beer enthusiasts want to know how it's made.

Individuals calling themselves “homebrewers across America" filed a petition on the White House website demanding that the Obama administration cough up the recipe for the special suds.

“In keeping with the brewing traditions of the founding fathers, homebrewers across America call on the Obama Administration to release the recipe for the White House home brew so that it may be enjoyed by all,” the petition reads.

One user on the social media website Reddit took the more formal move of submitting a Freedom Of Information Act request for the White House brews.

“Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest,” read the request.

You can read the entire report here.--JACK CURTIN
August 27, 2012 - Historic Breweriana Collection To Be Auctioned in September
One of the most remarkable single-owner collections of breweriana and beer cans ever will be auctioned off by Morphy Auctions in Denver, Penna. on Sept. 21-22.

The Adolf Grenke collection, which was created over more than four decades, contains approximately 4,000-pieces including 400 beer taps and about 500 antique and vintage beer cans, many of which are exceedingly rare. "A few key examples are expected to exceed $50,000 each," Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy told Liveauctioneers.com. Among other high ticket items are rare Apache Export can from Arizona, "a very desirable low-profile cone-top can with Native American imagery," one of only five or six known to still exist, expected to go for $25,000-$35,000 at auction.

The Grenke collection also includes 19th and early 20th-century atwork and signs, including an Anheuser-Busch Bock Beer elves lithograph, estimated to sell at $25,000-$45,000. amd a corner sign from Buffalo's Iroquois Brewery estimated at $20,000-$40,000. "The last one that appeared at auction was made of composition and sold for $55,000. This sign, which is made of porcelain, is expected to fly," said Morphy.

A liveauction.com reports notes that "a special attraction within the antique advertising section is the 40+ illuminating reverse-on-glass, porcelain-enameled signs made by Gillco, Philadelphia. Gillco signs are coveted by breweriana collectors because of their outstanding quality and the fact that manufacturing runs were so low--sometimes limited to only 10 to 25 signs per design."

Auction sessions at Morphy Auctions on both days will begin at 9am. Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.--JACK CURTIN

August 22, 2012 - Beer Yard, Tröegs Brewing and Teresa's Next Door Team Up To Support SPCA
Once again, The Beer Yard, Tröegs Brewing and Teresa's Next Door are offering their customers and fans a chance to enjoy great beer and food at a Saturday afternoon celebration benefiting the local SPCA, held in the Beer Yard parking lot. The event runs from 1-4PM on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Attendees will enjoy a wide variety of Tröegs beers a tasty treats from the grill set up by Teresa's Next Door. A free logo-ed pint glass (while they last) will accompany every case of Tröegs sold and $5 from every case sold throughout the entire weekend will go to the Delco SPCA. That same deal applies to every check at TND for the weekend on which a customer writes "SPCA," so it's a party that just keeps on keepin' on right through Labor Day.

You'll be proud to tell your canine companions you attended...in fact, they're invited as well , just so long as they are on leashes). It's going to be a barkin' good time.

August 06, 2012 - Craft Beer Sales up 14% in dollars, 12% in volume for first half of 2012
The Brewers Association has released strong mid-year numbers for America’s small and independent craft brewers1. Dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012, while volume of craft brewed beer sold jumped 12 percent during that same time period.

Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first six months of 2012 are an estimated 6.0 million barrels. Despite a number of challenges, including decreased overall beer sales, the mid-year numbers show signs of continued growth for craft breweries. The industry currently provides an estimated 104,000 full-time and part-time jobs, contributing significantly to the U.S. economy.

“Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today’s small businesses,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Plus it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly.”

The U.S. now boasts 2,126 breweries—an increase of 350 additional breweries since June 2011. The BA also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2,075 as of June 30, 2012 showing that 97 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.

“Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation,” Gatza added. “There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country.”--BA PRESS RELEASE

July 25, 2012 - Weyerbacher's Last Chance IPA Supports Animal Rescue
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.s' new Last Chance IPA (which replaced Hops Infusion on the schedule when it was released in May), has contributed almost $5,000 to animal rescue organizations in its first two months on the market.

Weyerbacher contributes a portion of monthly sales income, based on wholesale receipts, to a different group or organization each month. The brewery awarded $1,224.50 to The Center for Animal Health & Welfare, Easton for May sales and sent $2,593.00 to MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue in Boyertown for June. Those results were based on draft sales only; bottles were released in July.

"At the end of each month we tabulate and issue a check the first week of the new month based on the previous months sales," says brewery founder Dan Weirback. "We've received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from consumers, account and wholesalers on this beer with a great mission. We're very happy to be giving back to the community that so enthusiastically supports us."

Last Chance is a 5.9% West Coast-style IPA brewed with a combination of Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and Columbus hops. Its name reflects their commitment of the management and employees of the brewery to help small, regional animal rescue organizations give rescued dogs, cats and other pets one last chance to find a new home. Employees have a say in where each month's donation goes.--JACK CURTIN

July 19, 2012 - Homebrewers National Conference Comes to Philly in June 2013
The American Homebrewers Association will hold its National Homebrewers Conference in Philadelphia June 27-29 next year. The event is an educational gathering designed to enhance homebrewers’ brewing skills and knowledge and celebrate homebrewing camaraderie. Special seminars and events are offered to cater to beer enthusiasts and amateur brewers of every level.

Opening night will be a special Pro-Brewers Night, according an AHA press release, during which conference attendees a private beer festival along with professional brewers from across the country.

The AHA us a division of the Brewers Association dedicated to promoting the hobby of homebrewing which has an estimated 750,000 enthusiasts.--JACK CURTIN

July 17, 2012 - Shipyard Brewing Adds Cans
Maine's Shipyard Brewing Co., the 16th largest craft brewery in the country, has released its flagship Shipyard Export Ale in 12oz cans this month and will also can its popular fall seasonal, Pumkinhead.

The decision to can was made primarily to meet the needs of the outdoor living styles (boating, golfing, hiking) of New Englanders, said the brewery, adding that the growing demand for pumpkin beers also influenced the second canning.--JACK CURTIN

July 17, 2012 - Dogfish Head, Sly Fox Make Men's Journal "Top 25 Beers" List
Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA (#18) and Sly Fox Pikeland Pils (#23)were the only two Philadelphia regional beers to make Men's Journal's list of the "25 Best Beers in the World" in its current issue. Here it is online.

About 90-Minute, they wrote: "t should be impossible for a beer that's been hopped for 90 solid minutes (an average IPA gets 60) to be delicious; in fact, each sip should be like snorting aspirin. This, however, is brewmaster Sam Calagione's specialty, and this confoundingly pleasant "extreme" beer is the purest expression of his skill."

On Sly Fix Pikeland: "A canned beer should be one that you want to string along beside the canoe and then crack open on a 95-degree day – which is why the aluminum-sheathed Sly Fox pilsner, a refreshing yet substantial straw-colored, artisanal-quality beer, gets our vote for the best damned can in the land."

The list was compiled based on interviews with "craft-brew luminaries" according to the story.--JACK CURTIN

July 12, 2012 - Second Time Is the Charm for Sly Fox Tastin' Room
The Tastin’ Room at the Sly Fox Brewery in Pottstown opened to the public on Thursday, July 12, at 11:30am.. The brewery is located at 331 Circle of Progress Drive at the Pottstown Airport.

The new pub is open Wednesday through Sunday at 11:30am every week , closing at 8pm on Sunday, 9pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 10pm Friday and Saturday.

There are 30 taps (not all active all the time), seating for 100 at the bar and long communal tables, plus a small patio our front. It's a self service menu featuring pizzas, BBQ pork sandwiches, roast chicken, sliders and a salad plate..--JACK CURTIN

June 26, 2012 - Green Flash Also Coming East
It's definitely a pattern at this point, not merely a trend.

San Diego's Green Flash Brewing Co. told the Craft Business Daily online newsletter today that they intend to build a 100,000-barrel brewery on the East Coast, to open January 2015.

Company founder Mike Hinkley told CBD that the brewery expects to max out its current capacity in San Diego by that date and that Green Flash currently sells 40% of its beer in the East. He said the new plant will as identical as they can make to their existing one and that they are currently considering "three coastal cities" for the site.--JACK CURTIN

June 19, 2012 - Boston Beer Enters Craft Spirits Market
Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Inc. and Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams ,officially announced a multi-year collaborative project project to distill two world-class craft beers into a pair of never-before-tasted spirits tis week.

Flagship Samuel Adams Boston Lager and smoky, complex Samuel Adams Cinder Bock will both be triple-distilled at BMD’s distillery in Great Barrington, Mass., then barrel-aged in wood.

Noting that the aging of whiskey is a very complex and multi-faceted process which makes precise dating difficult, BMD said that that the two whiskies should be ready for release by 2015. It will be a limited edition offering of only 1,000 barrels.

The new creations will feature the Samuel Adams brand name on the label will retail above the $40 range.--JACK CURTIN

June 19, 2012 - Six Local Chefs Will Compete in Brewery Ommegang's Philly Hop Chef Competition on July 10
Six of Philadelphia’s most talented young chefs will compete in Brewery Ommegang’s Philly Hop Chef for a chance to represent the city in a cook-off at the brewery’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown event in a competition to be held at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on July 10.

The competing chefs--Joe Cicala of Le Virtù, Jon Cichon of LaCroix at Rittenhouse Hotel. Jason Cichonski of Ela, Nicholas Elmi of Rittenhouse Tavern, George Sabatino of Stateside and Scott Schroeder of South Philadelphia Tap Room and American Sardine Bar--will each create two dishes showcasing their beer and food pairing skills. The 12 dishes, all paired with Ommegang beers, will be served to a panel of judges and to all attendees (tickets here).

The chefs will be judged based on five pairing principles: Simple Pairing, a direct interaction between food and beer; Incorporation, utilizing beer in the cooking process; Mimicking, matching the flavor profile of a dish with the flavor profile of a beer; Story Telling, tracing the history of the dish and the beer, and Experimental, making beer the star of the dish.

The Hop Chef Competition is part of the Ommegang program known as Great Beer Deserves Great Food®, a national initiative dedicated to the idea that fine beer deserves its rightful place at the table with fine foods. The Philadelphia event is the final in a series of chef’s cook-offs across the U.S., culminating in a Grand Hop Chef cook-off at Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival on August 4, 2012.--JACK CURTIN

June 15, 2012 - Terry Hawbaker Leaves The Farmer's Cabinet.
Terry Hawbaker is leaving The Farmer’s Cabinet in Philadelphia and going to Al’s of Hampden in Harrisburg as of August according to a report from Lew Bryson on the internet this afternoon.

Hawbaker is the third Philadelphia brewer whose move to a new job became public this week. Earlier, it was announced that Mike Fava, assistant brewer to Gordon Grubb at Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant, is heading north to work at Oxbow Brewing in Newcastle, Maine. And, as of this past Monday,Jon Defibaugh, formerly at Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy left to become part of Tired Hands in Ardmore.

Other local changes have apparently also occurred recently but none of these have so far been announce and confirmed.--JACK CURTIN

May 23, 2012 - Beer Yard Named Best Suburban Beer Distributor in Annual Philly Beer Scene Voting
The Beer Yard was named the Best Beer Distributor in the suburbs for the third straight year at the Philly Beer Scene Awards celebration at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live last night.

Weyerbacher Brewing Co.'s Chris Wilson won the big prize of the night, Best Area Brewmaster, while Victory Brewing Co. was named Best Area Brewery.

Weyerbacher's Mike Lubieski was chosen as Brewery Rep of the Year and the Easton brewery also had the Best Barrel-aged beer (Insanity) and Best Belgian-style Beer (Merry Monk's Ale). Victory added wins for Best Stout/Porter (Storm King) and Best Lager (Prima Pils) to its total. Tröegs Brewing Co. won the most awards of the night: Best Seasonal and Beer Most Searched For Online (Nugget Nectar), Best Wheat Beer (Dreamweaver) and Best Label Art.

The Sly Fox Bock Fest and Goat Race was selected as the Best Beer Event, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant Group the Best Brewpub and Lew Bryson the Best Beer Writer.

The winners are selected by online voting at the Philly Beer Scene website. A complete list of all of them is available here.--JACK CURTIN

May 23, 2012 - Iron Hill To Open in Voorhees, NJ, Next Winter
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will open its tenth location, and second in New Jersey, Voorhees Town Center in late 2012 or early 2013. The first Garden State location for the award-winning company opened in Maple Shade in 2009.

"We were looking for a place with a vibrant community where we could become a part of a great neighborhood, and Voorhees Town Center is exactly that," says Iron Hill founding partner Kevin Finn, who along with co-owners Kevin Davies and Mark Edelson, have continuously sought out thriving locations for their award-winning concept. All three partners are New Jersey natives.

Iron Hill was named the Small Brewpub of the Year at the Craft Brewers Conference earlier this year.--JACK CURTIN

May 22, 2012 - Victory Brewing Expands Headwaters Grant
Victory Brewing Company announced this their Headwaters Grant to the Guardians of the Brandywine,launched in 2011 following the release of Headwaters Pale Ale to support the groups working hard to protect vital water sources, would b extended for an additional year and that grant funding has been increased award a second grant to the Brandywine Valley Association.

The Guardians of the Brandywine used their initial grant to initiate multiple education programs encouraging individuals to take ownership of clean water issues. The Brandywine Valley Association plans to use their grant to restore Little Buck Run, a stream in Parkesburg near Victory’s recently announced expansion site.

The new awards fulfill a promise the brewery made in 2011 that, as the popularity of the Headwaters Pale Ale increased, so would the size and reach of the grants awarded each year. "When we made the decision to expand our brewing operations to a second location, water quality was of utmost importance to us," said Victory president and co-founder Bill Covaleski. "The pure water available at both locations contributes so much to the character of Victory beers. It is an obvious time for us to increase our funding to give back to the natural resources which so generously provide to us."--JACK CURTIN

May 08, 2012 - Iron Hill Media Wins 2012 World Beer Cup Small Brewpub & Brewmaster Honors [UPDATED 5/8/2012]
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Media and head brewer Bob Barrar were named the World Beer Cup Champion Small Brewpub and Brewmaster at the 2012 World Beer Cup ceremonies which closed out the Craft Beer Conference in San Diego last night after winning Gold Medals in the British-Style Imperial Stout category for Russian Imperial Stout and in the Old Ale category for Old Ale.

Iron Hill's Newark, Del. location, the original pub in the group, won a Bronze for Grodzinski in the Smoke Beer Category; Justin Sproul is head brewer there.

Three other regional breweries won Bronze Medals: Hershey's Troegs Brewery and brewmaster John Trogner for Troegenator in the Traditional German-Style Bock category; Philadelphia's Dock Street Brewery and head brewer Scott Morrison for Prisoner of Hell in the Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale category; [UPDATE] Dogfish Head Red and White won a Bronze Medal in the Experimental Beer Category.

A Silver Medal for Pabst Brewing Co. in the American-Style Cream Ale or Lager category is credited to Allentown in the official awards list but that is presumably an error since that plant is now owned by Boston Beer Co.--JACK CURTIN

May 06, 2012 - And the Maibock Shall Be Called Peggy. Again.
Peggy, the three-legged goat who became a local beer celebrity last June when she nipped two-time champion Dax at the finish line to win the annual Sly Fox Bock Festival Goat Race , repeated as the winner this afternoon in a photo finish before the largest crowd ever to attend the 14-year old event.

The 2012 Maibock will be named in her honor and her owner received a $75 Sly Fox gift card.--JACK CURTIN

May 01, 2012 - Victory Brewing Company Launches "Find Your Summer Love" Sweepstakes
As Victory Brewing Co.'s popular Summer Love Ale hits shelves across the country this month, consumers see signage that reads, "Find Your Summer Love." By simply scanning a QR code found on various posters, coasters and across the web, Victory drinkers and the general public will be entered to win summery items from the brewery.

"Victory Brewing Company has always looked for ways to give back to beer enthusiasts," said company spokesperson Karen Noonan, "and through this contest we can do just that, while simultaneously advertising Summer Love Ale.?

More than 500 winners will be randomly selected over the course of the summer. Prizes will include summer-themed gear like Frisbees, lip balm, beach balls and more. Victory will select multiple winners every month from May through August and notify them via email, phone or USPS. All winners will be notified no later than September 14, 2012.

In order to comply with various state regulations, this contest will be voided where prohibited. Anyone may scan the code and complete the information required to enter. No purchase necessary. Alternative methods for entering include, visiting here or sending a note card with name, birthday and mailing address to Victory Brewing Company, ATTN: Find Your Summer Love, 420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, PA 19335.--JACK CURTIN

May 01, 2012 - Weyerbacher Will Release Last Chance IPA, Benefiting Animal Rescue
Last Chance IPA, so-named because a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle or keg will be donated to an animal rescue organization, will be the new kid on the block in Weyerbacher Brewing Co.'s beer portfolio.

The new beer is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and Columbus hops and comes in at 5.9% abv.The date of its release has not yet been announced.

Last Chance is the result of Weyerbacher's IPA Project, a series of six new hoppy beer recipes released over the summer of 2011. They were available draft-only at selected restaurants and bars and a the release of each included a public voting component. "We decided that the west coast-style IPA we called `Crimson' was the best of the new brews as it delighted even the most faithful of Hops Infusion fans," said a brewery spokesperson.

The beer's name and the donation for each sale are "a nod to something held very close to the hearts of many of the employees at Weyerbacher Brewing Company: Animal Rescue," according to a company press release. Individual brewery employees will select a rescue organization for each month.--JACK CURTIN

April 28, 2012 - The (Beer) Weeks of Our Lives
American Craft Beer will will be celebrated across the nation from May 14-20 with events in all 50 states. The Brewers Association calls this annual country-wide party "the Mother of All Beer Weeks."

This will be seventh annual ACBW, during which beer lovers come together to show appreciation on a local level for the more than 1,900 small and independent craft brewers responsible for the steadily advancing American craft beer culture. "This year’s celebrations will once again provide an opportunity for small brewers, enthusiasts and the community of better beer retailers to celebrate this growth and the progressively popular craft beer culture in the US. The thousands of scheduled events nationwide underscore the grassroots nature of the craft beer movement."

Less than two weeks after the final ACBW event, Delaware Valley residents will begin celebrating their own local beer culture as the fifth annual Philly Beer Week kicks off on June 1. Since this was the first Beer Week, the one that inspired similar 10-day "weeks" of beer worship across the nation, Philadelphians might be excused if they call it "the Father of All Beer Weeks."

The official opening, as always, will be Opening Tap, held at the Independence Visitor Center. This signature event sells out ever year and this year has been expanded to include a special one-hour VIP session starting at 6:30pm; the doors open to the public at 7pm. The seminal moment will come when Mayor Michael Nutter once again slings the Hammer of Glory (HOG) to tap the first keg of Brotherly Love, the annual collaborative beer for PBW. The journey of the HOG all across the local beer landscape during the afternoon to be delivered to the Visitor Center has itself become one of PBW's most popular events.

"Philly Beer Week has developed a well-deserved national buzz. It has one of the most respected celebrations anywhere, spotlighting our brewers, great bars and restaurants throughout the region," said Mayor Nutter.

Opening Tap attendees will also have the first taste of Dupont Speciale Belge, a Belgian ale brewed at Brasserie Dupont in Belgium by master brewer Olivier Dedeycker and Iron Hill Maple Shade head brewer Chris LaPierre exclusively for PBW 2012. The collaborative beer is a first for 167-year-old Brasserie Dupont and was organized by its American importer, Vanberg & DeWulf.--JACK CURTIN

April 17, 2012 - Dogfish Head and Victory Listed Among Nation's Top Craft Breweries
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, Del. is #12 on the Brewers Association's just-released list of the nation's Top 50 Craft Breweries and Victory Brewing Co. of Downingtown, Penna., comes in at #27. The list is based on 2011 sales volume. In the overall listing of American breweries, Dogfish Head was #19 and Victory was #39. Thirty-six of the companies on that broader list are considered craft brewers.

"In the last 15 years, craft brewing has gone from one percent of the overall beer market to almost six percent in 2011,” said Paul Gatza, director of the BA. “We attribute a large part of that growth to the many talented brewers who are providing beer lovers with more beer style and flavor choices than ever before.”

The top five in the craft rankings were Boston Beer Co., Boston, Mass.; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif.; New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo.; The Gambrinus Company, San Antonio, Tex. and Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.

April 10, 2012 - American Craft Beer Exports Increased by 86 Percent in 2011
Based on results from a recently-completed industry survey, the Brewers Association today reported record exports of American craft beer in 2011. American craft breweries exported over 110,000 barrels of beer in 2011, valued at an estimated $23.4 million—a dramatic increase of 86 percent by volume and 97 percent by dollars over 2010 exports. Export statistics have been compiled by BA for nine years and each year a new record has been set.

Canada is the industry's largest export market, with shipments increasing 127 percent by volume (up to 27,976 barrels) in 2011, largely as a result of increased demand in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. The United Kingdom and Sweden are second and third; exports to both countries totaled approximately 13,065 barrels. Regionally, Western Europe is the largest destination for American craft beer exports with shipments increasing 52 percent in 2011 for a total of more than 51,613 barrels.

Total American craft beer exports are up by approximately 500 percent since the BA Export Development Program was initiated in 2004 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture Market Access Program.--JACK CURTIN

March 30, 2012 - Weyerbacher's Merry Monk's Ale, Victory Brewing, Monk's Cafe Are Philly's Drinker's Choice Winners
Weyerbacher Brewing Company's Merry Monk['s Ale., a Belgian style Tripel, was named Philadelphia's Best Beer in the 2012 Drinker's Choice Awards voting. Victory Brewing Co.'s Headwaters Pale Ale took second place and Flying Fish Brewing Co.'s Exit 4 was third.

Victory Brewing was selected as the top brewpub, with Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant second and the Yards Brewing Co.' s Tasting Room third.

Monk's Cafe was voted the Best Beer Bar, with The Farmers' Cabinet second and Khyber Pass Pub third.

The voting was conducted by the Drink Philly website.--JACK CURTIN

March 26, 2012 - Craft Brewers Grew by 13% in Volume, 15% in Sales in 2011
Boulder, CO • March 26, 2012 —The Brewers Association (BA), the trade association representing small and independent brewers, today released 2011 data on U.S. craft brewing1. Craft brewers saw volume2 rise 13 percent, with a 15 percent increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, representing a total barrel increase of 1.3 million.

In 2011, craft brewers represented 5.68 percent of volume of the U.S. beer market, up from 4.97 in 2010, with production reaching 11,468,152 barrels. Additionally, the BA estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2011 was $8.7 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2010. Increased retails sales represented 9.1 percent of the $95.5 billion dollar U.S. beer market.

"While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 percent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five percent total market volume share for the first time," said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. "It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers."

With 250 brewery openings and only 37 closings, the BA also reported that 1,989 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 2011—an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Small brewers employed approximately 103,585 workers in the U.S in 2011.

"We saw rapid growth in brewery openings last year, particularly with microbrewery start-ups, and these numbers are poised to rise even more in 2012," added Gatza. "In February 2012, we already topped 2,000 operating breweries—a truly remarkable milestone. We look forward to even more success and the continued expansion of the craft beer market."--JACK CURTIN

March 20, 2012 - Victory Brewing To Expand to Parkesburg in 2013 [UPDATED]
Victory Brewing Company will open a second brewery in Parkesburg, Penna. ( target date summer 2013) because the original brewery in Downingtown will reach its capacity this year. The new brewery location was chosen because of its similarities to the current site, according to a company press release.

The Downingtown location is situated a mere 14 miles from the headwaters of the east branch of the Brandywine Creek and the Parkesburg brewery will be just 17 miles from the headwaters of the west branch. Environmental impact and water quality were major considerations for this expansion, according to the release, which noted that "nearly eight months of water-quality research found that the mineral composition of the west branch water is nearly identical to the east branch."

"Growing into a new facility will have some growing pains," according to a statement from Ron Barchet, Victory's CEO and co-founder, "but once we are up and running, it will allow us endless opportunities to experiment with new flavors and re-create old favorites."

More details to come.--JACK CURTIN

UPDATE: The food, drink & gossip website FooBooz reported this afternoon that "Ultimately, most of the flagship brewing will be moved to the Parkesburg facility and the Downingtown brewery will specialize in limited-edition and experimental beers."

March 07, 2012 - Stoudt's To Celebrate 25th Anniversary
Stoudt's Brewing Co.,the first brewpub in Pennsylvania when it opened back in 1987, will celebrate its 20th Anniversary in May with a party in its Adamstown Beer Garden on May 11. It will be a non-profit event supporting the local library and will also showcase two special anniversary beers being released as a part of the anniversary celebration.

Amber 25 is a light bodied, refreshing beer brewed with a small amount of caramel malt to give it a nice amber color with a hint of sweetness. 5025 s a full bodied and tart brew started with the brewery's Quad recipe and aged in red wine barrels for 17 months. The barrel-aging is a first for Stoudt's.--JACK CURTIN

March 03, 2012 - Two Rivers Brewery and Pub Will Open in Easton This Summer
Easton appears to be where the craft brewing action is these days. In addition to the $1.1 million expansion announced by Weyerbacher Brewing Co. last Monday, news broke in the Morning Call yesterday that Two Rivers Brewing Co. will covert a long-vacant building adjacent to the original Weyerbacher site on Northampton St. into a brewery and brewpub which hopes to be open by July. Work has been going on at the site since last summer.

Principals in the endeavor are Troy Reynard, owner the Cosmic Cup coffehouse in the city, his wife Kathy and partners Brad and Judy Nelson, operating at Vagabond Properties. The building is an historic landmark which hs been a boarding house, hotel, bar and restaurant and perhaps even a brothel.

Ironically, part of their funding is a $450,000 grant from the Easton Redevelopment Authority which was originally intended for the ill-fated Victory Square project which would have included a brewpub operated by Downingtown's Victory Brewing Co.

Renard told Morning Call write JD Malone that Two Rivers' flagship beers would be Pine Street Blonde, Banker's Brown Ale and Guetter Island Pale Ale. "The beer has been featured at several viral happy hours around Easton, and at a fundraiser for the Main Street Initiative last week," Malone reported.--JACK CURTIN

February 27, 2012 - Weyerbacher 7500 Sq. Ft. Addition Scheduled To Complete is September; Tasting Room Planned For Early 2013
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. will add a 7500 sq. ft. addition to its Easton brewery, a $1.1 Million expansion which is expected to be completed next September. A pub will be added in January 2013 according to current plans.

"This will triple our capacity to 30,000 barrels," Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard in an exclusive interview this morning. "We have to make this move to keep up with demand. We grew by 34% in 2011 in both barrelage and dollars, amounting to $3.6 million in sales. And in the first two months of 2012 sales are up 51%."

Fermentation, bottling and kegging operations will be moved into the new space. Four 80-barrel fermenters are already on order and should arrive in late March. "We will have to cram them into the existing area to start," Weirback said, "because we need that capacity online as soon as we can get it, the long-range plan is to phase out all the existing 20 and 40 barrel tanks and replace them with more 80-barrel ones. That's how we will get to 30,000 barrels."

Weyerbacher has steadily been adding to the three vessel, 25-barrel brewhouse it bought from Victory Brewing Co. They added a 40-barrel batch kettle with an internal calandria a few years back, upgraded to a 45-barrel whirlpool two years ago and will be purchasing a new mash tun and lauter tuns to handle the 40-barrel batches in the next year or two.

The proposed pub will be built in the current part of the building once all the fermenters have been relocated into the new space. "It will be more of a tasting room that a true pub," Weirback said. "It won't be a restaurant but there will be one snack item of some sort to comply with the law. It will probably only be open from 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday. We don't want to take business away from the restaurants in the ares which have supported us by putting our beers on draft."

A significant part of Weyerbacher's growth has come in its home market, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, "but we have about five states in which we are seeing dynamic growth of 20-30%. The good news is that we don't have some increase we must meet to make this expansion feasible. Our 2011 sales already reached a level of profitability to cover the rent on the space."--JACK CURTIN

February 22, 2012 - Victory's "Brewer for a Day" Raffle Raises Funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Matt Krueger, General Manager for Victory Brewing Company's restaurant, Matt Krueger, is campaigning to be named Man of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Inspired by Victory’s Berry Woodrow McLaughlin’s campaign last year, Matt decided to join her mission to raise funds and defeat blood cancer.

Last year, Matt supported Berry’s campaign and watched as she put her heart and soul into raising more than $60,000 for LLS. Even after observing the time and dedication required of the campaign and has now taken up the task himself, setting a goal of raising $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "This is not just about raising money and securing an impressive title," says Matt. "This is about saving lives and making a difference right now."

Victory Brewing Company has joined his mission by signing on as the Presenting Sponsor of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2012 Man & Woman of the Year, says brewery co-Founder and President, Bill Covaleski. "The energy required to run our busy restaurant makes Matt the perfect candidate for this campaign. We admire his desire to help beat this disease and we embrace the opportunity to support his mission."

Victory has set up a raffle to help raise funds. The winner gets to be "A Brewer for a Day," taking part in the creation of a beer with the Victory brewing team. All the details can be found here.--JACK CURTIN

February 22, 2012 - Sly Fox Will Sponsor May 26 ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia
Sly Fox Brewing Co. of Pottstown is the official beer sponsor of the May 26 ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia. The event, in its third year, had 2,000 participants in 31 states and three countries in 2011 and is described on its website thusly:
[A] serious endurance race, this half marathon is coupled with optional twists and turns throughout the course for runners who want to have a little fun. The race includes costume contests and unique obstacles to make it a race you will never forget."
Sly Fox is asking all runners to help select which Sly Fox beer will be the official post race beer with a free beer tasting at the Endurance Sports Expo in Oaks on February 25-26, 2012. Runners will be able to taste two select Sly Fox beers and vote for which one would be the most refreshing beer to drink after a beautiful 13.1 mile run. The winning beer will be the Official Beer of the ODDyssey Half Marathon.

The ODDyssey Half Marathon is Philadelphia’s spring half marathon. It boasts a USA Track and Field certified course, professional photography, cash prizes and the most sophisticated timing system in the world - allowing runners to cross the finish line and immediately look up their results on touch screen kiosks. You can register and/or get more details about the race or the beer here.--JACK CURTIN

February 06, 2012 - Bavarian Barbarian Brewery closes
Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Co. in Williamsport is closing after four years. Founder Mike Hiller announced the shut down on the brewery website late last week.
"I am profoundly sad to report that Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Company is closing. We have worked extremely hard for the last four years to make the Barbarian a thriving, dynamic brewery and we owe whatever success we've enjoyed to our friends, family, bar and restaurant friends, wholesale partners and all you Barbarians out there.

"My wife, Kira, and I want to thank you all for the support, encouragement and enthusiasm that you've shown us. We both regret that we will not be able to spend time with you in our tasting room, see you at the festivals and share our beers with you. Indeed, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of our Barbarian experience has been meeting and building friendships with so many awesome people. We put a lot of love into our beers and our business and we're grateful for the love we got in return.

"While our enterprise is ending in disappointment, I am still very proud of what we've been able to accomplish. From the thrill of seeing our beer being poured for the first time in a bar four years ago to the delivery of pallet-loads of beer to our wholesalers just weeks ago, I am happy to report that in between we've seen many more ups than downs.

"We take great pride in being successful in the one thing that was most important to us: that you all enjoyed our beer in good times and with good friends. We're happy we could be a part of your lives, if even for just a short time."

"Thank you and we wish you all the best!"

January 30, 2012 - Boston Beer Will Expand Lehigh Valley Brewery in 2012
Boston Beer founder Jim Koch says the company is committed to investing millions of dollars to expand its brewery in Breinigsville, Penna. This year to expand its capacity, accord to the Allentown Daily Call.

Koch told reporter Tyron Richardson last Thursday that the plant is “central to the success of our company and we are committed to that brewery, We are continuing to invest millions and millions to upgrade it and expand capacity." A spokeswoman added that about $50 million will be invested by the company this year, most of it at Breinigsville.

Boston Beer produces 5,000 barrels a day of Samuel Adams beers at the location, accounting for two-thirds of its total annual production. It has smaller breweries in Boston and Cincinnati.

The makers of Sam Adams acquired the Pennsylvania brewery from Diago PLC in 2008.—JACK CURTIN

January 27, 2012 - Sierra Nevada Will Build East Coast Brewery in North Carolina
Sierra Nevada Brewing announced on Wednesday that its long anticipated East Coast brewery will be built in Mills River, N.C. . The 50-acre site will be at the Ferncliff Industrial Park near the Asheville Regional Airport.

There are currently more than a dozen breweries in and around Asheville, making it one of the hottest regions in the East for craft beer.

The new Sierra Nevada location, a project estimated to cost between $70 and $100 million, is expected to include a restaurant, tasting room and music venue in addition to the brewing and bottling operations.

"We are thrilled to have found an ideal location in western North Carolina for our second brewery," says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada, in a company news release. "The beer culture, water quality and quality of life are excellent. We feel lucky to be a part of this community."

Grossman said that expansion in the East made sense, not only from an economic standpoint by reducing cross-country shipping costs, but also with regard to the company's carbon footprint. Sierra Nevada has earned numerous accolades over the years for its environmental sustainability practices.

New Belgium Brewing Co., which also is looking to build an expansion plant on the East Coast, has likewise been looking in the Asheville area, as well as in the Philadelphia region. A spokesman for the brewery has told reporters at least twice that Asheville and Philadelphia are at the top of their list.--JACK CURTIN

January 27, 2012 - RateBeer.com Just-Released "Best" Lists Include Several Local Names
There are several local aspects the 2012 RateBeer 2012 "Best" awards which were announced today.

The website takes the 3.5 million-plus reviews posted by its members and and tallies them for the results of what it calls "the largest beer competition in the world. [M]ore than 140,000 beers from over 12,000 brewers worldwide were tallied. A particular emphasis was placed on tastings made in the last twelve months. Additionally, brewpubs, bottle shops, restaurants and bars from around the world were awarded prizes."

Three Delaware Valley breweries were listed among the 100 Best Brewers: Weyerbacher Brewing Co. #47, Victory Brewing Co. #49 and Tröegs Brewing Co, #50. Weyerbacher was also #9 among the best breweries to visit in America.

Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA was the only beer from the region among the top 100 in the U.S., coming in at #46. Among specific styles of beer it was #8 in the Double IPA category. Sly Fox Standard Pils (#5) and Victory Prima Pils (#7) were among the top selections in the Pale Lager category, while Troegs Nugget Nectar was #8 in Double IPAs.

Selin's Grove Brewing Co. (#12) And Victory Brewing Co. (#24) were among the top brewpubs. Capone's (#5) and Teresa's Next Door (#19) were on the Best Beer Bars list and the Best Beer Restaurant list included #18 Hawthorne's Cafe, #21 Isaac Newton's, #28 TJ's Restaurant and Drinkery, #29 Iron Abbey and #34 Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny.

Industry professionals generally advise that results garnered from beer rating websites should be evaluated by the proverbial "grain of salt" standard.--JACK CURTIN

January 15, 2012 - Yuengling is #1
D.G. Yuengling and Son is now the largest American-owned brewery.

The Pottsville, Penna. family-owned brewery which is the oldest in the nation passed Boston Beer Co., makers of Samuel Adams, in 2011 sales.

Yuengling was up 70% i in the month of December, leading Harry Schuhmacher, publisher of the respected industry newsletter, Beer Business Daily, to write "I've never, in my entire 20 year beer industry career, seen a brand gain so much volume in such a short amount of time. It truly is something to behold."

Dick Yuengling, the company's fifth-generation owner, told a newspaper reporter that "it just floors me that so much of our beer industry is owned by foreign concerns, We were not in any race to be the largest domestically owned brewer, but it's a tremendous honor for us."

Everything changed in 2008 after Anheuser-Busch when Belgium's InBev bought it for $52 billion to create Anheuser-Busch InBev. Coors and Miller were already in the hands of Miller Coors, whose ownership interests are located in London and Canada. Yuengling and Boston Beer were neck-and-neck in the race for top American-owned brewer until Yuengling entered Ohio.

Pennsylvania's can take particular pride in all this. Yuengling is, of course, headquartered in the state and one of Boston Beer's largest plants is located in Breinigsville.

For a period during 2011, it appeared that the third-largest American brewer, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., might build its planned East Coast brewery in the state as well, but that appears to be unlikely at this point.--JACK CURTIN

January 09, 2012 - Kona, Goose Island Coming To Market
The local beer scene just keeps expanding. Beers from Hawaii's Kona Brewing Co. will be introduced into the Philadelphia market before the end of this month in both bottles and draft. "Interest in Kona has been growing for a long time among East Coast craft beer drinkers," says Kona chief Mattson Davis. "Now we’ll be able to serve these and surrounding markets our craft beers from the northernmost tip of the eastern seaboard in Maine to the Florida Keys." Kona began brewing and packaging beer in February 1995 and production has increased every year by a total of 585 percent. Also, beers from Chicago's Goose Island Brewery, which was acquire by Anheuser-Busch/InBev last spring, are scheduled to come into the the local market in draft this March and bottles by late May.--JACK CURTIN
December 15, 2011 - Victory Beer Hall To Be Part of New Philly Sports Complex Entertainment Facility
The biggest news for lovers of good craft beers in today's announcement that XFINITY Live!, a massive new entertainment facility which will open on the former site of the Spectrum in the South Philadelphia sports complex on April 5, 2012, was that one of the centerpieces of the project will be the Victory Beer Hall. From the news release:
In partnership with Philadelphia’s Victory Brewing Company, the Victory Beer Hall will be an unrivaled social experience, featuring elongated, beer hall style tables, a stage for live indoor entertainment, and a 2,000 square-foot patio complete with a fire pit and a unique panoramic view of the Philadelphia skyline. The Victory Beer Hall's signature will be its celebration of craft beer, featuring an eclectic selection of regional Philadelphia brews as well as national brands.
Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider sais that "this magnificent facility, which now includes the NBC Sports Arena with one of the largest and most incredible indoor TV screens in the nation, will provide an unbelievable, state-of-the-art fan experience for our guests. There will be nothing like it anywhere."--JACK CURTIN
December 01, 2011 - Chris LaPierre Will Brew 2012 Philly Beer Week Collaboration Beer in Belgium
Iron Hill Maple Shade head brewer Chris “Lappy” LaPierre is the local brewer who will go to Belgium to brew a special collaborative beer to be released during Philly Beer Week 2012.

LaPierre was named on the winning raffle tick drawn at City Tap House last night submitted by Vince Masciandaro of Marlton, NJ, a member o South Jersey’s largest homebrew club, Barley Legal. Over 1,000 ballots were cast. in the raffle which supports PBW.

The prize is an-all expense paid trip to Belgium to brew with Olivier Dedeycker of Brasserie Dupont. The beer that is created on this trip will be bottled and distributed throughout Philadelphia, with a debut in June during PBW.

Earlier this year, in the first such collaboration, Sly Fox Brewing's brewmaster Brian O'Reilly, selected by raffle winner Jason Kramer in November 2010, brewed at De Proef with Dirk Naudts.--JACK CURTIN

November 29, 2011 - Philadelphia on Short List for New Belgium East Coast Expansion
Craft Business Daily, an industry newsletter, broke the news late yesterday afternoon that Philadelphia and Asheville, N.C., were the top choices for a new East Coast plant which Colorado's New Belgium Brewing Co. plans to build.

Today, Coloradoan.com reported that two other locations, so far unnamed, are also in the mix:

New Belgium Brewing Co. has revealed it is considering Philadelphia, Pa., Asheville, N.C., and two other cities for its new East Coast brewery and has announced two new beers in development.

For the past year, New Belgium, known for such beers as Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat, has been exploring locations for a second brewery to keep up with recent growth.

New Belgium previously named Asheville, N.C., as an option, and on Monday, spokesman Bryan Simpson said Philadelphia is also on a short list of four potential locations.

Simpson declined to name the other two cities under consideration but said the brewery hopes to make a final decision by the end of the year.

Philadelphia's "world class Belgian beer bars" were cited as an important factor in its inclusion on the list.--JACK CURTIN

November 21, 2011 - Philly Beer Week Will Send a Brewer and a Beer Fan to Belgium Again in 2012
Earlier this year, the Philly Beer Week organization set up a raffle which sent Sly Fox brewer Brian O'Reilly and the entrant who selected him on his raffle ticket to Belgium to collaborate on a special Saison with brewer Dirk Naudts of De Proef.

This year they're offering the same basic opportunity, with the local guy getting to brew with Olivier Dedeycker of Brasserie Dupont.

The winner will be announced at an event at City Tap House on November 30th. Interested parties can get all the information here.--JACK CURTIN

November 19, 2011 - Jaime Jurado Will Be Susquehanna Brewing Co.'s Master Brewer
Jaime Jurado, whose brewing roots include a stint at The Lion Brewery in the 1980s, will join the about-to-open Susquehanna Brewing Co. as operations partner and Master Brewer on January 1, 2012.

Jurado left Northeastern Penna. in 1990 to brew abroad and has been Director of Brewing Operations for The Gambrinus Co, in San Antonio, Texas, the 6th largest beer company in the country, since 1997. The company consists of Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner Bock) in Shiner, Texas; Bridgeport Brewing Co., Portland, Ore., and Trumer Brauerei, Berkeley, Calif.

Susquehanna, which was announced last spring, is located in Jenkins Township at 635 S. Main St, Pittston, and is owned by Ed Maier, his son Fred Maier and Mark Nobile. The site was former warehouse of United Beverage, a beer wholesaler owned by the elder Maier and Nobile which shut down in August 2010. The Maiers are descendants of Charles Stegmaier, who brewed the first lager beer in Northeastern Pennsylvania in 1851. Ed Maier, who was the one who closed the original Stegmaier Brewery and sold the brand to The Lion in 1974.

"We’ve known Jaime for years, and have seen how he has grown and gained impressive depth, which is attributable to The Gambrinus Company. He comes to us with best wishes of Gambrinus, and no hurdles," says SBC President Ed Maier. He noted that Jurado has been part of Susquehanna's planning from the start. "He pointed us to our key brewing and packaging hardware vendors." In the same press release, Jurado said that he has known the partner families for years. "Ed was once my top distributor and Mark was a close second and I love reconnecting with them."

A new 50-barrel BrauKon brewhouse will be the brewery centerpiece and it will be the new-brewhouse installation of PDX wort boiling, an energy saving heating system, in he country. Susquehanna expects to begin distributing in Northeastern Penna. early next year.--JACK CURTIN

November 17, 2011 - Can Lew Bryson Become the George Cooney of Craft Beer?
American Beer Blogger, a proposed half hour television series dedicated to all facets of the craft beer world hosted by local drinks writer Lew Bryson, is currently being offered to investors by a unique internet financing program called Kickstarter.

Founded in 2009, Kickstarter facilitates obtaining money from the general public rather than the traditional means of investment. Project owners choose a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If the chosen target is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected. It takes 5% of the funds raised and claims no ownership in the projects it supports. Sponsors are advised to use their own judgment on supporting a project.

The man behind this offering is Easton resident Rudy Vegliante , a 1986 graduate of New York City's School of Visual Arts and owner of Green Leaf Productions.

According to the online prospectus, "viewers will experience the very best of the craft beer culture. In each episode, Lew will visit a different brewer, each of which has their own sets of quirks and ways of doing things. Lew will talk to these brewers, get to know them, will show us first hand the various methods and techniques used in creating a craft beer."

A preview of the show and more information can be found here.

November 14, 2011 - Yards Jumps Into Regional Brewery Ranks
Yards Brewing Co. is no longer considered microbrewery by the Brewers Association; the Philadelphia brewery topped the 15,000-barrel mark in production in early September and is now defined as a Regional Brewery. Brewery spokesperson Steve Mashington reports that Yards is on pace to reach 20,000 barrels by year's end.

The original Yards brewhouse, which was recreated inside the current 50,000 barrel brewery, has been put to use recently, Mashington also reported. "We brewed an Imperial Stout on the system, a throwback to the mid-90’s if you will. We later blended this with Brawler to recreate the Entire Porter which was one of the original beers we brewed. We will have a limited amount on draft at certain bars and in the tasting room. We also put some Imperial Stout in kegs for events and the tasting room." He noted that a Belgian Dubbel on the brewery's pilot system and "it should be popping up in a few places in early December."

Olde Bartholomew, Yards' bi-annual barleywine, will be available at the brewery starting on December 19 and released in the city and suburbs in 12oz bottles (for the first time) after January 1.

The brewery has been expanded with additional 200 barrel fermenters which went into operation in September, with another one on order along with an additional 200 barrel bright tank. "We are hoping to have them in house mid-December," Mashington said. --JACK CURTIN

November 13, 2011 - Weyerbacher To Release Idiot's Drool At Brewery November 17
The latest brewery-only, barrel-aged beer from Easton's Weyerbacher Brewing Co. will be available at the brewery on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 5 to 8pm, brewery founder Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard late last week.

"We call it Idiot's Drool and it is our Blithering Idiot Barleywine which was aged in bourbon barrels for four-and-a-half years and then in 750ml cored and caged bottles for six months<' Weirback said. Head brewer Chris Wilson, who brought home a Gold Medal from the Great American Beer Festival this year, added that "it's a five-year old beer which is really complex and interesting, with notes of vanilla and and oak and sherry."

The entire supply of Idiot's Drool is expected to see out quickly and customers will be limited to a six-bottle total. Because of Pennsylvania law, buyers will have to buy a 12-bottle case, selecting the other six bottles from such styles as Rapture American Wild Ale, Merry Monk's Ale and Double Simcoe IPA.

Details are available on the Weyerbacher website.--JACK CURTIN

November 07, 2011 - Brewery Updates: Everybody's Getting Bigger
The late October opening of Troegs Brewing Co.'s spectacular new brewery in Hershey is about as clear a sign as anyone might want that the great success of craft beer in recent years is manifesting itself in the Delaware Valley.

The popular Brew Lounge website has the story and also lots of photos.

Consider that a harbinger. There's a lot more to come.

Both New Jersey's Flying Fish Brewing Co. (here) and western suburb's Sly Fox brewing Co. (here) will open new 50-barrel breweries early in 2012 and major player Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown is already talking about expansion in 2013.

Are we having fun yet?--JACK CURTIN

November 04, 2011 - Patrick Mullin will become Director of Sales for Sly Fox Brewing Co. in January
Patrick Mullin, area sales representative for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, will join Sly Fox Brewing Company as Director of Sales in January, his arrival essentially coinciding with the opening of the new brewery in Pottstown.

Mullin joined Sierra Nevada in January 2008, following a nearly ten-year stint as general manager for Drafting Room Exton. In a statement released exclusively to the Beer Yard and the blog Jack Curtin's Liquid Diet, he wrote:

I am extraordinarily grateful that I have had the opportunity to work for a world class organization like Sierra Nevada. They are an exemplary employer, corporate citizen, and environmental steward. I’m fortunate to work in a segment of the beer industry that allows and even encourages praise and camaraderie amongst its many diverse producers. I have always been and will remain a dedicated consumer and strong vocal supporter of Sierra Nevada.

My new position at Sly Fox will allow me to further my personal development by experiencing the challenges of directing the growth of a promising, smaller producer. I’ve been a fan of Brian O’Reilly’s beers since his time at New Road and the Giannopoulos family has treated me wonderfully since my early days managing The Drafting Room. I look forward to helping them grow into their new facility.

Mullin's resignation is effective Nov. 18. After that, he will take off the rest of the year before starting at Sly Fox.--JACK CURTIN
November 01, 2011 - Victory Will Not Brew Old Horizontal in 2011; Dark Intrigue Release Set for Nov. 23
Victory Brewing Co.'s popular Old Horizontal Barleywine will not be brewed this year. "Our beloved barleywine will be sleeping its way through 2012," Victory co-founder Bill Covaleski announced today.

He said that the brewery's "incredible growth and impressive demand for products" is the culprit. "[That] has forced us to make some tough decisions. In order to keep up with the demand for our core brands like HopDevil, Primal Pils, Golden Monkey and Headwaters Pale Ale, we have to take a pass on brewing Old Ho."

Covaleksi pointed out that the barleywine is both time-consuming and expensive to produce. "We have to brew twice as much in order to make half the yield of a 'regular' Victory beer. With our brewhouse running at peak capacity, we literally can’t afford the time" to make it in 2011, then noted that not all is lost. "We’ve got a few kegs of vintage Old Horizontal still hanging out in our warehouse. Over the course of the year, Old Ho will wake up and make an appearance on draft here at the brewpub. Keep an eye on our draft list."

Meanwhile, Dark Intrigue (Bourbon-age Storm King Stout), a beer first brewed last year and resulted in an immediate sellout and wild goings-on during the day of its release, will debut for 2011 on "Dark Wednesday," the day before Thanksgiving (Nov. 23). The beer will go on sale when the brewery's retail shop opens at 11:30am and will be priced at $15 a bottle, $180 for a case, with a limit of one case per person. There will be some draft available at the pub, but no growler sales.

Customers will also have an opportunity to buy the Jim Bean and Heaven Hill bourbon barrels where Dark Intrigue was aged. The barrels will cost $40 each, cash only and anyone can buy as many barrels as can fit in their vehicle. "You cannot pay for the barrels at the same time you pay for your Dark Intrigue," says a brewery website post. "We will have a separate station for barrel purchases set up outside. If you want to purchase a barrel on Dark Wednesday, please e-mail barrel@victorybeer.com to reserve yours. You will have to pay and pick up the barrel on Dark Wednesday."

Oh, by the way...

Victory says this will be the last-ever release of Dark Intrigue.--JACK CURTIN

October 29, 2011 - Allentown Nanobrewery Takes Advantage of Creative Funding Source
Kickstarter, the world's largest funding platform for creative projects, is currently funding nine new breweries, among them HiJinx Brewing which will open in Allentown soon In today's difficult economic environment, several start-up breweries have discovered that Kickstarter,a service that makes it possible for individuals to invest money into breweries for a reward other than equity in the business. Nine breweries are currently being funded by the site, to the tune of $224,000.

Founded in 2009, Kickstarter facilitates obtaining money from the general public rather than tradition means of investment. Project owners choose a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If the chosen target is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected. It takes 5% of the funds raised and claims no ownership in the projects it supports. Sponsors are advised to use their own judgment on supporting a project.

Among the nine breweries currently being funded is HiJinx Brewing, which founder Curt Deck plans to open in Allentown before year's end. HiJinx has received $14,439 from the program. Keck was an Assistant to the Brewmaster at the defunct Old Lehigh Brewing Company in Allentown during the mid-1990s and senior brewer at Weyerbacher Brewing Company until he dropped out of the professional brewing ranks in 1999.

More details about HiJinx and Deck's plans for the company will be reported here soon.--JACK CURTIN

October 07, 2011 - There Will Be No Beersgiving
Beersgiving, the seasonal food and beer fest planned for the Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown on November 19, has been cancelled. Festival organizer Dan Bengel posted this message at the fest's website earlier today:
The last two days have been as strange as it gets and I will have a better story about all this craziness over at the other blog , maybe Monday. But for now, I need your utmost attention. This is part of the e-mail I received last night from Sunnybrook.
We had a board meeting this afternoon, and have decided that it is in the best interest of Sunnybrook to cancel this event.
If you have purchased a ticket for this festival, go back to where you bought it and get a refund. Do not take it anywhere else. Only the place you bought it from can refund your money.

With only 40 some days left, the possibility of moving it to somewhere else is slim to none at this point.

--JACK CURTIN
October 04, 2011 - Sly Fox Pikeland Pils Named National Grand Champion in USBTC Summer Competition
Sly Fox Brewing Company's Pikeland Pils was chosen Grand Champion in the Pilsner category in the recently completed United States Beer Tasting Championship Summer Event. It was the second national title for Pikeland Pils in three years in the competition. The beer was, by default, the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast regional champion as well.

Victory Brewing Company won two Mid-Atlantic/Southeast regional titles, for Headwaters Pale Ale in the Pale Ale category and for Yakima Twilight in the new Hoppy Brown/Black IPA category. Weyerbacher Brewing Company triumphed with Riserva in the Sour Beer category and Yards Brewing Company earned the top spot in the Bitter/ESB category with Extra Pale Ale.

Victory HopDevil Ale earned an Honorable Mention in the IPA category and Weyerbacher Double Simcoe dod the same in the Imperial IPA/Red Ale judging. Lancaster Brewing Company was an Honorable Mention in the Kolsch judging.

The USBTC judged a total of 447 beers from 171 breweries split into 15 different beer categories for the summer event.--JACK CURTIN

October 04, 2011 - Ben Potts Joins Dogfish Head as Rehoboth Beach Brewer
Ben Potts is the new brewer at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He officially takes over there on the last day of October.

Potts, who was the head brewer at Philadelphia's Dock Street Brewery up until last August, shared the story with The Beer Yard in an email tis morning:

As of yesterday I am officially the new brewer for the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. I'll be starting on the 31st of this month. I'm super excited to be joining the team and to be a part of all the greatness that is Dogfish Head.
--JACK CURTIN
October 03, 2011 - East Coast Breweries Win 27 Medals at GABF 2011
East Coast breweries brought home a total of 27 medals from the Great American Beer Festival this year, continuing a decline in overall performances which began last year, when breweries from Maine to Maryland won 30 medals. The region recorded 40 wins in both 2008 and 2009.

As noted in an earlier story here, Beer Yard statistics show a total of 10 wins for Pennsylvania based brewers (including Iron Hill locations in Media and North Wales which the GABF attributes to Delaware), making it once again the leading eastern state.

New England brewers accounted for seven of the remaining total, four of those (Gold, Silver, two Bronze) going to Boston Beer Company of Massachusetts. Cambridge Brewing Co.'s Bronze gave the state a total of five. Maine's Allagash Brewing Co, and New Hampshire's Smuttynose Brewing Co. each won a Gold for their states.

Delaware, New York and Maryland each accounted for three medals and New Jersey one. The Delaware winners, as reported in that earlier story, were Dogfish Head (2) and Stewart's Brewing. In New York, Ommegang won a Gold and Silvers went to Great Adirondack Brewing Co. and Ithaca Brewing Co. Maryland's winners were a Gold for Flying Dog Brewery and Bronzes for Rock Bottom Bethesda and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Rockville. Iron Hill Maple Shade's Bronze was the New Jersey winner. (The latter three wins are credited by GABF to Colorado, Tennessee and Delaware respectively).--JACK CURTIN

October 03, 2011 - Gold Medals for Tröegs and Weyerbacher Pace Regional GABF Performance
Breweries in the Philadelphia region won 11 medals at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Saturday, paced by Gold Medals for Tröegs Brewing Co.'s Tröegenator (a perennial GABF winner) in the Bock category and Weyerbacher Brewing Co.'s 16 in the Specialty Honey Beer category.

Tröegs added a Silver Medal for its Sunshine Pils in the German-style Pilsener category. Other Silvers were taken by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's Chateau Jiahu (Specialty Beer category), Stewart's Brewing Co.'s Maibock (Bock category), Rock Bottom King of Prussia's Nevermore (German-style Schwarzbier category) and Iron Hill Media's Russian Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout category).

Iron Hill added two Bronzes, the North Wales pub for Grand Inquisitor (Wood and Barrel-aged Stout category) and the Maple Shade (NJ) pub for Vienna Red Lager (Vienna-style Lager) and Dogfish Head took Bronze for Midas Touch (Specialty Honey Beer), Fegley's Brew Works took home another Bronze for Arctic Alchemy (Old Ale or Strong Ale category).

Three additional medals, a Silver and a Bronze won by Pittsburgh's Penn Brewing Co. and a Bronze for Erie Brewing, brought Pennsylvania's total wins to ten, one less than in 2010.

In other news, wholesaler Gretz Beer Company received the Craft Beer Distributor Recognition Award.--JACK CURTIN

NOTE: Beer Yard methodology credits Iron Hill medals to the locations where they were brewed while GABF records them all for Delaware, where the company is registered, so our totals for those two states differ from the official record
September 28, 2011 - Remember the Hops Crisis? A Barley Version May Be On the Way
Key growing regions in Western Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Canada and Australia have reported that weather damages and a rise in competing crops have reduced the quantity and quality of malting barley this year and reports from the U.S. aren't much better.

It all adds up to potential problems for smaller brewers.

The USDA Crop Production Report says the total barley acreage harvested as of mid-September was down 3% from actual yields in 2010, a trend which the Brewers Association says could lead to "the smallest harvested area since 1881." Craft Brewers Daily, the industry newsletter, wrote that "The USDA Weekly Crop Report says the barley crop quality in five key growing states (Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Washington) is down from previous years, with 65% in the 'good to excellent' category, 'down from 72% on August 2, 76% on July 3, and 86% from same time last year.' The USDA's Annual Grain Planted Acreage Report says 2011 Total US actual barley acres planted were down 2%, mostly due to weather."

Schafly Brewing's Dan Kopman told CBD that "small brewers are behind on the decision making process. We still don't have what's going to be among the worst crops in history in the bin yet. And the barley farmers have already made the decisions about what's going to get planted in 2012." The implication is that, with economics for barley looking bad, farmers might be inclined to only plant enough to meet their contracts with the big mainstream brewers, leaving very little available to craft brewers.

The U.S. Farm Bill, the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government, is a comprehensive omnibus bill which deals with agriculture and all other affairs under the purview of the United States Department of Agriculture, creates price guarantees for crops like barley, allowing farmers to borrow against those guarantees and decide what what to grow. It is renewed every five years or so, and the next revision is due in 2012. In an interview earlier this summer, the BA's Paul Gatza told this writer that "we want a strong guarantee for barley. If corn gets it and barley doesn't, that could be a problem."

The CBD article noted that while hops growers are reluctant to switch crops because of the investment in posts and wires and the like, barley farmers are more flexible and willing to change over to take advantage of higher pricing.--JACK CURTIN

September 09, 2011 - Yuengling Will Expand into Ohio Next Month
D.G. Yuengling & Son released the long-awaited official statement today that the company is expanding distribution into Ohio, the only state bordering on Pennsylvania in which its beers have not previously been sold. Twenty two wholesalers will distribute the brewery's products in the state.

The initial rollout of the Yuengling Lager, Light Lager, and Black & Tan brands will occur in two stages. The northeastern portion of the state, including Cleveland and Columbus, will begin receiving beer in October; the remainder of the state, including Toledo and Cincinnati, will follow in November.

Capacity was added to Yuengling’s Mill Creek Brewery in order to accommodate the expected demand in what will be the 14th state in which it sells beer.--JACK CURTIN

August 30, 2011 - Susquehanna Brewing Co. Expects to Start Making Beer in November
Fred Maier, great great great grandson of Charles Stegmaier, who brewed the first lager beer in Northeastern Pennsylvania 160 years ago, is one of the principals in Susquehanna Brewing Co., a production brewery in Pittson, Luzerne County, which was announced last spring. He told the Beer Yard today that extensive renovations and improvement on the site, which was the former warehouse of wholesaler United Beverage, should wrap up by the end of next month, just in time for the arrival of a 50bbl BrauKon brewhouse from Germany.

Maier, his father Ed and partner Mark Nobile are making an $8 to $10 million investment in the new plant. Ed Maier and Mobile owned United Beverage, which they close in August 2010. The elder Maier was the one who closed the original Stegmaier Brewery and sold the brand to The Lion in 1974.

If things go as scheduled, Susquehanna will begin making beer in November and starting selling it in December. The partners say it will be "a German-style brewery." They plan to produce five year round beers as well as seasonals. Plans are to start with distribution in Northeastern Pennsylvania and expand from there. A brewer has been offered terms of employment and they are awaiting his signature on the contract. "He is still gainfully employed elsewhere," Fred Maier explained.--JACK CURTIN

August 11, 2011 - Head Brewer Ben Potts Gone From Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant
Ben Potts is out as head brewer at Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant in West Philadelphia and industry veteran Scott Morrison, who has been consulting and sometimes brewing for Dock Street since the doors opened in August 2007, is currently manning the kettles along with with assistant brewer Justin Quinlan.

The story was confirmed for the Beer Yard this afternoon by Dock Street owner Rosemarie Certo and Potts in separate emails. Both sides indicated that, while the rumors of tension between brewer and owner were accurate, the split-up was amicable. As for Morrison being in the brewhouse, Certo said "As you know, Scott is a brewer who wants to and will make his own beer. I'm just happy he is at the helm brewing at Dock Street for . We've worked together for almost five years now and we'll probably work together in some capacity for a long time."

This is the second time in recent weeks that Morrison's name has been linked to brewing jobs. In a story posted online at Pennlive.com on July 23, it was reported that he would be the brewer at Al’s of Hampden in Central Pennsylvania producing beers for the newly formed Pizza Boy Brewing. That too, he says, is currently only a consulting gig, helping owner Albert Kaminski develop his recipes and beers.--JACK CURTIN

August 08, 2011 - Brewers Association Says Craft Beer Up 15% in Dollars, 14% in Volume for First Half of 2011
Craft brewers showed a 15 percent in dollar sales and a 14 percent increase in volume sales for in the first half of 2011 according to figures released by the Brewers Association today. The estimated total 5.1 million barrels sold is impressive; craft recording compared to 9 percent growth in the first half of last year.

The mid-year numbers reflect the strength of craft in the overall beer industry as the segment continues to grow despite the nation's economic woes.

Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, attributes this ongoing growth to innovation and quality. "America's beer drinkers are rapidly switching to craft because of the variety of flavors they are discovering," he said, "and they are connecting with small and independent craft brewers as companies they choose to support."

The U.S. now boasts 1,790 breweries—an increase of 165 additional breweries since June 2010. The BA also tracks breweries in the planning stage and lists 725 breweries preparing to enter the market today compared to 389 a year ago.

"It seems like every day we are hearing about a brewery in planning," Gatza said. Will they all make it? No, but many will if they produce high-quality, interesting craft beers and can get them to market through self-distribution and beer wholesalers and beer retailers."--JACK CURTIN

August 05, 2011 - Yards Reigns Supreme in WIP "Beer Brawl" Judging
Yards Brewing Co. was the big winner in the WIP Beer Brawl finals last night at Chickie's & Pete's in South Philadelphia, taking three of the four awards given, two of them for its Philadelphia Pale Ale, which won the Listen's Choice vote from the 500 attendees and was named best light-bodied beer by a celebrity panel of judges.

Yards Saison was named best seasonal brew and Nodding Head Grog won the other top honor of the night, being chosen best full-bodied beer by the panel.

Rick Kocher of Limerick, a member of the Bruclear Homebrewers Club, was awarded a trophy as the winner of the homebrewing segment of the event, which was conducted by Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano, WIP's midday hosts (10am-3pm).--JACK CURTIN

July 18, 2011 - Two Rivers Brewing Bound for Easton
Troy and Kathy Renard, who own the popular Cosmic Cup Cosmic Cup Coffee Co. at 520 March Street in Easton, plan to open a brewpub at the site of the early 1800s Mt. Vernon Ale House at the corner of S. 6th, Walnut and Northampton streets according to a comprehensive and well-illustrated post by Noel Jones at the Neighbors of Easton website last Thursday.

The Reynards and partners Brad and Judy Nelson will call the new business Two Rivers Brewing Co. They hope to open by next spring. There's a complete report, with many photos, here.--JACK CURTIN

July 12, 2011 - Stone Brewing Co. Collaboration Beer Benefits Japanese Tsunami Relief
Stone Brewing Co. has collaborated with Ishii Brewing Co. of Guam to make Baird/Ishii/stone Japanese Green Tea IPA to help with Japanese earthquake recovery efforts. All proceeds (minimum $50,000) from the new beer, released this week, will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

"Toshi Ishii—former Stone Brewing intern cum brewer (’98-’01) and now owner of Ishii Brewing Co. in Guam—got in touch with Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele shortly after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster with a proposal to make a beer that could help with recovery efforts<: said a Stone news release. "Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing Company in Numazu, Japan was brought on board and ideas were soon flying."

To embrace the Japanese spirit, the brewers decided early on to use green tea in the recipe. "We decided to brew an IPA to accentuate the tea’s herbal character, said Steele. "But this isn't the typical, citrusy West Coast IPA flavor. We’re using Sorachi Ace, a variety of hops originally developed in Japan, as well as Pacifica, Crystal, Warrior, and Aramis, a brand new cultivar from the Alsace region of France."

"A collaboration beer like this is a great way to demonstrate to Japan that they’re not alone," Baird noted. "They have friends, supporters, and empathizers all around the world."--JACK CURTIN

July 12, 2011 - Beer Brand Registration Reformed in Pennsylvania
When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill No. 148 into law on June 28, he made life a lot better for small Pennsylvania brewers. This post from Dan Woodske of the Beaver Brewing nano on BeerAdvocate.com sums up the big change in the legislation, which is now known as Act 11 of 2011:
"Owning a nanobrewery I can tell you firsthand that PA's brand registration was one of the least friendly in the US for small batches and nanobrewers. With Act 11 it is now one of the friendliest. [Before]it was $75 per each brand you offered. I wanted to do several 150 bottle releases at Beaver Brewing Company but I'd have to charge .50 a bottle just to register [the beers]. Now it's only $150 a year for up to 20 brands. In short, I am sure you will see more nano-breweries and more small batch releases in PA coming this fall. This seems like a small step (and for larger brewers it really means nothing), but for nano-brewers this is a HUGE deal and I am very excited."

The new brand registration procedures should preclude anything close to the "unregistered beer" raids which embarrassed Philadelphia around the nation in March 2010.

This is the specific language in the bill:

Effective immediately, if a beer manufacturer fails to register a brand in Pennsylvania before importing it into Pennsylvania, the beer will no longer be confiscated but will be left on the licensed premises until the manufacturer registers the brand or the licensee holding the illegal beer can return it to the manufacturer and be fully reimbursed. Effective on August 27, 2011, additional changes will occur to brand registration. It will be made clear that the annual filing fee for registration of a brand is seventy-five dollars ($75.00). However, up to twenty (20) different brands may be registered for a single annual fee of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) if the manufacturer produces one hundred (100) barrels or less of each brand per year. Beer that is not ready for sale will be registered at the time it is offered for sale. A new law effective on August 27, 2011 will require the Board to hire a malt beverage compliance officer whose duties include reviewing label registrations and investigating reports of unregistered brands. If the compliance officer determines that a licensee is selling unregistered beer, he/she is required to give the manufacturer notice that is has ten (10) days to register the beer with the Board. During that ten (10) day period, the unregistered beer will remain on the licensee's premises, unsold. If the manufacturer fails to register the beer during the period, it will be required to remove the unregistered beer from the licensee¡¦s premises and reimburse the licensee for those unsalable products.

Another new law effective on August 27, 2011 will require the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, upon becoming aware of a potential violation of the beer registration laws, to give written notice to each licensee who might be in violation. If the beer is registered within ten (10) days of receipt of this notice, no further action will be taken against the licensee. If the beer is not registered within the ten (10) days, the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will proceed with the citation process.

--JACK CURTIN
July 12, 2011 - Longer Happy Hours, Open Containers for Take-Out Beer Now Permitted in Pennsylvania
Changes in state beer laws under Act 11 of 2011, signed into law by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett on June 28, will also allow expanded Happy Hours in retail establishments and allow those establishments to sell take-out beer in open containers. As of late August, wholesalers will also be allowed to maintain a satellite distribution warehouse as well as its main distribution center, which should speed up deliveries to accounts located farthest away from the main center and insure fresher beer in most instances.

Here's the official language:

Happy Hour Discounts. A new definition has been added to the Liquor Code, and the period of time that a licensee may hold a happy hour has been expanded. "Happy Hour" is now defined as the period of time during which a licensee discounts alcoholic beverages. Currently, a retail licensee is limited to one (1) two (2)-hour consecutive period per business day when it can discount one, some, or all of its alcohol. Effective on July 28, 2011, a retail licensee can hold happy hours up to four (4) hours per day and up to fourteen (14) hours per week. Thus, while the maximum period remains fourteen (14) hours per week, licensees will be able to adjust the length of their daily happy hours to take advantage of slow/busy days, as long as the maximum limits are not exceeded. The hours need not be consecutive, but the prohibition against giving discounts between midnight and closing remains intact, as well as the other discounting provisions in section 13.102 of the Board¡¦s Regulations, including the daily drink special. A notice of all happy hours must now be posted on the licensed premises seven (7) days prior to each happy hour.

Beer Sales by Retail Licensees. Effective immediately, hotel, restaurant, or public service (railroad/pullman/steamship company) liquor licensees and malt beverage eating place licensees may now sell beer-to-go in either open or closed containers, as long as the municipality in which they are located does not have an ordinance restricting open containers in public places. The maximum limit of one hundred ninety-two (192) fluid ounces in a single sale to one person remains, as does the prohibition regarding clubs selling beer-to-go.

Storage for Importing Distributors. Effective on August 27, 2011, importing distributor licenses will be permitted, upon Board approval, to maintain one (1) additional storage facility anywhere within the franchise territory in which the importing distributor is located. Franchise territory is defined as ¡§the geographically contiguous area in which an importing distributor has been giving rights for the sale or resale of malt or brewed beverages.¡¨ Sales to other licensees will be permitted from this storage facility; sales to the public will not be permitted. This location is in addition to any existing cold storage facility already maintained by the importing distributor.

---JACK CURTIN
July 08, 2011 - Victory Announces Summer Video Contest
Victory Brewing Company this week invited its customers to "Submit a video up to two minutes in length featuring your favorite Victory beer, and showing us the fantastical feats that those special suds inspire. Does Victory spark you to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Speak in verse? Bust a move? Release your inner Golden Monkey? Do a backflip without spilling a drop of beer? Whatever it is, we want to see it and be inspired by you."

Videos must feature at least one brand of Victory beer, be no longer than two minutes in length and include only people 21 years of age and older. Videos will be posted on a special page on the Victory website and be eligible to win $500.

Winners will be selected by a panel of Victory judges but comments and popularity of eqch video will be considered when selecting the winner. Submission deadline is Monday, July 25, and judging/commenting will run through Wednesday, Aug. 24.The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Here are the complete rules.--JACK CURTIN

July 06, 2011 - Why This Day in 2001 Was The Most Important Date In Beer Ever.
Ten years ago today, July 6, 2001, the Beer Yard website went live with a listing of new beers in stock. The first event listing came four days later; it was for a "Tom's Favorite Beers" dinner at Monk's Cafe on July 10, celebrating American Beer Month.

The first news story ran on July 12:

Red Bell Announces Brewpub
Red Bell Brewing Company announced on July 12 that a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company has completed an agreement to acquire the assets of 4421 MAIN ST., Inc. and that Red Bell will develop and operate a 3,650 sq. ft. Red Bell Brewery & Pub at 4421 Main Street in Manayunk.

Red Bell President Jim Bell said that renovations would begin immediately and be completed "for a late September Grand Opening,"

Then again, Red Bell announced a new brewpub for State College, Pa. well over four years ago. We all know how that worked out.

For the record, neither the Manayunk nor the State College pubs ever opened. We had it right; the Philadelphia Inquirer continued to be a stenographer for Red Bell press releases right to the bitter end. And that's why you love us, right?--JACK CURTIN
July 02, 2011 - Tired Hands Brewing Coming to Ardmore
The Main Line's blooming craft beer scene has been lacking a brewpub since John Harvard's in Wayne closed in August 2008. That situation is about to be rectified.

Tired Hands Brewing Company will open at 16 Ardmore Ave. in Ardmore by the end of this year. The purchase of the property was completed yesterday afternoon and demolition of most of the interior of the two-story building began this morning.

Tired Hands is owned by Jean Broillet IV, currently an assistant brewer at Iron Hill West Chester, and his wife Julie, a law student. Joining them as managing partners will be Collin Farrell, who was an assistant brewer at Iron Hill Lancaster for a while, and "another person with close ties to the local brewing industry" who's name Broillet is not yet able to reveal.

When completed, the site will have the brewhouse, kitchen and a small bar, seating 15-18 people plus a few tables on the first floor and a cafe area on the second. An eight-person bar will pour beer up there. All the beers on tap will be poured directly from serving tanks.

On the Tired Hands website, which has been recording the steady progress toward creating the new business, Broillet says that his beers will be Belgian-stye farmhouse ales and "hop-forward" American ales. Food service will be relatively simple, focusing on made-on-premises bread, cheeses and meats. "Charcuterie would be the sophisticated term," he told The Beer Yard this morning.--JACK CURTIN

July 01, 2011 - Ray Deter, RIP [UPDATED]
Posted this afternoon on the dba East Facebook page:
Thanks so much for everyone's kind words and support for me and the boys....Ray will no longer be with us after this weekend, but we hope our loss will give life to others. Please celebrate Ray as he passes on. Love to you all, Catherine, Jake & Maxwell xxxx
Ray Deter, the well-known and much loved New York publican, was seriously injured when a Jaguar struck him at at the intersection of Canal Street and West Broadway during rush hour around 5:30 p.m. yesterday. He was on a bicycle and turning onto Canal from West Broadway when he was hit.

Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe was a good friend of Deter and has posted this message on the Monk's website:

Ray Deter is in critical condition from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident near his famous New York City beer bar, dba. Please direct your positive thoughts and vibes for our good friend's recovery.

Ray is a beer pioneer…dba was one of the first real beer bars on the East Coast. Ray and his business partner, Dennis, offer an amazing selection of beer, tequila, mescal, whiskey, bourbon and wine at this downtown haunt. This place is no one-trick-pony if you are a drinker of good stuff.

I remember sitting on dba's back patio one early Fall evening a few years ago with Ray, Dennis and beer writer, Michael Jackson. We were discussing jazz, beer, wine, and of course, talking some smack about Philly vs New York as the better beer town. Ray has always been delusional in thinking that New York has it going on beer-wise. Michael and I felt that Philly was the ultimate beer town in the US.

Ray is the consummate host. He makes everyone feel at home, from the casual beer drinker to the most obsessive beer geek. I had the great pleasure of sharing a dinner with him at Monk's Café during Philly Beer Week in early June. Ray is a great dining companion. He appreciates great food, along with stellar libations.

Ray was beer before beer was cool. We developed a great friendship over the past 20 years, traveling together to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, to Antwerp for the 24 Hours of Beer Festival, to The Night of Great Thirst in Eizeringen, Belgium, and to other great beer events held around the world. He is a man dedicated to bringing his guests the best beers in the world.

Ray and Dennis operate three dba's: the original, and closest to my heart, at 41 First Avenue in NYC; the music & beer-centric dba in New Orleans; & the newest one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Ray has plans to open a few more dba outposts in, as he says, "cities I want to hang out in". Ray, I'm looking forward to sharing many more great beers and great times together. Get healthy, my friend.

Please do not phone any of the dba's. They are overwhelmed right now. The family also asks that you do not try to visit Ray in the hospital. This should be private, family time. Please respect their wishes.

--JACK CURTIN
June 14, 2011 - Sly Fox Announces New Brewery, Sale of Royersford Restaurant
Sly Fox Brewing Co. will shifts its production brewery to a 30,000 sq. ft. building at 331 Circle of Progress in the Pottstown Airport Business Center before the year is out.

The new brewery, in a building which has served as Sly Fox's corporate offices and warehouse since January, will include a 50-hectoliter BrauKon brewhouse, vastly increased fermenting space and a new rotary canning line. The new facilities will triple beer-making capabilities from a current 50 hectoliters per day to 150 hectoliters per day.

As a first step in what managing partner John Giannopoulos called "a major step forward," the restaurant side of Sly Fox Brewery & Restaurant at 312 N. Lewis Rd. has been sold to current general manager Stacey Hebert and her husband. The Sly Fox name will remain on the property until the liquor license is transferred and the current brewery will continue to operate at the site until the new location is ready. The brewhouse, several smaller fermenters and the existing canning line will then be sold.

The new canning line will in fact go into operation in Royersford in July; it has a capability of 60 cans per minute as opposed to the current line's 28 cans per minute. It will be moved to the new brewery--which already has a 2,500 sq. ft. cold box in place and where the roof has been raised to accommodate new 150-hectoliter fermenting tanks--when it goes online. The brewhouse is expected to arrive in November.

More details can be found here.--JACK CURTIN

June 09, 2011 - Popularity of Headwaters Pale Ale Puts Pressure on Victory Brewing
In a move which is in some ways a miniature version of the market withdrawals by several large craft brewers across the country in recent months, Victory Brewing Co. is "keeping our thumb over the hose" on distribution of its new Headwaters Pale Ale, co-founder Bill Covaleski told The Beer Yard today.

He said that Headwaters Pale is selling almost as fast as the brewery's flagship HopDevil Ale, which is to say, very rapidly indeed. The potential problem is that the centerpiece of the beer is Citra hops and, due to its contracts with suppliers, Victory cannot obtain more of those before next October. "We still have some Citra in house, but less than we wish we had. We've made all the inquiries that we could think of to try and get more, but to no avail."

Covaleski said that "on paper, it doesn't appear that we actually will run out of Citra, but the only way to make sure of that is to release the beer judiciously. What we will not do is change the recipe and use other hops, so we're just going to have to ask people to be patient with us." He added that Victory is hopeful that the recent release of Summer Love Ale, another hoppy ale which is is very popular, will alleviate some of the pressure and demand for Headwaters over the next few months.--JACK CURTIN

June 09, 2011 - Breaker Brewing Has a New Home
Chris Miller and Mark Lehman of Breaker Brewing Co., the Wilkes-Barre nanobrewery which started up in April 2009, have purchased the former St. Joseph Church property at 783 E. Northampton St. in Wilkes-Barre Township, just about a mile down the road from the well know Elmer Sudds beer bar. They will move their brewery from Miller's garage to the new location, which is 2.5 acres and has the church, attached rectory and old brick school building on site. The deal was closed this afternoon.

Once they are up and running later this year, the school building will house their 4bbl system, on which they normally do 3.4bbl brews, and a anew tasting room. Miller says they will replace the current 3bbl fermenters with 6bbl ones and push the system until they have maxed it out. They currently have 28 regular accounts and brew six standard beers and several seasonals.

"We hopped right onto the property even before it really went on the market," Miller told The Beer Yard this week, "but it's taken about nine months to get the deal done. We have zoning approval already and have purchased a couple of walk-in coolers."

The brewpub, which currently has parking for 70 or so cars, will be a longer term project. Miller says the building is ideal for the purpose. "You would even know it had been a church if not for the steeple. It's basically a big rectangle with a peaked ceiling. We will add a kitchen up front and there is already a commercial oven and refrigerator and a big stainless sink there; we just have to relocation them a bit."

While Breaker is almost all draft, the partners have done a few small hand bottlings, including 10 cases of a saison in 750ml bottles which was bought up almost immediately by a local deli. "We will be able to do more of that sort of thing when we relocate," he promises. "There just wasn't room in my garage for a pallet of bottles waiting to be filled. Selling all we can make, everything we do goes out, 28 bars dealing with, aren't pursing more because we have this move coming up.

Breaker's lineup includes Lunch Pail Ale (their biggest seller), Anthracite Amber Ale (a hoppy interpretation), Goldie's Blond Ale, I-Love-PA, Olde King Coal Stout, Malty McGuire (a maltier Amber), 5 Whistle Wheat (which is new this summer) and seasonals such as the Saison, Pumpkin and Christmas Ales and a Double IPA.--JACK CURTIN

June 01, 2011 - Victory Brewing Co. gives initial Headwaters Grant to the Guardians of the Brandywine
Victory Brewing Company was purposefully opened in Downingtown less than 14 miles from the pristine headwaters of the Brandywine Creek because of the important role water plays in the production of quality beer. Now the brewery has initiated The Headwaters Grant as a way to give back to the groups working hard to protect the natural resource.

In mid-February, Victory launched a new beer brand, Victory Headwaters Pale Ale, whose name pays homage to the water with which is it brewed, and a penny from every bottle sold is collected and distributed to the recipient of Victory’s Headwaters Grant.

On May 17, the Guardians of the Brandywine received the first Headwaters Grant.

“The pure water flowing from the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek has contributed so much to the character of Victory Brewing Company,” said Victory Brewing Company/ “Therefore, it was an obvious step for us to give back to the creek which has so generously provided to us.”

Headwaters Pale Ale is Victory’s fastest growing brand. As the popularity of the beer increases, so will the size and reach of the grants awarded each year.

The initial grant will assist The Guardians’ mission of achieving Exceptional Value designation for the upper reaches of the East Branch of the Brandywine, as well as to fund The Guardian’s program, “My Creek.” This outreach program aims to educate individuals to take ownership of clean water issues.--JACK CURTIN

May 27, 2011 - Philly Beer Week @ beeryard.com [UPDATED}
The scope of it all is almost beyond comprehension: Philly Beer Week, the grandaddy of all the beer weeks which have sprung up across the nation, will begin its fourth go-round on June 3 and we've tried to simplify things here because, quite simply, our calendar and site capabilities are not up to dealing with everything in its entirety.

With one or two exceptions for major events, the Beer Yard calendar will list only local events separately, along with a daily "Philly Beer Week" post which will be updated each morning to link to the official PBW calendar for that day (right down at the bottom of this page under "Events").

Earlier posting...

The official Philly Beer Week website, where you can track things by date, event names, venues, brewery, distributor and more is your best guide for seeing everything that is available.

And here's Don Russell's overview of the some of the major events during the week.

Finally, check out the useful, straight-forward spreadsheet created every year by Brian Kolesar of The Brew Lounge (and, for good measure, Brian's posting of the Hammer of Glory parade route which unofficially begins PBW throughout the day on Friday, June 3, starting with a televised kickoff on Channel 29.

Enjoy. No other beer event in the nation can match the number of events, the wide range of beers and the enthusiasm which is the signature of the 10-day party created to celebrate "America's Best Beer Drinking City." This is the sine qua non, the one that started it all and it just gets better every time.--JACK CURTIN

May 17, 2011 - Canned Beer Emerging as a Craft Superstar Package
News about the vitality and impact of the canning revolution that has swept across the craft brewing landscape over the last 18 months or so just keeps coming. And it is all good.

In the May 16 edition of Craft Business Daily, the Monday through Friday email newsletter than was introduced by publisher Harry Schuhmacher as a companion piece to his the long running and highly respected Beer Business Daily at the beginning of this year, editor Jenn Litz writes that "if your editor were to open a brewery tomorrow, she would give serious consideration to cans. Sure, the liquid itself would have to be great. But given that, these days, guessing whether a BA-defined craft brand is experiencing single or quadruple-digit growth can almost always be reasoned backward by looking at one factor: Does it come in cans?

"The craft can landscape has changed dramatically in the last 2.5 years alone. Speaking of quadrupling, that's almost what 6-pack 12 oz. craft cans have done, going from a bit over 25,000 case sales at the end of 2008 to over 88,000 for the current 52 weeks ended April 17 in the FOOD channel alone. The case for 12-pack cans is even more dramatic, going from a bit over 10,000 to almost 106,000 over the same time span, per the lovely people at SIG. That's as total cans have declined, from 47 million to 41 million total 12 oz. 12-packs. Same story for 6-packs."

Litz notes that the Brewers Association shows canned beers as only about 3% of craft sales at the moment but suggests that 10% seems easily attainable, and writes that "craft cans currently represent about 60 styles of beer, according to Craftcans.com, an oft-updated craft cans stats site. IPA is the hottest, in terms of number of brands. The second most canned craft style is American Pale Ale, followed by the slightly more sessionable American amber. Around 10 craft can brands are German Pilsners, and only two are light lagers." There are over 120 craft brewers now canning at least one beer and the number is rising steadily. The package is most popular in areas where outdoor living styles predominate with Colorado leading the pack and California second. The three through five states--Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan--are less "outdoorsy," suggesting the overall appeal of cans.

many of the fastest-growing craft breweries are canning, according to the story. "In fact, we know of no can-centric craft breweries that aren't experiencing phenomenal growth," Litz concludes.--JACK CURTIN

May 12, 2011 - Added Production Reported by Three Area Breweries
Major expansion news from three area breweries was reported in yesterday's Allentown Morning Call by reporter Tyrone Richardson:
On Wednesday, the Allentown Brew Works installed two new fermenting tanks, adding 2,400 gallons of capacity and increasing production by about 50 percent, co-owner Mike Fegley said. The brewery also recently hired two new workers, bringing its total to seven in the space it shares with the Brew Works restaurant in downtown Allentown.

"This is huge for us," Fegley said. "We're very proud of the fact that demand has dictated that we would need to expand."

Craft beer producers, a segment that includes brewers such as Samuel Adams, are defined as those with 2 million barrels or fewer sold per year. Brew Works has teamed with Shangy's in Emmaus and other distributors to expand its beer sales roughly 100 miles from Allentown, reaching restaurants in regions such as Harrisburg, Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey, Fegley said. Brew Works also has increased production of 12-ounce bottles to reach the shelves of more beer distributors, six-pack shops and grocers such as Wegmans, Weis Markets and Whole Foods, he added.

Weyerbacher's sales have increased 27 percent compared with a year ago, owner Dan Weirback said Tuesday.

The company's facility on Easton's Line Street added an employee this month, bringing employment to 14 full-time workers, Weirback said. He added that the company has installed three new fermenters, increasing beer production by about 35 percent. Other equipment, including new bottling machines, will be added this year.

[ ... ]

Victory Brewing Co. of Downingtown, Chester County, is on track to have a "record-breaking year," company spokeswoman Karen Noonan said.

She said sales were up 30 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago. The company has also expanded distribution to Florida and recently added about 10 workers at its Downingtown brewery.

--JACK CURTIN
May 04, 2011 - Yuengling Eyes Ohio
D. G. Yuengling Brewing is in the "infancy stages" of conducting due diligence on expansion into the state of Ohio, a brewery spokesperson has confirmed to Craft Business Daily, an industry newsletter. "Unless something drastic occurs," he said, a formal announcement is expected in the next few months.

CBD first reported the possible move on Monday, using information from the brewery's own Twitter account. The newsletter says that an expansion project at the Mill Creek Brewery in Pottsville has been completed and gives them the capacity to expand beyond the existing 13 states and DC. --JACK CURTIN

May 01, 2011 - Three-Legged Goat Wins Sly Fox Race
It was one of those stories which you see in movies and on TV, a handicapped underdog triumphs over the arrogant, seemingly unbeatable champion as the crowd cheers. They almost never happen in real life.

But sometimes they do.

It happened today at Sly Fox Phoenixville when Peggy, a three-legged goat, beat out Dax, the only repeat champion in the 12-year history of the annual Bock Fest & Goat Race, to earn the distinction of having the 2011 Maibock bear her name. It was very close, with Dax stumbling just before the finish line.

Peggy, who suffered a major injury in her youth which required the amputation of her left leg, raced for the first time last year and her return in 2011 made her a folk hero on the Sly Fox Facebook page. She is owned by Colin Presby, a brewer at Weyerbacher Brewing Co., who re-entered her this year and assured one and all that she would win over Dax, whose owner/handler Karl Lorah has made a practice of rubbing his New York Giants fandom in the face of fans of the Philadelphia Eagles.

And win she did.

The three-year old pygmy-mix beat out Dax by a stride at the finish line in the largest field yet in what has become one of the premier events on the local beer scene. Today's crowd appeared to match or surpass last year's record attendance.--JACK CURTIN

April 28, 2011 - The Trapp Door Coming to Emmaus
TheEl Vee, a website devoted to food and drink in the Lehigh Valley, is reporting that a new restaurant will soon replaced the suddenly and shockingly closed Tap & Tap in Emmaus.
Thankfully those who loved Tap & Table won’t be without a beer bar for long. We received a tip that the former owner of Magnolia’s Vineyard in Orefield, which closed last fall, will be renting the spot and opening a bar called “The Trapp Door." They’ll featuring a similarly huge beer selection and we can’t wait. We’ll be speaking with the owner next week about details.
--JACK CURTIN
April 26, 2011 - Evil Genius Hopes For June Debut
Trevor Hayward and Luke Bowen, who announce the creation of Evil Genius Beer Company a year ago this month, said today that their first beers will appear in the market this summer, perhaps as early as June (with the usual caveat about licensing and paperwork).

They will do three styles to begin with, Good 'n Evil, a German-style Kolsch, Witty Will, a Mandarin Wit, and Evil EYE PA, a West Coast rendition.

"All of our beers will be brewed in South Bend, Indiana by Four Horsemen Brewing Company, a start up themselves," Hayward told The Beer Yard. "We've built a great relationship with brewer Stephen Foster out there. Mark Braunwarth, formally of Swashbuckler, who is currently at Marley's Brewery & Grill in Bloomsburg, was a consultant to us in formulating our beers. We have plans for several other seasonals, as well as for developing a large standard line. We'll be available on draft to begin with, but 12oz bottles will follow very soon after. We're still working on the distribution side of things."--JACK CURTIN

April 25, 2011 - Victory Brewing Raffles "Brewer for a Day" To Support Victory Over Cancer
Berry Woodrow McLaughlin, an administrative assistant in Victory Brewing Company's sale and marketing departing, is seeking to be named the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society "Woman of the Year" title, a campaign which is a 10-week fundraising program and nominees are chosen because of their contributions to that organization and campaign for the title by garnering donations. Every dollar they raise is counted as a vote and the winner will be crowned on May 5.

McLaughlin is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 25 and underwent and was checked in to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to begin her three-year stint of chemotherapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She has been in remission for 12 years. You can read about her and the campaign to on the Victory blog.

To support her selection, the brewery is sponsoring a raffle which offers the winner and a friend the opportunity to spend a day at Victory brewing one of their beers with brewer and Quality Control Lab chief Whitney Thompson. Each donation of $20 (as may as you like) provides you with a ticket in the raffle. Tickets can be purchased at the Victory retail store or online,--JACK CURTIN

April 22, 2011 - Congressman Gerlach Will Visit Iron Hill Phoenixville Monday To Discuss Small Brewer Legislation
Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA), who represents Pennsylvania's 6th District in the House of Representatives, visit the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant on Bridge St. in Phoenixville on Monday, April 25, to tour the facility and speak out in support of a bill he co-sponsored, H. R. 1236, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (BREW) Act, which seeks to reduce the Federal Excise Tax on beer for America’s small brewers.

If passed, the resolution, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA),would put an estimated $27.1 million back in the hands of brewers, supporting job creation with much-needed capital that groups such as Iron Hill could use to expand their businesses. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

"The Small BREW Act is a visionary piece of legislature that would put critical funds back where they belong: with the small-business professionals who need them to continue to grow their breweries," says Iron Hill Director of Brewery Operations Mark Edelson. "We’re thrilled to welcome Rep. Gerlach and show him just how much this measure means to brewers like us."

April 19, 2011 - Tap and Table, Fork and Barrel Shuttered as Farmer's Cabinet Opens
The local beer and restaurant community was shaken this morning when rumors surfaced overnight about the closing of Tap and Table in Emmaus and Fork and Barrel in Philadelphia, both of which turned out to be true.

Both are owned by the same people, who will opened The Farmer's Cabinet in center city Philadelphia this month. A third location, the Speakeasy Bookstore in Bethlehem, which was said to be closing in the original rumor, will remain open.

A statement released by owner Matt Swartz has been published here. --JACK CURTIN

April 19, 2011 - Michele Notredame Dies in Belgium
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that Michel Notredame, "the restaurateur who helped introduce Belgian dining and drinking to Philadelphia," died at a hospital in Ostend, Belgium, on March 21. He was 61 years old.

Notredame, a native of Belgium, owned and opeated Cafe de Paris, in Middelkerke, a town outside Ostend, in the '70s and '80s. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1982 and worked in the restaurant industry in various positions until he became the manager of Bridgid's, in the city's Fairmount neighborhood in 1991. He and made it the city's first Belgian-themed restaurant. After he left there in 1995 after a dispute with the owners, he opened Cuvee Notredame, at 17th and Green Streets in Spring Garden, in 1996.

As today obituary notes:

Mr. Notredame had a flair.

For Bastille Day, July 14, in 1999 and a few years after, he set up tables outside his restaurant, with serving dishes for diners' dogs.

"In France," he explained, "it's OK to bring your dog to a restaurant. So that's why I do it."

In 1998, he organized a street party outside Cuvee, including pony rides and a medieval buffet, to honor Brussels-born painter Pieter Bruegel the Younger (1560s-1630s).

Cuvee Notredame closed its doors in September 2002, due to economic woes, and Notedame returned to Belgium. He lef to work in Vietnam from 2002 to 2006, before coming home for good.

The complete obituary can be read here.--JACK CURTIN

April 18, 2011 - Philly Brewpub To Release Amber Ale Brewed with Gryphon Coffee
Earth Bread + Brewery, the Mt. Airy brewpub, will debut its new Coffee Amber Ale, brewed with coffee from Wayne's GryphoneCafe tomorrow evening.

This is from EB+B's weekly email newsletter:

There is a lot going on in the local coffee scene these days. New shops are popping up everywhere, everybody is doing pour-overs and single origins, and all of the sudden La Colombe isn't the only coffee in the city. These better coffees are exploring realms of flavor similar to those of hand crafted beer, and people are beginning to take notes and develop their palate for coffee. A well brewed cup of coffee can be just as complex and flavorful as your favorite craft beer.

We asked our friends at Gryphon Cafe in Wayne to help us out with our newest beer - a coffee amber. It is a medium bodied toasty English-style ale with an earthy, citric hop bite. We added Burundi coffee, specifically roasted by Gryphon Cafe for this project, to the serving tank. The coffee is fruity, sweet, bright and clean, and marries perfectly with the subtle and balanced flavors of our amber ale. We are excited to be tapping this later in the week - debuting Wednesday -so stop in and try some!

Earth Bread + Brewery is located at 7136 Germantown Avenue; the doors open at 4:30pm daily.--JACK CURTIN
April 12, 2011 - Triumph Brewing Creates ODDyssey Half Marathon Recovery Ale
Triumph Brewing Company has partnered with the ODDyssey Half Marathon, an annual spring event, to introduce the ODDyssey Half Marathon Recovery Ale. Head brewer Brendan Anderson created the beer.

A news release from ODDyssey noted that "in 2007, researchers at Granada University in Spain, headed by medical professor Manuel Garzon, found that the sugars, salts, and bubbles in beer cause a pint of beer post-workout to be better at rehydrating the human body than water. Because of their great devotion to science, health and beer, Triumph Brewing Company and the ODDyssey Half Marathon have joined together to develop the first ever official post race beer."

Every runner over the age of 21 will receive a free beer at the end of the ODDyssey Half Marathon to toast their triumph. Runners are invited to the official release party for the ODDyssey Half Marathon Recovery Ale on May 1, 2011 from 11:30-4:00 after the Broad Street Run. They can register and get more details about the race or the beer here.--JACK CURTIN

April 10, 2011 - Pierre Celis Is Dead
The note from Christine Celis arrived last night with its sad news and rapidly spread across the internet. It read:
Today on April 9th, my father passed away at 8PM in Belgium. The funeral is on Saturday at 10AM in Hoegaarden and afterwards he will be cremated.

He was the best father everybody can wish for, great mentor and definitely he had an enormous amount of passion for beer.

I will miss him enormously!

Here's the obituary that appears online today at flandersnews.be:
Beer brewer Pierre Celis has passed away at the age of 86 in Tienen (Flemish Brabant). Pierre Celis was the man who relaunched the Hoegaarden White Beer in the sixties, at a time when the beer was poised to disappear, giving the white ale world-wide fame.

Pierre Celis was introduced in the world of brewing by his neighbour at a young age. At that time, his neighbour was the only man who was still brewing the white ale. In 1965, Mr Celis decided to "revitalise" the so-called Hoegaarden Witbier. Belga

He turned his father's cow shed into a brewery. However, after a heavy blaze, the brewery called De Kluis was involved in a takeover by a company which is now known as AB Inbev.

The beer giants' decision to stop the production in Hoegaarden in 1995 and to transfer it to Jupille in Wallonia to cut costs, was a heavy blow for Mr Celis. However, Inbev reversed its decision after heavy protests. Specialists claimed that the taste of the beer which was produced in Jupille was not exactly the same as in Hoegaarden. The Hoegaarden White Beer has a unique taste, they pointed out.

In the mean time, Pierre Celis had also launched the Hoegaarden beer in the United States. He started his own brewery in Texas, where he made Celis White Beer. At the end of 2009 he returned to Belgium, after selling his American business. The past few years, he stayed in an old people's home.

The relaunch of Hoegaarden White was surely one of the signal moments in the modern day history of brewing and a cornerstone on which craft beer built its steady rise to popularity.--JACK CURTIN
April 05, 2011 - Craft Beer Growth Continues Abroad
2010 U.S. Craft Beer Exports Increased 28 Percent Over 2009, the Brewers Association reported today, with some regions seeing export increases of more than 90 percent.

The BA’s recently-concluded annual export survey showed that for the eighth consecutive year (representing all years for which data has been collected), U.S. craft beer exports amounted to more than 1.8 million gallons of beer. "The increase reflects the increasing consumer thirst across the globe for the world class beers that U.S. craft breweries are creating," said Brett Joyce, CEO of Rogue Ales and chairman of the BA Export Development Program steering committee.

The EDP began in 2004 with a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program. To date, the program has successfully promoted its members’ beer in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, China, Japan, Brazil, Philippines, Singapore and Australia.--JACK CURTIN

March 30, 2011 - Yuengling Acquisition of Memphis Brewery Falls Through
The deal announced last Fall in which Yuengling Brewing Company would purchase the former Coors Brewery in Memphis, now the Hardy Bottling Facility, as part of an expansion westward, is no more.

It was revealed today Blues City Brewing, a subsidiary of Wisconsin brewing company City Brewing, now has signed a purchase agreement with Hardy Bottling owners, Chism Hardy Enterprises.

The Beer Yard reported the story last November.

The new deal will consist of an $41 million total capital investment: $30 million for building and equipment and $11 million in real property improvements. City Brewing will spend $3 million in improvements the first year and then $2 million each year until it reaches $11 million in improvements, reports the Memphis Business Journal, according to Beer Business Daily.--JACK CURTIN

March 28, 2011 - Anheuser-Busch Will Purchase Goose Island [UPDATED]
Goose Island Beer has just announced the appointment of Brett Porter as the successor to Greg Hall as brewmaster, effective May 1, 2011. Porter has been the head brewer at Deschutes Brewery for the last five years, where his beers earned more than 150 awards. Previous to that, he was head brewer of Portland Brewing from 1993 to 2005.

ORIGINAL POST
From Chicago Breaking Business this morning:

Goose Island Beer Co., the Chicago-based brewing powerhouse, announced this morning that it will be taken over by Anheuser-Busch for $38.8 million.

Goose Island, legally Fulton Street Brewery LLC, is selling a 58 percent stake in the company to Anheuser-Busch for $22.5 million. The Craft Brewers Alliance, in which A-B also a 32 percent holds a stake, owns the remaining 42 percent of the company.

The company also announced Brewmaster Greg Hall will be stepping down.

The Craft Brewers Alliance, which also distributes Widmer, Redhook and Kona beers, has agreed to sell its Goose Island stake to A-B for $16.3 million.

We'll have more details and industry reaction when we get them.--JACK CURTIN
March 28, 2011 - Brewers Association Announces 2011 Achievement Award Winners
Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service before a packed room at the Craft Brewers Conference opening session last week. These details are from the official press release:
Jennifer Talley of Squatters Pub Brewery/Salt Lake Brewing Co. won the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. As the first woman to ever win this award, Talley was clearly honored and ecstatic to be recognized alongside the 13 other accomplished brewers who previously won the Russel Schehrer Award. She has been brewing for over 20 years, winning numerous awards and accolades along the way.

"Jennifer has won countless awards at the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup® against other beers that are of higher alcohol content in styles where alcohol is a key thread to carry the flavor of the beer," explained John Harris of Full Sail Brewing Co. "She has all of the character of previous winners of this award—a passion for beer, passion for our industry and passion for expanding her and her fellow brewers' knowledge."

The Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing was first given in 1997 to honor Russell Schehrer's contributions to the brewing industry. Schehrer died in 1996 at 38 years of age and was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado's first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co. He was also one of the first brewers to produce mead, doppel alt, cream stout and chili beer.

BA brewery members submit nominations every year for the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. Previous award winners vote to choose the honoree from the slate of nominees.

The Brewers Association Recognition Award went to John McDonald of Boulevard Brewing Co. In 1989, McDonald founded the brewery and began hand-delivering Boulevard beer to local restaurants in his own pick-up truck. A longtime Brewers Association (BA) member—since the early 1990s—McDonald's brewery now employs over 90 people and has a capacity of approximately 600,000 barrels per year.

"John pioneered craft beer in a part of the country that did not have a lot of other active small brewers," said Rich Doyle of Harpoon Brewery. "He was a missionary of sorts and has built a great brewery, brand and business. He is also a very good guy."

BA members nominate candidates each year for the Brewers Association Recognition Award, and the BA Board of Directors votes to determine the winner.

Lastly, the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award went to Dan Kopman of St. Louis Brewery/Schlafly Beer. It is difficult to speak of Kopman and his brewery without noting that he has always worked in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch, also based in St. Louis. Nevertheless, his recognition at this year's CBC has much more to do with his leadership within the craft brewing industry and his work to ensure that his fellow brewers, and his 20 year-old brewery, are treated fairly by federal regulations. Dan has devoted countless hours and significant energy to promoting legislation that would recalibrate federal excise taxes for small brewers.

"Dan deserves this award for his dedication and leadership on the excise tax bill," remarked John Pinkerton of Moon River Brewing Co.

The F.X. Matt Award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt (1933-2001), president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and chairman from 1989-2001.

This was the largest CBC ever, with 3,900 attendees and over 50 different seminars.--JACK CURTIN
March 23, 2011 - Appalachian Brewing Coming to Collegeville in May
Appalachian Brewing Company of Harrisburg plans to open its third satellite pub in Collegeville as early as this May if licensing and other factors go as scheduled. The pub will be on the second floor of Collegeville Station on W. 3th Ave., which was the location of the ill-fated New Road Brewhouse a decade ago.

In addition to its main plant in Harrisburg, ABC has locations in Gettysburg and Camp Hill. "We are excited to more toward the Eastern part of the state," Customer Relations Manager Artie Tafoya told the Beer Yard this afternoon.

The entire second floor is being refurbished, Tafoya said, including a new bar. The brewhouse will be a small 5.5bbl system as is the case in the other two satellite locations. "We make specialty beers at the pubs and our flagship beers will be brought in from Harrisburg. We brew specialties in each location and then transfer them back and forth among all the locations so that we can have as many as 15 beers on at the same time. That way we get to do all these great beers that we can't do on the big system."--JACK CURTIN

March 21, 2011 - Brewers Association Reports 11 Percent Volume Growth for Craft Brewers in 2010
The official number is in.

The Brewers Association today released 2010 data on the U.S. craft brewing industry which showed an 11% increase in volume and a 12% increase in retail sales over 2009. Those figured add up over 1 million additional barrels, equal to more than 14 million new craft cases.

The Association also reported a significant increase in the number of U.S. breweries, with eight percent more breweries than the previous year. In 2010, there were 1,759 operating breweries. Craft brewers produced 9,951,956 barrels, up from an adjusted3 8,934,446 barrels in 2009.

"Prohibition caused a dramatic decline in the number of breweries in the United States, but the number of breweries is now at an all-time high," said BA director Gatza in a press release. "With well over 100 new brewery openings in 2010, plus 618 breweries in planning stages, all signs point to continued growth for the industry."--JACK CURTIN

March 18, 2011 - Weyerbacher Brewing Announces IPA Project
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. of Easton announced a new, six-month "IPA Project" on its website yesterday.

Company founder Dan Weirback wrote

Every brewery seems to have an IPA of some sort. Some breweries have several. We currently sport two year-round IPAs in our line-up: the “Crotch Grabbing” Double Simcoe IPA and our Hops Infusion single IPA. Well, the time has come for us to mix things up a bit. Behold: The IPA Project.

Our plan is to create a new sessionable IPA to join our year-round portfolio and [gasp!] replace Hops Infusion. Yes, I actually wrote that. “How can you do this?!?” cry the masses! Well, for starters, we think you’re really going to like what we’re doing because YOU get to help us out! And don’t worry; there is PLENTY of Hops Infusion to keep you happy for the time being. NO, you may NOT hoard it. BAD! BAD DRINKER! You already know that Hops Infusion is best fresh and fortunately we know you need to be weaned… so here’s your sixish to nineish month warning.

Weyerbacher will release six monthly "test" IPA batches beginning next week and continuing through August.They will only be available in selected bars and restaurants in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley and New Jersey. Each will be different and drinkers will be asked to offer their opinions either on the Weyerbacher website or on via tear-off cards located at each participating restaurant and bar.

Local venues participating in the IPA Project include Craft Ale House, Spinnerstown Hotel, Capone's, Hulmesville Inn, Isaac Newton’s, Sidecar, Standard Tap, Kraftworks, Johnny Brenda's, Varga Bar, Jose Pistole’s, London Grill, Kite and Key & South Philly Tap Room.--JACK CURTIN

March 15, 2011 - Weyerbacher Brewing Is Getting a Facelift
Easton's favorite brewery will have a new look soon. Working with the consulting/design firm SSM Creative of Greenville, PA, Weyerbacher Brewing Co, is doing a complete redesign of the Weyerbacher brand including a new logo, new packaging, tap handles and point-of-sale materials.

Company president and founder Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard today that it will likely be the end of the year before new packaging is seen in the marketplace but a new corporate logo could be introduced earlier.

"We've been well aware there is a lack of professional design skills evident in our graphic imagery," Weirback admits. "Our image no longer reflects the quality and reputation we have in the marketplace and a lot of friends and customers have made us aware of that over the years.

"We are nearly finished the first stage of our rebranding, developing a brand document which defines the story we have to tell and acts as a guideline for the creative people who will come up with a new logo. If things go well and that is done within the next few months, we might get it out there early. Label designs will have to approved by various agencies and in different states, of course, but since we do so many one-off beers, we are very familiar with the process and don't expect that to slow us down that much."

He said that the year-round beers will all be submitted for label approval up front and that seasonals will be done as they are scheduled for release. The iconic jester's head which was introduced on Blithering Idiot barleywine back near the turn of the century will likely remain part of the Weyerbacher identity in some form, "although it will be redone and updated."

Depleting existing packaging inventory will also ber a consideration. "My heart is green," Weirback said, "and I certainly want to avoid throwing good, usable materials away. This is a big project, it will take some time but we're going to do it right."--JACK CURTIN

March 15, 2011 - Dogfish Head Cuts Distribution to Four States, Canada and the UK
Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewing Co. had cut distribution from four states, Canada and the United Kingdom because demands for its beers are outstripping supply by wide margins. Other craft brewers are in the same position but none has drawn as much attention as the DFH decision.

This is from the announcement on the DFH website:

[D]emand so far in front of our supply has gotten a point where we need to makes some changes, as we are not even close to meet the requests from our fantastic distributors. This is frustrating to them... and to our retailers and to you, the Dogfish drinker...

In the past few months, we've alerted our wholesale partners in both the U.K. and Canada that we do not expect to be able to support any export in 2011. We need all the beer were brewing right now for the U.S. market. But realistically, we weren't sending much there anyway, so we need to make even more changes. It is tough to hear from retailers across the country that they aren't getting all the Dogfish they think they could sell, but without drastically changing our company and the way we operate, we cannot satisfy that demand.

So it is bittersweet for us to announce that we are pulling out of, or limiting some of our core beers from, a number of states...This decision will allow us to still get many different, exotic, Dogfish specialty and seasonal beers into our slightly smaller footprint. It will also ensure that more cases and kegs of our core, year-round beers will be available closer to home. The distributors in the states we are pulling distribution from (Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin and Rhode Island) have already been notified of our decision. If your favorite pubs and beer outlets are no longer able to obtain Dogfish products, we are sorry that we are no longer able to supply them. Thanks for understanding and we are hopeful for your ongoing support.

All four states have been in Dogfish Head's distribution markets since 2003-04. The brewery has expanded into 23 sttes since 2002.--JACK CURTIN
March 15, 2011 - Philly Beer Week 2011 Will Again Showcase a Collaborative Brew
The fourth-annual Philly Beer Week (PBW) 2011 will kick off on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m., in the Independence Visitor Center (6th and Market Streets) and will begin with the ceremonial ‘first tap’ using the official Philly Beer Week keg mallet (affectionately known as the Hammer of Glory, or HOG)/

The HOG will be used to tap Brotherly Suds 2, the local collaborative beer of Philly Beer Week 2011. A special Lager, to be crafted at Stoudt’s by brewer Brett Kintzer along with Yards’ Tom Kehoe, Victory’s Bill Covaleski, Troegs’ John Trogner and Nodding Head’s Gordon Grubb, will have a unique nod toward Philadelphia's brewing history.

From the press release:

"The lager will be fermented with the same strain of yeast originally used by the late, great Schmidt's brewery of Northern Liberties in its original premium lager of 1860. At one time, nearly two-thirds of the beer served in Philadelphia taverns came from the iconic brewery, making their signature yeast strain a perfect standard-bearer for PBW 2011’s signature brew.

Tickets and more information available online.--JACK CURTIN

March 10, 2011 - Iron Hill To Open In Chestnut Hill Late This Year
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will open their ninth location at 8400 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. The new restaurant will mark the group’s first foray into Philadelphia’s city limits and their second new location in three years. It is expected to open in late 2011.

“We’ve wanted to join Philadelphia’s restaurant scene for a long time, but we were looking for a place with a vibrant community where we could become a part of a great neighborhood, and Chestnut Hill fits that perfectly,” says Iron Hill founding partner Kevin Finn Along with co-owners Kevin Davies and Mark Edelson, Finn has continuously sought out thriving locations for their award-winning concept, beginning in Newark, DE in 1996. Finn, Davies and Edelson enlisted Philadelphia based Sandvold Blanda Architecture + Interiors, who have designed each of their 8 other locations, to create the welcoming atmosphere for the 250 seat restaurant which will feature comfortable dining areas, an open kitchen, an exposed microbrewery and a bustling bar area.

“Chestnut Hill is very happy to welcome Iron Hill to Germantown Avenue and as Ben Franklin said, ‘Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," says Seth Shapiro, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District.--JACK CURTIN

March 06, 2011 - Stegmaier Great Great Grandson Announces New Brewery
Reporter Denise Allabaugh of Times-Shamrock Communications in Scranton reported today that Ed Maier, the great-great grandson of Charles Stegmaier, his son Fred and partner Mark Nobile plan to make an $8 to $10 million investment to create a new brewery in Luzerne County to produce craft beers.

Susquehanna Brewing Company will be located at 635 S. Main St.in Pittston, Jenkins Township ,in a former warehouse used by United Beverage, a large beer wholesaler which shut down last August. United Beverage was owned by Maier and Nobile.

Maier told Allabaugh that the new enterprise will be "a German-style brewery" and that he hopes to be brewing by October. He said the company will employ 15 people and produce five year round beers as well as seasonals. Plans are to start with distribution in Northeastern Pennsylvania and expand from there.

Charles Stegmaier brewed the first lager beer in Northeastern Pennsylvania in 1851 and he and his father-in-law George Baer founded the Baer and Stegmaier Brewing Company of Wilkes-Barre in 1857. Stegmaier also operated the Susquehanna Brewing Co. in Nanticoke until it closed in 1920 due to prohibition. Ed Maier closed the original Stegmaier Brewing Company in Wilkes-Barre and sold its labels to the Lion of Wilkes-Barre in 1974.Fred Maier will become the sixth generation of the family to brew beer if Susquehanna Brewing Company comes to fruition.--JACK CURTIN

March 05, 2011 - Lancaster Brewing Adds Second Canned Beer; Sierra Nevada to Can Pale Ale
Lancaster Brewing Company, which entered the world of canned beer with its very popular and highly praised Kolsch last Summer, will release its second canned product, Rumspringa Golden Bock, late this month or early April.

Like the Kolsch, the beer will be brewed and packaged at The Lion in Wilkes-Barre, which added a state of the art canning line lat year which is capable of producing roughly 1,100 12-ounce cans a minute.

In other canning news, Sierra Nevada revealed last month that it will put its signature Pale Ale in cans later this year; cans will not replace the standard 12oz bottles but be an additional offering from the Chico, CA brewery.--JACK CURTIN

February 18, 2011 - Craft Beer Growth Continued at an Impressive Pace in 2010
A presentation hosted by the Brewers Association yesterday showed that craft beer sales were the #1 category in the beverage-alcohol industry in 2010, up by 14.1%. The news was released during a BA teleconference presented by Symphony IRI, which tracks beer sales in various channels.

Craft grew in every packaged sales category and gained over a share point of beer category sales. Craft's dollar share of the beer category has gone from 5.4 in 2005 to 9.4 in 2010. For years, 10% share has been something of a holy grail for craft brewers, but it appears that once seemingly unattainable benchmark will almost certainly be toppled this year.

An interesting sidelight is that, within craft, both large and medium sized brewers were down slightly but small brewers took up the slack, gaining a 1.5% share. That probably reflects a market which is constantly seeking the newest next best thing; on a broader scale, this was reflected by the impressive performance of new IPAs from Sierra Nevada (Torpedo), Boston Beer (Latitude and New Belgium (Ranger).

Not surprisingly, Imperial IPA was the strongest growth style in craft sales.

The other big news, which should be obvious to anyone walking into a beer retail shop, is that cans are hot. Craft can sales dollar sales in supermarkets alone have gone from from $832k in 2007 to $5.8 million in 2010. In 2007, there were 17 craft brewers offering 28 SKUs (distinct items) in cans; last year 30 craft vendors sold 65 SKUs in cans.

For the industry as a whole, there is a disturbing trend of losing share to wine, which outpaced beer for the second year in a row. Wine volumes were up 2.6% while beer volumes were down 1.7%.

Official BA figures for the industry, which include sales in bars and brewpubs, are expected to reflect similar overall growth, will be released later in the year.--JACK CURTIN

February 16, 2011 - Yuengling Wants to Hear Customers' Classic Lager Tales
Yuengling Brewing Company is asking Fans of the brewery’s iconic Yuengling Lager to share their stories about the popular beer online.

ClassicLager.com encourages fans to submit their own stories and to read and listen to stories shared by others. Yuengling’s official blog, Eighteen Twenty Nine named for the year the brewery was founded, has been revamped and is housed on the same site. The blog will offer reviews of select classic lager stories and also include discussions of Yuengling events, brewery history and general beer knowledge and facts.

"For almost as long as we’ve been making beer, people have shared stories with us involving Yuengling beer. This campaign is inspired by those stories," said Yuengling Marketing Manager Lou Romano. "Lager might not be our oldest offering, but it's already grown into a classic beer with a rich history. This campaign is designed to capture some of that history, one story at a time."

Yuengling began brewing its signature Lager in 1987. Today, Lager is the best selling beer in the company’s line-up.--JACK CURTIN

February 09, 2011 - Second Philly Group Bound for Sierra Nevada Beer Camp
A second team of local beer luminaries will head out to Chico, CA for a Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Beer Camp" March 3-4, following in the footsteps of the original Philadelphia contingent in March 2010. This camp will not be exclusively Philadelphia-oriented this time; the chosen six will share the event with a group from Seattle, WA.

The 2011 attendees are Casey Parker (José Pistola’s), Terrance Leach (Time Restaurant), James Fernandez (Grace Tavern), Will Pumphrey (City Tap House), PJ McMenamin (McMenamin’s Tavern) and Andy Jarin (B&B Beverages).

Each Beer Camp group gets to design and make its own beer and all members receive a share of the brew to be sold at their own establishments. Last year's ExPorter was a featured release during Philly Beer Week.--JACK CURTIN

February 02, 2011 - Sic Transit Gloria Pete's Wicked
Gambrinus, the San Antonio-based beer company which bought Pete's Brewing Company, makers of Pete's Wicked Ales, from founder Peter Slosberg, informed wholesalers this week that the Pete's Wicked brand will be discontinued as of March 1, 2011.

Pete's Wicked Ale, the company's signature product, is considered the beer that established American Brown Ale as a commercially viable product after it was introduced in 1986.

Pete’s was a major player in the late '80s and early '90s and second only to Boston Beer Company, makers of the Sam Adams line of beers, when Gambrinus bought it for $69 million in 1998. Sales had climbed to $5.5 million in 1992 and the company made an initial public offering of stock in 1995, debuting at $18 a share and reaching a high of $26.50. But the company struggled during the collapse of the microbrewing boom in the late '90s.--JACK CURTIN

January 31, 2011 - Victory To Celebrate 15th Anniversary With Brand New Beer
Victory Brewing Co. will celebrate its 15th Anniversary in February by releasing a brand new 5% abv Pale Ale which will be added to the year-round production list.

Headwaters Pale Ale is hopped with Citra and Simcoe and will be available on bottles (12oz) and draft beginning mid to late February. It marks the addition of what was, before the reign of IPAs began, the most popular craft beer style, one that Victory has never had on its lists until now.

The brewery says that its new beer is a tribute to one of the basic ingredients in the brewing process. "Malted barley, hops and yeast are the building blocks of beer. But none of these elements would exist without water, the essence of life. The waters that feed our brewery begin just over a dozen miles away, making for spectacularly pure and vital water for brewing. Having worked with watershed advocacy groups since our inception, we value our headwaters, our source, in many ways."

Headwaters Pale Ale will be officially introduced at Victory's 15th Anniversary Celebration on February 15.--JACK CURTIN

January 31, 2011 - Terry Hawbaker to Brew at The Grainery in Downtown Philadelphia
Philadelphia is about to get a new downtown brewery/restaurant called The Grainery and it's getting award-winning brewer Terry Hawbaker with it.

People who have been wondering what the Fork & Barrel team has planned for the site they leased at 11th & Walnut need wonder no more. Hawbaker will brew onsite and the concept is reported to be "Fork & Barrel meets Bookstore/Speakeasy with an on-site artisanal brewery."

The news of Brubaker's resignation as head brewer at The Bullfrog in Williamsport was broken by Lew Bryson at his Seen Through a Glass blog this afternoon; a few hours later, MyBeerBuzz.com filled in the rest of the story. Hawbaker confirmed the story for The Beer Yard this evening.--JACK CURTIN

January 31, 2011 - Don Younger Dead at 69
Don Younger, the legendary founder of the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, Oregon, died this morning from multiple health problems that developed after he slipped and fell last week, breaking his shoulder. He had been unconscious since and on a respirator in the cardiac intensive care unit at a local hospital. he was 69 years old.

The Horse Brass Pub is one of the most famous and beloved beer venues in the world. This is the story of its founding,taken from the pub website:

"It was a dark and stormy autumn afternoon in 1976 when Don Younger sat with a friend in an obscure South East Portland tavern waiting for his car to be fixed. Don was a devout Blitz drinker at the time and this tavern with 6 taps (2 wits, Lowenbrau, Whatney’s Red Barrel, Guinness and Blitz) was the closest place to while away the afternoon. Day turned to night and while the details of that evening remain vague, we do know that Don met with owners Jay and Jay.

The next morning Don met with his brother and business partner Bill and invited him to have a drink. Bill knew something was up. When they got to the tavern Don began to show him around, then Don pointed to the top of a wooden keg hanging on the wall that read “William Younger’s Tartan Bitter” and said, I bought this for you but I didn’t know how to wrap it and since it doesn’t come off the wall we got the whole kit and caboodle”. Bill was not happy. They didn’t have any money. (Truth be told, Don saw the bill of sale when he woke up and had no idea how it happened.)

Together they scrounged up the money and on November 1, 1976 the two Younger brothers who had never stepped foot in England and had no idea what a pub was became the proud owners of what would soon become the world famous Horse Brass Pub.

Over the 34 years since that less than auspicious beginning, Don Younger became famous for doing things his way. "More than anybody I've ever known, he lived life exactly as he wanted to," Carl Singmaster of Belmont Station,a Portland bottle shop he owned with Younger, told The Oregonian. The Horse Brass became a mecca for beer travelers, all of them hoping to hear Younger issue his famous pronouncement: "It's not about the beer, it's about the beer!"--JACK CURTIN

January 26, 2011 - Local Production Breweries Thrived in 2010 [UPDATED]
Philadelphia area production breweries recorded some impressive increases in output in 2010.

Yards Brewing Co. of Philadelphia led the way with 15,000bbls, a 40% increase over 2009. Sly Fox Brewing Co. of Royersford jumped up 27%, producing 8,533bbls. Weyerbacher Brewing Co's 6,965bbls represented a 19%. New Jersey's Flying Fish Brewing Co. did not release its 2010 barrelage but reported a 20% increase in beer shipped. "We probably could have done more," said FF founder Gene Muller, "but we just don't have the capacity at this point.

Victory Brewing Co. of Downingtown and Philadelphia Brewing Co. did not respond to the Beer Yard's inquiry.

Outside the immediate region, Dogfish Head Brewing Co. of Milton, Del., said its production went from 96,000bbls sold in 2009 to 120,000bbls last year, a 25% increase, and Troegs Brewing Co, of Harrisburg did 29,077bbls in 2010, 23.5% above its 2009 output.

In the brewpub category, Fegley Brew Works reported 1832bbls sold out of its Allentown location last year, a 66% increase over 2009.

UPDATE 28-Jan-11: Victory Brewing Co. announced in an online "State of the Brewery" presentation last night that it sold 58,828bbls in 2010, an 18% increase over the previous year.--JACK CURTIN

January 17, 2011 - Beer News & Notes
Best Philly Beer Bars.Seven bars in and around Philadelphia are on Draft Magazine’s listing of "America’s 100 best beer bars: 2011." They are Eulogy Belgian Tavern, The Farmhouse, Grey Lodge Pub, Memphis Taproom, Monk’s Café, Tria and Union Jack’s Inn on the Manatawny. You can see the complete list here.

On the Radar. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, will introduce its Ovila Abbey Ale Series this yar, bginning with a Belgian-style Abbey Dubbel in March, followed by a Saison in July and an Abbey Quadrupel in November. They will be packaged in 750mL cage-and-cork bottles featuring artwork inspired by the historic Santa Maria de Ovila monastery. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these beers will go toward the restoration of the historic Ovila chapter house building on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California, just a few miles north of Sierra Nevada's home in Chico.

Wild Goose Redux? Logan-Shaw Brewing Co., a planned nanobrewery in the Baaltimore areas that won't even be functioning until the middle of next year, has purchased the Wild Goose brand from Flying Dog Ales and is looking for regional brewers to brew the discontinued 21-year-old beer brand. Logan-Shaw is seeking brewers in Maryland, Delaware or Virginia to continue making Wild goose Amber Ale and Wild Goose IPA starting as early as February or March, when the beer's last batches are expected to run out.--JACK CURTIN

January 07, 2011 - Clivendon Trust Homebrewers, EB+B Collaborate on New Beer
Cuvée de Cliveden, a collaborative brew, will debut at Mt. Airy's Earth Bread + Brewery on Thursday, January 13. Collaborative beers are all the rage these days, but this one is something different.

Cuvée de Cliveden is the product of Clivendon Brewers and the EB+B brewing team. Clivendon Brewers is a homebrewers group formed at Cliveden, the National Trust historic site, two years ago.

The beer, described as a rich mahogany black beer with a hint of raisins, coffee and plums, will be available at an opening reception from 4:30 to 10pm at EB+B next Thursday. A special Cliveden Brewers' glass will be offered $9, which includes both the beer and the glass. Each purchased glass will help to support new educational programs at Cliveden addressing history and racial equality.--JACK CURTIN

January 04, 2011 - Fork & Barrel Team Signs Center City Lease
The team behind Fork and Barrel, the new beer hot spot in East Falls, has signed a 5,700 square foot lease at 1111-13 Walnut St. in Philadelphia. It will be the first center city location for partners Matt Scheller and Matt & Colleen Swartz who also own Tap & Table in Emmaus and The Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem. They also have said they will be opening Bahnhof, an authentic German-style beer hall in Bethlehem--JACK CURTIN
January 03, 2011 - BA Redefines "Small" in Craft Brewer Definition
Coming to grips with the reality that Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams, will exceed two million barrels in annual production in the near future and thus no longer fit the Brewers Association definition of a "craft brewer," the BA's board of directors today announced that, on further consideration, the word "small" in the original definition now means something else than it once did.

From the press release: "In the BA's craft brewer definition, the term 'small' now refers to any independent brewery that produces up to 6 million barrels of traditional beer. The previous definition capped production at 2 million barrels."

The loss of Boston Beer Company's production in craft brewing industry statistics "would inaccurately reflect on the craft brewing industry's market share," the BA explained, noting that "the current growth trajectory of other sizable BA member breweries places them on a course approaching the two million barrel threshold in the coming years." Craft beer currently has a market share approaching 5% in the overall U.S. beer industry.

"With this change to the craft brewer definition and BA bylaws, statistics will continue to accurately reflect the 30-year growth of market share for craft brewed beer," said Nick Matt, the BA board chairman and CFO of F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in New York. "Brewers Association statistics on craft brewers will continue to keep pace with the growth of the industry. Rather than removing members due to their success, the craft brewing industry should be celebrating our growth."--JACK CURTIN

January 03, 2011 - Reading Premium Returns to the Market...Again
Reading Premium, the beer that will not die, is back in the market.

Brought back by the revived and short-lived Legacy Brewing Co. in Reading a few years back, the classic old brand disappeared into limbo when Legacy, so quietly that nobody could confirm it, shut down last year, presumably forever.

Enter Josh Wood, chief executive of Ruckus Marketing Co. and the new Ruckus Brewing Company Co. in New York. the marketing company did the branding and packaging design for the beer and the brewing has acquired the brand from Legacy.

The beer is being brewed at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre is currently available in 12-ounce bottles, in both six packs and 24-bottle cases. "In the next couple of months, we'll be moving into drafts, and in April, there'll be cans, for the summer months," Wood said. "Winter's not really a can market."

Wood noted that his company has tripled the product's territory and that it is available in most counties in Pennsylvania after an expansion in September opened up Pittsburgh and the western part of the state, and that "we're also in Massachusetts. We have a big following up there." He added that the ultimate goal is to distribute the product throughout a triangle bounded by Boston, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.

Next year will be Reading Premium's 125th anniversary. To celebrate that milestone, "we're planning on re-releasing some of the old labels in limited-edition packaging," Wood said. "It's going to be some pretty neat stuff."--JACK CURTIN

December 30, 2010 - Huge Fire Damages Rochefort Brewery
Beer websites are all a-twitter about a fire which broke out at St Remy-Rochefort, the monastery which produces Rochefort beer. The fire apparently happened last night while the monks were at dinner.

The amount of the damage and how it affects the brewery is not yet clear, with some reports saying production can resume in a matter of days and others saying it was a "big disaster" and the brewery was totally destroyed.

Here is a report from the BBC (with video) which gives a few sparse details and quotes the local mayor saying beer production can begin "within a few days."--JACK CURTIN

December 29, 2010 - At Victory, the Beer's Getting Greener
Victory Brewing Company has installed 345 photovoltaic panels, a system will generate approximately 82,000kWh of clean, green electricity each year. The solar panel installation was done by SunPower Builders of Collegeville and started in May after Victory had worked with SunPower to design the 69kW system.

The amount of power produced by this system will not rely on solar module efficiency alone. "As a design consideration, the angle at which SunPower installed the solar modules was set to maximize efficiency of the system. Efficiency of the system is also dependent on sunlight," according to a Victory press release. "Though here in Pennsylvania twice as much sunlight will strike the panels in summer months over winter months, the modules’ efficiency typically drop due to higher ambient temperatures in summer. Overall, the solar electric system should only show a 2-3% difference in output between winter and summer months, demonstrating that solar power generation is viable in most climates."

Adam Garber of PennEnvironment says that "Victory's solar electric project shows that businesses continue to turn to clean, renewable energy to protect the environment and reduce their costs. We congratulate them on their continued commitment to Pennsylvania's environment, which is only matched by their commitment to making award winning beer."

Victory founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski have environmentally responsible actions ever since they opened their plant in a former Pepperidge Farm factory in February 1996. In 2004, they upgraded their brewhouse with a system capable of recovering much of the primary energy fueling it. A third of the natural gas burned to heat and boil beer is no longer lost, but retained in the system for heating purposes, enabling Victory to reduce their CO2 emissions. And in 2009 and 2010, the brewery installed a total of 12 thermally-protected, energy efficient fermenters whose cooling and temperature monitoring will now be powered with photovoltaic electricity.

A system monitor installed in Victory's brewpub and restaurant will display live data regarding the system's energy generation for patrons to witness. An official ribbon cutting ceremony initiating this solar energy generation system will be held on Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm at the brewery.--JACK CURTIN

December 23, 2010 - Third Partner Joins West Philly's Local 44
Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida may not have added a new location to their beer bar empire in Philadelphia in 2010, nor a second child, but their two-year record of progress did bring in a new face. Brendan Kelly, who has been the "face" of Local 44 in West Philadelphia, the second location opened by Hartranft/Maida after their flagship Memphis Taproom in Fishtown (with partners Ken Correll and Paula Decker, will become a full partner in Local 44 as of January 1, 2011.

"I worked with Brendan at Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant," Kelly told The Beer Yard today, "and when they were opening Local 44, he approached me to see if I would be interested in running the place along with him and Lee. I We agreed that it would be a sweat equity deal, I was building up an interest in the business, so I knew this was coming. I'm there all the time and while they both are in and out, I'm the guy regulars know, for better or worse."

"he's a well known industry guy and an awesome dude," Maida told the Beer Yard earlier in the week. "He's the one who has really been running that show, and he does an amazing job of it."

Three bars (the third is Resurrection Ale House on Grays Ferry Avenue), a baby and now a new partner in a little over two and a half years. Hartranft/Maida are definitely setting the bar high.--JACK CURTIN

December 21, 2010 - Iron Hill St. James Brown Ale Salutes Local Church
The greatest beers in the world, by general consensus, are made in breweries associated with and sometimes operated by Trappist Monks. Yet it was still a surprise to some, said Intelligence Journal/Lancaster New Era staff writer Cindy Stauffer in a November 11 news article, when St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster gave its blessing to St. James Brown Ale, a special release from Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant. But the story began earlier than that, with a homebrew.

"It has the blessing of the church's rector, the Rev. David Peck, a native of England, where churches and beer have had a friendly relationship for centuries," she wrote. Peck was later quoted: "Good food and drink provide the opportunity to build friendships and community, which are an invitation to encounter God."

"The beer [was] the birthchild of a professional brewer and a home brewer, both of whom attend St. James," said Stauffer. That duo,Chad Rieker and David Rutledge, were inspired by the fact that many church members were fans of craft beers and that St. James sometimes served beer at church committee meetings or gatherings, both in the church and in members' homes. They decided to brew an English brown ale "because their church is Anglican." The homebrew was greeted with rave reviews when served at a church committee meeting.

The beer found a wider audience when Rieker got a job as a brewer at Iron Hill. When head brewer Paul Rutherford asked him to make beer of own, Rieker suggested St. James Brown and met with an enthusiastic response. The new beer debuted at Iron Hill in mid-November and a fundraiser for the church was held at the restaurant on Nov. 29. Iron Hill donated 20% of food sales to the church from people who present a special coupon.--JACK CURTIN

December 07, 2010 - No Victory for Easton
The Victory Square project in downtown Easton, which would have centered around a brewpub managed by Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company, first announced in March 2009 and beset by problems ever since, has fallen apart.

Edward Sieger of the Easton Express-Times reported yesterday that plans to convert the Weller Health Education Center into a brewpub have fallen through and the proposed management team has disbanded. Victory would have been a partner in the venture with Arthur Schmidt, co-owner of Emmaus-based Farmhouse restaurant.

"The project has not died, only the location," Sieger quoted Mayor Sal Panto Jr., who maintains that a downtown brewpub is still a strong possibility. However, Victory will no be longer involved with the project, according to company spokeswoman Anne Shuniak.--JACK CURTIN

December 05, 2010 - Bruce Nichols, RIP [Updated]
UPDATE: A Memorial Service for Bruce Nichols has been scheduled for late January.

Bruce Nichols, a co-founder of Philadelphia Beer Week and one of the important figures in craft beer history in Philadelphia, died early today of Leukemia. He was president of Museum Catering Company and the man most responsible for famed beer writer Michael Jackson's long relationship with the city of Philadelphia.

Nichols, Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe and beer writer Don Russell organized the first Philly Beer Week in 2008, laying out a framework which has since been copied, but never matched, by over twenty other cities around the nation. In 1991, he invited Jackson to hold a tutored beer tasting at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology as part of the city's ten-day The Book & The Cook celebration of food and drink, creating a tradition that lasted until Jackson's death in 2007. More recently, Nichols was part of a partnership that opened The HeadHouse in Society Hill early this past summer. It faltered and closed within a month but, as of last month, was relaunched by his former partner, Madame Saito.

The original Jackson appearance at the Museum, which he often said was the most difficult of his life, was held outdoors in a tent under terrible weather conditions. Nichols would tell stories of how they went back to his place, where Jackson was staying, afterwards and Michael lay down on the floor in front of the roaring fireplace and said "bring me wine." Bruce got him a glass and Michael replied, "I meant the whole bottle." Nonetheless, that first tasting and drew the largest crowd of the entire ten days and Jackson returned thereafter every year until his death and continued to be the B & C's greatest draw.

"Bringing in Michael began the real emergence of the Philadelphia beer culture," Peters told the Beer Yard. "Bruce really helped push the boundaries of beer culture in Philadelphia. We are all thankful and grateful for all that he did for us."--JACK CURTIN

November 20, 2010 - A brewpub for Overbrook?
Tired Hands Brewing Company is Jean Broillet's vision for the next stage of his brewing career. The assistant brewer at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant's West Chester location announced his plans to create a "brewcafe" of that name on his new website earlier this week.

Broillet wrote:

Tired Hands Brewing Company will operate on a six barrel brewhouse and will focus intensely on two very broad styles of beers that hold a special place in my heart: Belgian/French farmhouse ales and American hop-forward ales. We will be a "Brewcafe" (yes, I know a strange term, but one that best fits my vision), bake our own bread on site, and serve food (cheese, charcuterie, and other simple & satisfying foods) all sourced from within 100 miles of our brewery. With any luck we will set up shop in our hometown of Overbrook or somewhere close in the surrounding suburbs within the next 12-18 months. We own all of our brewing equipment, and are now looking for a home.
Broillet began working in the craft beer industry at the Victory Brewing Co. pub in Downingtown and moved on to Easton's Weyerbacher Brewing Co. before joining Iron Hill.--JACK CURTIN
November 19, 2010 - Brew Masters Debuts on Discovery Channel Sunday
Brew Masters, a new TV series about the world of craft beer featuring Sam Calagione and Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewing will premiere on The Discovery Channel this Sunday at 10pm EST.

The show's camera crews have been filming at the Milton brewery all summer and traveling with Calagione to Peru, Egypt, New Zealand, Italy, Maine & Washington DC among other locals in search of the ingredients and stories behind DFH beers. The first episode tells the story behind the Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew.

Brew Masters is aiming for a wide audience rather than merely the folks already committed to craft beers.. "You don't have to come to this with a hardcore beer geek background to appreciate it,” Calagione told an interviewer. “It demystifies the brewing process so a total beer neophyte can gain confidence and buy something out of their comfort zone.”

The show will focus on DFH's creation of adventurous beers using unique ingredients, and it will follow Calagione's travels to source ingredients from around the world. It is the biggest television exposure for craft beer since Michael Jackson’s Beer Hunter series aired in 1989-90.

Brew Masters first season is four episodes long, airing on Nov. 21 & 28 and Dec. 5 & 12.--JACK CURTIN

November 19, 2010 - Brian O'Reilly Selected to Brew Philly Beer Week Beer at De Proef
Sly Fox brewmaster Brian O'Reilly's name was on the winning ticket submitted by beer drinker Jason Kramer in a drawing held at McGillin's Olde Ale House Wednesday night to win an all expense trip to Belgium for both. They will help brew a Philly Beer Week 2011 collaborative beer with world-renowned brewer Dirk Naudts of De Proef Brouwerij.

Kramer had an option of 13 local brewers to select from. Entrants paid $5 per ticket or five for $20, with the money benefiting PBW. George Hummel, proprietor of the city's well known Home Sweet Homebrew, pulled Kramer's entry out of an estimated 1000 tickets shortly after 8:30pm.

The winners will fly to Belgium early next year to make the beer which will be released on draught and in 750ml bottles during PBW next June. The beer,a porter, will be released nationally as part of SBS-Imports' De Proef Brewmaster's Series in July.

The annual series is a collaboration between Naudts and a selected American brewer. The four previous U.S. brewers were Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing, Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing, John Mallet of Bell's Brewing & Brian "Spike" Buckowski of Terrapin Brewery.

PBW collaborative brews are nothing new to O'Reilly; he already done an annual release each year with William Reed of The Standard Tap and was one of the five brewers who created Brotherly Suds, the official PBW beer in 2010, brewed at Sly Fox's Royersford brewery. This step up onto the national and international stage, however, has to be seen as something special.--JACK CURTIN

November 13, 2010 - D.G. Yuengling Looks West
News that D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. signed a letter of intent in October to purchase the former Coors brewery in Memphis, Tenn. means that, if it goes through, America's oldest brewery will more than double overall capacity, allowing them to expand distribution into multiple states beyond the 13 in the East it has already opened.

There's a price tag of $20 million for the proposed purchase, not to mention the cost of new equipment, and Dick Yuengling, the fifth generation owner of the brewery, told the Wall Street Journal, "If this deal goes through, we are going to grow very slowly and methodically. We are around for 181 years and we're in no hurry."

Slow and methodical has served them well so far. The Brewers Association lists Yuengling as the fourth largest brewery in the nation based on 2009 sales volume. It produced over 2 million bbls last year and is in a back-and-forth tussle with Boston Beer for the title of largest American-owned brewery. As for expansion, COO David Casinelli has already said Yuengling might be able to move into Ohio even without a new plant.

Yuengling is a Pennsylvania treasure. In a recent, as yet unpublished interview, Lew Bryson, author of Pennsylvania Breweries, just released in its 4th edition, says that "The major factor that sets Pennsylvania apart, is Yuengling. As Scoats [Mike Scotese, owner of the Grey Lodge Pub and the new Hop Angel Brauhaus in Philadelphia] said, when an amber lager from an old regional brewer is one of the best-sellers in the market, that's kind of cool, and I think we tend to overlook how amazing that is these days. Yuengling breaks up the macrobrewery mindset, opens people to choice; that's something we have that other places don't."--JACK CURTIN

November 02, 2010 - The Return of the Khyber Pass
It's back to the future for one of Philadelphia's historic craft beer bars.

The Khyber at 56 S. 2nd St. in Old City, is reclaiming its original name as Khyber Pass (officially Khyber Pass Pub) and is reasserting its claim to the throne of Philadelphia’s Best Beer Bar," according to a press release today. . Back in the early days of the craft beer revolution, and even prior to that, the original Khyber Pass was arguably the city's best known beer bar and hip musical venue.

There will be 20 taps and two beer engines when the doors open on November 9, as well as coolers "stocked with a huge selection of bottles."

Hours will be from 11am – 2am. A Grand Opening celebration is planned for November 18.--JACK CURTIN

October 28, 2010 - Verboten Now Year-Round from Weyerbacher
Weyerbacher Brewing Co will add Verboten Belgian-style Pale Ale to its year-round offerings in November.

The official Nov. 12 release date will be marked by a special event at the Easton brewery at which 2010 Riserva American Wild Ale will also be released and the latest release in Weyerbacher's ongoing "Brewer's Select" one-off series, November, will make its debut. this one is a 7.8% Imperial Brown Ale which is infused with a dark roast gourmet blend from a local coffee roaster. Tiny Belgian Strong Ale, which is brewed on an occasional basis, will be available that evening as well.

The event will run from 5-7pm. The beers will also be available at the brewery the following day from Noon to 3pm.--JACK CURTIN

October 27, 2010 - Philly Beer Week To Send Local Beer Drinker & Local Brewer to Belgium
One regional brewer and one local beer drinker and will get a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to Belgium to help brew a Philly Beer Week 2011 collaborative beer with world-renown brewmaster Dirk Naudts of De Proef Brouwerij.

The two lucky winners will be chosen at a raffle conducted at McGillin's Olde Ale House in center city on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Entrants name a brewer on their tickets ($5 per ticket or 5 tickets for $20) and a drawing at 8:30 will determine the winner.

The winners will travel to Belgium this February and brew with Naudts to produce a special porter that will be unveiled during Philly Beer Week, June 3-12, 2011. The porter will be part of DeProef’s ongoing Brewmaster’s Collection series.

Each year since 2007, Naudts has collaborated with a highly regarded American brewer to create a series of one-of-a-kind ales. The four beers in the series so far include Signature Ale with Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing (2007), Les Deux Brasseurs with Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing (2008), Van Twee with John Malle of Bell’s Brewing (2009) and Monstre Rouge with Spike Bukowski of Terrapin Brewing this year. The beers are distributed nationally by SBS-Imports of Seattle, Washington.

A partial list of participating breweries includes Dock Street Brewing Co., Dogfish Head, Flying Fish Brewing Company, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Lancaster Brewing Company, Manayunk Brewpub, Nodding Head, Sly Fox Brewery, Stoudt’s Brewing Company, Twin Lakes Brewing Company, Troegs Brewing Co, Victory Brewing Company, Weyerbacher Brewing Company and Yards Brewing Company. Brewers will be on hand for the drawing.

McGillin’s Olde Ale House, the city's oldest continually operating tavern, is located at 1310 Drury St.--JACK CURTIN

October 24, 2010 - Lew Bryson & Pennsylvania Breweries on the Road
Lew Bryson is coming to a bar or tavern near you. "How do you know a writer has a new book out?" goes the old joke. "Because suddenly he's everywhere."

The 4th edition of the local drinks writer's Pennsylvania Breweries was released a few weeks ago and beer venues all over the state are lining up to schedule a signing, often combined with a special draft lineup (all Pennsylvania beers on tap appears to be the most popular) or some other attraction to set their event apart from the others. Those are nice touches, but it is the author himself, loud, opinionated and eminently comfortable in the limelight, who is the major attraction.

The new edition is 360 pages long and details the history and brews from 72 breweries/brewpubs, a significant jump from the 48 beer venues covered in 206 pages in the first edition, released way back in 1998 when the local craft beer culture was still nascent and the whole concept was nearly invisible to the great majority of beer drinkers. As has been the case from the start, the beer focus is enhanced and given perspective by informed listings of local attractions and lodging in the immediate area of each locale.

Bryson says that the quality of Pennsylvania craft beer has grown as strongly as has its availability. "The beer's much, much better. That can't really be overstated, and I think it's greatly under-appreciated. So many people have just started drinking a wider variety of beer in the past five years or so. But the most significant aspect of the change is the explosion of craft brewers in the hinterlands. In that first book, almost all the breweries were either in Pittsburgh or south and east of the front ridge of the Appalachians. Bullfrog and Erie were two exceptions. Today the busiest places in the state are the arc from State College to the Delaware Water Gap, and the I-79 Corridor from Pittsburgh to Erie. Williamsport has three breweries. The beer bar scene in the Wyoming Valley has grown incredibly. There are still large areas of Pennsylvania that don't have a brewery or beer bar…but there aren't too many people there, either."

Bryson says that roughly 90 percent of the latest edition is new material--"I revisited most of the breweries for each edition, and I revisited all of them for the 4th. Rewrites vary according to change, or if I just feel like I didn't do a good enough job before"--and that claims that "I'd happily put our brewing up against any other area, without question. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia's beer bar density and quality are the equal of almost any place — the only ones I know of that come close are Chicago and Portland, maybe Seattle, and New York is coming along fast - and we have craft in many `non-beer bar' settings. The major factor that sets Pennsylvania apart, of course, is Yuengling [which] breaks up the macrobrewery mindset, opens people to choice; that's something we have that other places don't."

Signed copies of Pennsylvania Breweries will be available at The Beer Yard beginning on Wednesday, October 27.--JACK CURTIN

October 19, 2010 - Two New/Old Beers on Victory Fall List
Two of Victory Brewing Company’s best-known beers will have new identities this fall.

Victory Brewing Company’s popular Yakima Twilight Black IPA has been rechristened Yakima Glory, a name which the brewery believes more accurately sums up its appeal.

Storm King Stout will be released as a bourbon barrel-aged version, bottle-conditioned in 750ml size ,under the name Dark Intrigue (presumably this fall, although no release date has been specified).

Here’s how the Dark Intrigue label explains the project:

“Since its arrival in 1997, our Storm King Stout has enticed folks to ‘discover the dark intrigue’ as its label suggests. While enjoying that great imperial stout, we have been intrigued by the myriad of flavors it exhibits, and encouraged to test the limits of perception and pleasure by adding to the rich experience of Storm King Stout. So here you have such a exploration, involving Storm King Stout aged in oak barrels that once matured Kentucky bourbon. Blended to perfection, this one is surely dark and intriguing!”
--JACK CURTIN
October 11, 2010 - Yards Expects to Expand Production by 60% with New Tanks
According to a story in the Philadelphia Business Journal this past Friday, Philadelphia's Yards Brewing Co. plans to expand its beer production by 60 percent by year’s end.

Founder and owner Tom Keho told the PBJ that 2010 sales are expected to top $3 million, up from $2.2 million last year and nearly double sales of 2007. As a result, Yards is investing $100,000 in two new tanks, at a cost of $50,000 apiece. Each tank will produce 4,000 barrels of beer annually. The brewery will be in a position ot produce 24,000bbls in 2011; the current capacity is 15,000bbls. There is room available to add an additional seven tanks, Kehoe said.

Annual sales oy Yards beers split 60-40 packaged over draft.--JACK CURTIN

October 09, 2010 - New Prism Brewery Begins Production
Roughly one year after they entered the local market with beers contract brewed at the now closed General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Prism Brewing Company is making its first batch of beer on October 9 in its new East Norriton brewery. The initial. brew is Prism's fall seasonal, Vampire’s Kiss, an Irish Red Ale brewed with spices.

The brewery is located at at 810 Dickerson Rd. in North Wales in an old industrial building and covers 5.500 square feet spread over two floors. A taproom in front of the brewhouse is planned for some time in the future. The location will also be home to Copper Crow Brewing Company, a new venture with former General Lafayette assistant brewer Russ Czajka as president and majority owner and form General Lafayette owner Chris Leonard as brewmaster.

A very happy owner and founder Rob Demaria told the Beer Yard that the process of opening Prism "has been one helluva learning curve."--JACK CURTIN

September 27, 2010 - Copper Crow Beer Company Born as General Lafayette Inn & Brewery Closes
Chris Leonard announced today that he has an agreement of sale in hand for the restaurant site of the General Lafayette Inn and that business is now closed, pending completion of the sale and reopening. Meanwhile, he and assistant brewmaster Russ Czajka have formed Copper Crow Beer Company, which will make beer at both that location and at the about-to-open Prism Brewing Company plant in North Wales.

“This is a fantastic thing for us," Leonard told The Beer Yard. We’ve been trying to get out of the restaurant business for nearly a year now. TTB and PLCB license applications have already been filed for Copper Crow to operate at Prism and we will function as an 'alternating brewery' there. We will also be consulting with and helping owner Rob Demaria, and I’ll be serving in a quality control capacity as well.”

All beer from both companies will be draft to start but the original General Lafayette bottling line has been moved to North Wales and packaged beers are planned.

The official statement released this afternoon by Leonard can be found here.--JACK CURTIN

September 25, 2010 - Sly Fox, Weyerbacher Win USBTC Summer Session Regional Honors
Sly Fox Brewing Company of Royersford took top honors in three categories for the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast Region judging in the United States Beer Tasting Championship Summer Competition and Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton won two others.

Sly Fox was cited for its Pikeland Pilsner, Rt. 113 IPA and Saison Vos. Weyerbacher's honors went to Blanche Wit and Riserva (fruit beer).

The only other local brewery to score in the competition was Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown, which earned Honorable Mentions for Prima Pils, Victory Lager and St. Victorious Doppelbock.

A total of 416 beers from 136 breweries were examined across 14 different beer categories for the summer event.--JACK CURTIN

September 21, 2010 - GABF Final Roundup
The Great American Beer Festival, already the largest commercial beer competition in the world, grew even larger in 20101 with 3,523 beers vying for medals, compared to 3,308 entries in 2009.

This year's competition attracted 151 beer judges from 10 countries. There were 79 beer categories covering 133 beer styles. The largest, also a new record, was 142 entries in the India Pale Ale judging.

California breweries took home the most medals, 56, following by Colorado with 42 and Oregon with 19. BA statistics show Michigan fourth with 10 medals, followed by Pennsylvania with nine. According to Beer Yard scoring, which credits Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant beers to the site where they were brewed rather than to Iron Hill's corporate headquarters in Delaware, Pennsylvania had 11 medals for fourth place.

Four of the five GABF Major Awards went to California breweries:

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Blue Moon Brewing Company, Denver, CO
Dr. David Ryder

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Utah Brewers Cooperative, Salt Lake City, UT
UBC Brewers

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Mad River Brewing Company, Blue Lake, CA
Mad River Brewing Company

Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA
Victor Novak Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Pizza Port Brew Guys

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
Noah Regnery

The complete list of GABF 2010 winners is here.--JACK CURTIN

September 20, 2010 - East Coast Breweries Bring Home 30 GABF Medals
East Coast breweries won 30 medals at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival this weekend, a 25% drop from the previous two years when they took 40 both times.

Pennsylvania led the way with nine medals plus two for Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant which are credited to IH's Delaware headquarters by the Brewers Association but which Beer Yard methodology credits to actual pub at which they were brewed, in Media. The combined total of 11 is three less than in 2009.

Ten Pennsylvania medals were won by breweries which are major players in the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley market. Iron Hill's two Golds, for Pig Iron Porter and Russian Imperial Stout, were brewed by perennial medalist Bob Barrar. Tröegs Brewing Co., on a long medal-streak of its own with Tröegenator Doppelbock (marketed as a Double Bock but always entered in the Bock category), won three: Gold for The Flying Mouflan Barleywine, and Silvers for Tröegenator and HopBack Amber Ale.

A Gold for Ryan Michaels' Saison Vautour from McKenzie Brew House should firmly establish that beer in the local pantheon; the Gold was the second straight and the third overall. A fourth Gold went to Brett Kintzer at Stoudt's Brewing Company for Heifer in Wheat. Patrick Jones, who recently severed his relationship with Triumph Brewing Company, went out with a pair of Silvers for Kellerbier and Dunkel Lager. Weyerbacher brought home its first ever GABF medal, a Bronze to head brewer Chris Wilson and his team for Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

The final Pennsylvania medal was a Bronze for The Jaspers, brewed by Terry Hawbaker at The Bullfrog in Williamsport.

Thirteen medals from resurgent New England included five in Massachusetts, a Gold and Silver to Haverhill Brewery, a pair of Bronzes to Boston Beer Company and a Pro-Am win for Wormtown Brewing Co. with homebrewer Keith Antul. Maine and New Hampshire added three each, a trifecta of Gold, Silver and Bronze for Allagash Brewing Co, in the first case, and a Sliver and Bronze for Portsmouth Brewery and Bronze for The Prodigal Brewery in the latter. Rhode Island (Bronze to Trinity Brewhouse) and Vermont (Gold to The Alchemist) completed the total.

New York won four medals: Gold for Ithaca Beer Company, Silver and Bronze for Great Adirondack Brewing Co, Bronze for Brewery Ommegang. Clipper City Brewing Co, added two Bronzes for Maryland, for Heavy Seas Marzen and Heavy Seas Gold Ale. --JACK CURTIN

September 18, 2010 - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Tröegs Brewing Pace Region to Ten GABF Medals
Six breweries in the local market accounted for all nine medals won at the 2010 Great American Festival in Denver.The awards were announced this afternoon.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant won Gold Medals for Pig Iron Porter and Russian Imperial Stout ; both were brewed by Media head brewer Bob Barrar, who has now taken 14 GABF medals since 2002, ten of them Golds.

McKenzie Brew House and brewer Ryan Michael won Gold for Saison Vautour, the beer's third Gold and second in a row. Stoudt's Brewing won Gold for Heifer in Wheat.

Tröegs Brewing took Gold for its Flying Mouflan Barleywine and Silvers for Tröegenator (a perennial medal winner) and HopBack Amber.

Triumph Philadelphia and former brewer Patrick Jones won a pair of Silvers for Kellerbier and Dunkel, matching its two-medal performance in 2009, and Weyerbacher Brewing Company took a Bronze, its first GABF medal, for Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

CAVEAT: This report might be incomplete as the computer feed from Denver was erratic today and lost for several intervals.

Look for a more complete story here Monday with all the results broken down. First impressions are that the East Coast did not fare nearly as well as in recent years.--JACK CURTIN

September 13, 2010 - Three Delaware Valley Beers on Men's Journal Top 25 List
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils at #9 led three local beers onto the Men's Journal "Top 25 Beers of the World" list for 2010.

Victory Helios Saison was #16 and Dogfish head 90 Minute IPA #21.

The complete list:
Rochefort 10
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Nogne O Porter
Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic Larger
Jolly Pumpkin Oro De Calabaza
Mikkeller Since Single-Hop IPA
De Ranke Brewery Saison De Dottignies
Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbier
Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse
Sinebrychoff Porter
Hitachino Nest Beer XH
Kostritzer Schwarzbier
Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
Samuel Adams Noble Pils
Victory Helios Ale
Brasserie De La Senne Taras Boulba
Allagash Curieux
Dieu Du Ciel! Peche Mortel
Russian River Supplication
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Olympia Beer
Peak Organic Pale Ale
21st Amendment Back in Black IPA
Sierra Nevada Kellerweis --JACK CURTIN

September 12, 2010 - Bahnhof Beer Hall Scheduled to Open in Bethlehem This October [UPDATED]
The Beer Yard has received exclusive information that the Tap and Table partnership has added a new restaurant at 4213 Ridge Avenue, site of the Pour House Tavern, to its plans. More details when they become available.

[Original Story - 3 September 2010]

Partners Matt and Colleen Swartz and Matt Scheller, who have brightened the Lehigh Valley beer scene considerably over the last 18 months by opening the Tap and Table Gastropub, a European-style venue with a candlelit atmosphere (candles in wrought iron chandeliers hung from high ceilings over long wooden communal tables) in Emmaus on April 2009 and The Bookstore Speakeasy, a 1920s-'30s themed cocktail and beer bar locate behind a small fake bookstore in Bethlehem last October, are at it again.

Next month the trio will launch Bahnhof, an authentic German-style beer hall in an old train station in Bethlehem ("banhof" means "train station" in German). Meanwhile, just to keep busy, they opened the Atlantic Jazz Yard in Rehoboth Beach last May; it's a seasonal venue less than two blocks off the beach which features live jazz in the courtyard which makes up most of its space and has a cocktail and beer program similar to that at The Bookstore, only "less intense," according to Scheller, who is the beverage guy in the partnership.

Tap and Table has six taps and "between 150 and 200 bottles of world-class beer, plus three handpumps," Scheller says. "We do beer dinners every six weeks or so (the most recent featured brewer Terry Hawbaker and his beers from the Bullfrog in Williamsport; the next one, in November, will be hosted by the brewer and chef from the famed Schlenkerla brewery in Bamberg, Germany). At the Bookstore, we focus more on cocktails and have done a few cocktail dinners, five course, five cocktails designed for us by top mixologists. I'd like to do a beer vs. cocktail dinner there one of these days."--JACK CURTIN

September 08, 2010 - Beer Yard/Tröegs Event Garners $1091 for Delco SPCA
The four-day Labor Day weekend at The Beer Yard featuring the beers of Harrisburg's Tröegs Brewing Co., food by Teresa's Next Door and pretzel samples from Famous Kirby's resulted in a $1091 contribution the Delaware County SPCA.

That amount includes $6 each for 96 cases of Tröegs sold, $5 per case split between the Beer Yard and the brewery; $1 per case from an anonymous Beer Yard customer, and the remainder from food sales.

"I cannot say enough about our wonderful customers," says Beer Yard owner Matt Guyer, "or the cooperation and help we received from Nick Johnson of Tröegs and Andy Dickerson of Teresa's. The craft beer community is filled with good people and it's always very satisfying to get together with them in support of a good cause and then see the people who make our business possible make it all worthwhile with their generosity."

Photos of Saturday's main event are linked in our Store Note below.--JACK CURTIN

September 05, 2010 - Monk's Front Bar Re-Opens
From the Monk's Cafe website late last Sunday night:
WE'RE OPEN - the entire restaurant now! Monday, September 06, 2010

Whoo Hoo!

We just received permission to open the entire restaurant. YEA!! You can now enter through the front door. Actually... where the front door will go when it is installed next week. The entrance hall is a bit rough looking, but a crew will be working on it over the weekend - so we may need to use the service alley again for short periods of time. It will probably take a full month before the entrance is finished, but you're not coming in to hang our there anyway.

An enthralled local beer community now holds its breath to see what will happen next August....JACK CURTIN
September 02, 2010 - Tröegs & Beer Yard Team Up for Labor Day Weekend Benefit for Delco SPCA [UPDATED]
Tröegs Brewing Company of Harrisburg will join with The Beer Yard in Wayne on Saturday, September 4, the heart of the Labor Day Weekend this year, for a special afternoon event on the Beer Yard premises to benefit the Delaware County SPCA.

From 1-4pm, Tröegs award-winning beers will be available for sampling in front of the Beer Yard. The beer samples will be accompanied by a variety of tasty food treats from Teresa's Next Door, the popular Belgian-themed bar located on North Wayne Avenue. Famous Kirby's will also be on hand with samples of their popular pretzeis.

Every case of Tröegs beer sold ALL WEEKEND (Friday through Monday) will benefit the Delco SPCA to the tune of $6 .00 (this includes $5 per cans pledged by The Beer Yard and Tröegs Brewing and $1 just pledged by an anonymous customer---anyone else wanting to add a matching pledge is more than welcome to do so; just email us).

All profits from the food menu, which will feature $1 hot dogs as a specialty, will also go to that worthy cause. Additionally, every customer buying a case of Tröegs will receive a free logo-ed pint glass.

"We will be pouring our year-round beers, several seasonals brews and maybe even a few surprises that will make you scratch, but not from the fleas," says Nick Johnson, regional sales representative for the brewery.

Matt Guyer, owner of The Beer Yard noted that "while you don't have to be here Saturday afternoon o make a contribution--just buy a case of Tröegs any time this weekend, we sure hope you'll come by, say hello and enjoy the party."--JACK CURTIN

August 29, 2010 - Craft Beer Sales Growing in Every Region of the Country
The good news about craft beer growth just keeps coming.

According to an online presentation last week by Dan Wandel, senior vice-president of the Symphony IRI Group for members of the Brewers Association, U.S. craft beer sales were up 11.9% for the first half of 2010 on track for their sixth straight year of 10%-plus growth.

Among the most interesting data he had to offer: craft sales are growing in every region in the country, eight of the top 15 new craft brands this year are IPAs, New Belgium the growth leader among top craft brewers, up 28% in dollars year to date and Sierra Nevada Torpedo is fastest growing of the top 15 craft brands. up more than 200% versus last year.

Symphony IRI figures account for sales at retail outlets and do not include draft sales.

Evaluation of other date by The Beer Yard shows that the growing canning trend in craft brewing is another aspect of the segment's growth. The websites CraftCans.com and beernews.org are each reporting that roughly 80 US craft breweries are currently canning or contract canning at least one of their beers and dam Nason of the latter says that "at least 20 of those breweries began canning this year." Canning breweries are located in 34 states, a number could approach 40 by year's end.--JACK CURTIN

August 25, 2010 - John Frantz Joins Staff of Mid-State Wholesaler
Former Lancaster Brewing CEO and VP of Sales John Frantz has joined the staff of Westy Beer Distributor, Inc, the mid-state beer distributor located in Camp Hill,just outside Harrisburg.

"‘Adding John Frantz makes Westy a better company for our customers and suppliers." said Westy GM George Bradley. "He is an industry pro and is well-liked by accounts in our territory. We’re excited to have him on our team."

Frantz was considered instrumental in the rapid growth of Lancaster Brewing Company and its business in the local market over the past several years. His involvement with Lancaster Brewing Company ended in January 2010 in a surprise dismissal of him and brewmaster Christian Heim by a new management team. He will begin his work with Westy next week.--JACK CURTIN

August 22, 2010 - Recent Craft Brewing Consolidation a Peek into the Future?
On the heels of the Brewers Association announcement that craft beer sales volume increased 9% in the first six months of 2010 compared to a 5% increase in 2009 and income from sales was up 12% in the first six months, better than 9% growth the year before, the industry also saw some signs of the increasing level of consolidation that has been predicted by many observers.

In the East, the big news was that North American Breweries has acquired Independent Brewers United, producers of the Magic Hat, Pyramid and MacTarnahan brands. The acquisition is the fourth by NAB since its formation in 2009. NAB owns Genesee Brewing Company, one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in the United States, and is the exclusive marketer and seller of Labatt brand beer and Seagram's Escapes in the United States. NAB CEO Rich Lozyniak said the new brands add craft brewing credibility and variety to the beers currently offered by the company. "We are really excited to add Magic Hat, Pyramid and MacTarnahan’s beers to North American Breweries," said NAB CEO Rich Lozyniak. " All three brands have a rich history of craft brewing that helps us gain acceptance in that tight-knit community, By having more beers to offer our customers, wholesalers and retail accounts, we can better compete with the multi-national mega brewers who dominate the U.S. beer industry."

Out west, Portland-based Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. struck a deal to purchase Hawaii's Kona Brewing Co. Craft Brewers was formed with the merger of Portland's Widmer Brothers Brewing and Washington-based Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008. Under the agreement, Kona will become a wholly owned subsidiary of CBA, which also distributes the beers of Chicago's Goose Island Brewery. CBA has been brewing and distributing Kona beers on the U.S. mainland for nine years. "This is a way to expand and strengthen our portfolio to wholesalers and retailers, because the more diverse your portfolio is, the better your chance of getting great beer to beer drinkers," said Kurt Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers. "This will enable us to take the Kona brand to more places in the country, primarily beyond the Northwest." CBA was formed with the merger of Portland's Widmer Brothers Brewing and Washington-based Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008.

Perhaps most the most interesting aspect fo the latter acquisition is the rumor that Anheuser Busch, owns 35% of CBA might be moving toward buying the remaining 65%. As reported in Beer Business Daily, Bryce Peterson of Washington Street Investments, a hedge fund which owns 2.5% of CBA, told TheStreet.com that A-B "might think it's smart to buy a strong brand in the craft area and use its incredible distribution and marketing strengths to grow the acquired business, even though A-B already has a distribution deal with the brands."--JACK CURTIN

August 17, 2010 - Victory Brewing Intros "Brewpub on Wheels"
Victory Brewing company has created a "brewpub on wheels" to serve customers who want to build an event around their popular beers. The brewery's new catering trailer made its debut on Saturday, August 7, at the Victory Summer BrewBQ event at the Twin Brook Winery.

With a kitchen, capacity for 16 cold kegs and 16 taps, the mobile unit can serve BBQ and brews for up to 1,000 people.

Several photos and reservation information are available here.--JACK CURTIN

August 13, 2010 - Dock Street Brewers From Across Two Decades Collaborate
The past and present of Philadelphia's Dock Street Brewing will get together in Bellingham, Washington this week as current head brewer Ben Potts travels west to brew with Dock Street’s first brewer Will Kemper at Chuckanut Brewery.

Kemper was the original brewer for Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant at 18th & Cherry St. in 1990 and helped launched that legendary venue. His relatively new Bellingham pub won four Great American Beer Festival medals in 2009. earning Chuckanut Small Brewpub of the Year honors.

Potts began brewing in 2003 with the purchase of a few simple kits from a homebrew store. After a brief stint at art school, he began volunteering at Dock Street and eventually took the position of Head Brewer.--JACK CURTIN

August 06, 2010 - Sierra Nevada To Brew Authentic Trappist Style Ales with California Abbey
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced a partnership today with the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux to create the only authentic Trappist-style Abbey ales in America. They will combine to produce Ovila, "America's only authentic Trappist-style Abbey Ale."

Ovila is series of three Belgian-style Abbey ales is made in accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the monks. From the press release (slightly edited):

Each beer will be only be available for a limited time and will rotate through the seasons. The first beer in the series, scheduled for release in March, will be a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with authentic Trappist yeast. The second beer in the series, scheduled for release in July, will be a Saison, the traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale made in honor of the Monk’s dedication to labor in the fields surrounding their abbey. The third, to be released later in the year, will be a Trappist-style Quadrupel.

Proceeds from this project will benefit the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in their efforts to reconstruct a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. The medieval chapterhouse—Santa Maria de Ovila—was begun in 1190 in Spain and Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Trappist-Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.

Located in Vina, California, the Abbey of New Clairvaux is a Cistercian Abbey of Strict Observance (Trappist). The abbey was founded in 1955 on 590 acres of Leland Stanford’s famed Vina Ranch. The monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict—Ora est Labora (Prayer and Work) and spend their days in prayer, meditation, and tending to the labor of the working farm located at the abbey.

--JACK CURTIN
August 04, 2010 - Is Craft Brewery Consolidation the New Trend?
Beer industry consultant Bump Williams recently told industry newsletter Beer Business Daily current conditions offer an opportunity for craft brewers: "[A]re these guys going to get together and take advantage of the hot hand they’re being dealt right now? I think they should....it’s time for the craft brewers to talk about how to get to a ten share. The time is now."

That would suggest more consolidation and joint ventures among craft brewers and there is evidence this week point to just that starting to happen.

Portland-based Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. said yesterday that it will pay $13.9 million for Hawaii's Kona Brewing Co., cementing what had been a nine-year partnership. Under the agreement, Kona will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Craft Brewers, which also distributes the beers of Chicago's Goose Island Brewery. Craft Brewers Alliance was formed by merger of Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008.

Kona beer for mainland distribution is already, and will continue to be, brewed by Widmer and Redhook.As part of CBA, Kona will be able to expand its brand and distribution while maintaining its craft brewery operations in Hawaii, said Kurt Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers. "This is a way to expand and strengthen our portfolio to wholesalers and retailers," said Widmer, "because the more diverse your portfolio is, the better your chance of getting great beer to beer drinkers. This will enable us to take the Kona brand to more places in the country, primarily beyond the Northwest."

Kona's flagship beer is its Longboard Lager, and it brewed 113,000 barrels of beer (3.5 million gallons) of beer last year, making it Hawaii's largest brewer and the country's 13th-largest craft brewery, a distinction it will apparently have to relinquish. CBA is one of the larger brewing groups in the country but doesn't qualify as a craft brewery under the Brewers Association definition Because InBev Anheuser-Busch has an ownership stake in both Widmer and Redhook.

Meanwhile, All signs point toward a second major purchase on the East Coast, where it appears that both Magic Hat Brewing C. and Pyramid Brewing Co. will be bought out very soon by North American Breweries of Rochester. Those two breweries merged as Independent Brewers United in 2008 and the pair currently rank an impressive #5 and #7 overall in terms of sales volume. They sold almost 350,000 barrels in 2009, making IBU the eighth largest entity among all regional breweries (craft or non-craft).North American Breweries owns the Genesee Brewing Company and Dundee Ales & Lagers and is the primary U.S. distributor of Labatt beers and Seagrams coolers.--JACK CURTIN

August 02, 2010 - Craft Beer Maintains Its Growth Pattern Even Though industry Overall Is Down
There is good news for craft beer makers and drinkers in figures released today by the Brewers Association for the first six months of 2010.

Dollar sales were up 12 percent in the first half of the year, compared to 9 percent growth during the same period in 2009. Volume of craft brewed beer sold grew 9 percent for the same period, compared to 5 percent growth last year.

"While craft brewer sales volume climbed 9 percent in the first half of 2010, overall U.S. beer industry volume sales are down 2.7 percent so far," noted Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. "There is a movement by beer lovers...more people are starting to think of craft-brewed beer first when they buy in restaurants, bars and stores."

The U.S. now boasts 1,625 breweries, an increase of 100 additional breweries since July of 2009. It is the highest number in 100 years. A century ago in 1910, consolidation and the run-up to Prohibition had reduced the number of breweries to 1,498.--JACK CURTIN

July 27, 2010 - New Fermentation Tanks Raise Victory Capacity to 100,000bbl
Victory Brewing Company will add eight 440bbl fermenters to its plant in early August, joining the four that were installed just 10 and a half months previously, a response to customer demand that has Victory's wholesale shipments for 2010 currently standing 24% higher than the same point in 2009. The new fermenters are capable of boosting Victory's beer production capacity by 50%, or 33,000 barrels per year. This sets total capacity at approximately 100,000 barrels.

Co-founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski noted that major expansion is always a risk but one which needs to be taken to maintain growth. "We needed four tanks immediately, but market conditions made buying the eight together, an undeniably smart deal." observed Barchet. "We remain confident in both our established customer loyalties and exciting new opportunities that we continue to create," Covaleski added.

Covaleski pointed to the recent success of Summer Love Ale, a joint venture initiated by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation to create a flavorful new ale to offer as a tourism draw, as an example of unexpectedly large demand. Summer Love Ale production was doubled over its initial expectation and has garnered the attention of Food & Wine, Washington Post online, and Modern Brewery Age, he said.--JACK CURTIN

July 20, 2010 - Philly Beer Week 2011 Will Be Held the First Week in June
Philadelphia Beer Week 2011 will be held Friday, June 3 through Sunday, June 12.

The dates were announced this afternoon in a press release sent out by the organizers. The event was held June this year after the first two were held in March. A June date was expected again despite the call by by several publicans for a return to the original March schedule at a series of meetings held for participants to express their views in recent weeks.

PBW Executive Director Don Russell, in the news release:

"Since PBW was founded, more than 25 other U.S. cities have put on beer festivals of their own, but ours remains the biggest and the best And we’re thrilled to announce the dates for PBW 2011: Friday, June 3 through Sunday, June 12, 2011. Based on extensive surveys of this year’s participants, we’re excited to begin working to make PBW 2011 every bit as successful as this year’s event. We encourage previous participants to join us once again, and we can’t wait to welcome first-timers to PBW, as well."

PBW 2010 had 193 official participants and more than 1,000 events.--JACK CURTIN

July 11, 2010 - Prism Brewing Will Open in North Wales
Prism Brewing Company hopes to open its new brewery at 810 Dickerson Rd. in North Wales in August, owner and founder Rob Demaria told The Beer Yard late yesterday afternoon. The usual caveat--"depending on how the licensing paperwork work goes"--accompanied the announcement.

A 20bbl DME brewhouse is already in place, Demaria said, along with three 20bbl fermenters. He purchased the brewhouse from the defunct--never opened, actually--Virginia Brewing Company in Winchester. "I'm in the process of looking for a couple more fermenters and two brite tanks as well," he said, adding that a bottling line would be added in the near future and "we will be bottling this fall."

Prism's space in an old industrial building is 5,500 square feet spread over two floors. A tap room in the front of the building is planned at some point in the future and the space has already been set aside for that addition.

Prism introduced its first beer, Bitto Honey IPA, into the local market last fall, contract brewing at the General Lafayette Brewery and Inn with brewmaster Chris Leonard. A second contract brew, Tea Party Pale Ale, has recently been released. Both are draught only, available at the General Lafayette and select accounts.

Those two beers and Death March Porter (a "hopless" porter brewed with star anise) will be the year-round beers brewed, along with a rotating seasonal. "Depending on when we get open, that will be either the summer beer, our Belgian White, or the fall one, Red October Ale," said Demaria. "The winter seasonal will be our Bacon Chocolate Stout."--JACK CURTIN

June 30, 2010 - Sam Calagione, TV Star
From this morning's edition of Harry Schuhmacher's Beer Business Daily, a beer industry newsletter:
This is good for craft beers in particular and beer in general.

Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery is to star in a new Discovery Channel show called BREWED, which will be "exploring the culture, history and variety of beer."

Sam will join archeologist and beer expert Pat McGovern as they travel to recreate the recipes of "ancient ales" that have been discovered at sites around the world from Egypt to Peru. He'll go to Rome to research old Italian beer recipes as inspiration for a new restaurant in New York with Mario Batali. A visit to New Zealand introduces the idea of making the "first tomato based beer," and so on.

Clearly this will give craft beer some great publicity.

"Beer has always been my passion. It is so much more than what you see in the glass. I'm excited to share the diligence, daring and creativity that we pour into our work," said Sam.

BREWED is produced for Discovery Channel by Zero Point Zero Productions, which produced "No Reservations" and "Diary of a Foodie."

No word on when the show will begin airing.--JACK CURTIN
June 25, 2010 - Tröegs To Build New Brewery in Hershey
Chris and John Trogner, founders of Tröegs Brewing Company, announced today they have reached an agreement to open a new craft brewery in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Construction on the existing facility, located at 200 E. Hershey Park Drive, will begin immediately with a projected completion date of Fall 2011.

“This is an exciting new chapter for Tröegs Brewery,” said Chris Trogner. “When John and I started planning the brewery in 1995, we didn’t even know if we would ever make it to the actual brewing stage. Since opening in 1997, we have been fortunate to grow the Tröegs brand and increase our distribution into eight states. This new location will allow us to maintain our commitment to Central Pennsylvania and continue pursuing our brewing dreams in a state-of-the-art brewery with an expanded tasting room to give our customers an even greater beer experience.”

“Hershey is a special place, not just for people who call it home, but for the millions who come to visit each year,” said John. “We want to create an experience that compliments the other Hershey attractions, creating an even more vibrant and exciting destination for all visitors,” added Chris.

As part of the new facility, Tröegs Brewery will be installing a new brewhouse, fermenters and a kegging line. Once the new brewery is operational, all equipment will be moved from the Harrisburg plant to Hershey with no interruption to the beer production schedule. “Running two facilities simultaneously will create a series of challenges,” said John Trogner. “But we need to continue producing beer in our current location until the new location is completely operational.”

The Hershey facility will feature 5,000 square foot tasting room with the new brewhouse as the focal point of the room. The tasting room will open onto an outdoor seating area. “Visitors in our tasting room will be sitting literally in the middle of the brewhouse, said Chris Trogner. “They will be able to watch our brewers in action.”--JACK CURTIN

June 18, 2010 - Victory Brewing Teams Up with Philadelphia Tourism Office for Summer Love Ale
Amidst all the new beers introduced for Philly Beer Week, the one with perhaps the greatest impact and importance for the craft beer scene in the Delaware Valley was somewhat under the radar because of all the excitement.

Victory Brewing teamed up with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) and its "With Love, Philadelphia XOXO" campaign to release Summer Love Ale, a brand-new brew which made its debut on June 4 at the Opening Tap event.

Summer Love Ale features a "super adorable, super fun label" says Caroline Bean of the Philadelphia Tourism Office. "We’re in the second year of the With Love initiative and we’ve always promoted Philadelphia’s beer scene as part of why the city is a draw for visitors, so the Summer Love Ale is a perfect fit."

Victory’s Bill Covaleski reports that "Summer Love starts with an all-German malt base upon which we overlaid crisp German hops for that familiar, import quality that some many beer drinkers find attractive and comfortable. Then we put bright, lemony Citra hops, grown here in the US, into the mix for an exciting aroma to start and refreshing and enduring finish."

Summer Love Ale will be available at locales throughout the region and also in Victory markets across the country.--JACK CURTIN

June 17, 2010 - ExPorter Will Return Next Year (in Barrels)
It turns out that Sierra Nevada Exporter, the "Ball Tic" Porter brewed at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, California last April and released during Philly Beer Week last week, will make an major return to the local market at some point in the undetermined future, this time as a barrel-aged version aged by Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California.

A band of 12 local beer elites traveled to Chico April 15-16 to concoct and brew the special one-off beer. They included Philly Beer Week honchos Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe, Bruce Nichols of the HeadHouse and beer writer Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, the PBW executive director; publicans Fergus Carey (Monk's Cafe, Fergie's Pub), Brendan Hartranft (Memphis Taproom, Local 44, Resurrection Ale House), Terry McNally (London Grill), Andy Dickerson (Teresa's Next Door), Mike "Scoats" Scotese (Grey Lodge Pub) and Brad Martin (Isaac Newton's); retailers Matt Guyer (The Beer Yard) and Greg Ramirez (Exton Beverage), and beer writer Lew Bryson.

News of the barrel-aged version, a well kept secret for a while, first came in a comical posting on the beer menu at Teresa's Next Door during PBW (that text can be read here).

"We brewed four 10 barrel batches of the ExPorter at Sierra Nevada," Peters explained to the Beer Yard earlier today. "It was the largest batch they ever produced for a Beer Camp. They must like us guys from Philly. They kegged 25 of those barrels for consumption this year---it went to the 12 miscreants who attended beer camp and some for their brewery-attached restaurant." The remaining barrels are being sent to Russian River next week for a year of barrel-aging.

The original idea was to do the barrel aging at Sierra Nevada, Peters said. "The barrel part was fine with everyone, but having brettanomyces in their brewery gave some people pause, understandably so. After a day of discussions, Terence Sullivan (Sierra Nevada's brewmaster) offered the idea of sending it to Vinnie. I, of course. loved the idea, but we wanted to be sure that the focus of the project remained on Sierra Nevada and told Terence to sleep on the idea just to be sure that everyone at SN was cool with the concept. Terence phoned me the next day and said that Ken Grossman thought it was a great idea. Sold!"

The day after brew day, Peters and Carey drove to Santa Rosa and the Russian River brewery. "Vinnie and I discussed what type of barrel to use and the first thought was to employ a used Supplication barrel, but Vinnie thought the beer might take on too much of a Russian River character," Peters said. "We all wanted to keep the focus on Sierra Nevada, so we went to another building to look at some of Vinnie's recently arrived wine barrels. He thought the Syrah barrel might be good, but I thought it had too much of a black pepper aroma. then he fired up the fork lift and brought down some DuMol barrels---Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir barrels had a great aroma that I thought would really work well and after Vinnie looked at the the ExPorter recipe, he agreed they would be perfect."

Cilurzo will decide what "special little critters" will be added to the barrel and at what point in time, Peters concluded. "He is a master at that, you know."--JACK CURTIN

June 14, 2010 - The HeadHouse Opens in Society Hill
It wasn't a Philly Beer Week event per se, but it certainly made the week for one of the PBW founders.

Bruce Nichols, who created the ten-day event with Monk's Cafe's Tom Peters and beer writer Don Russell three years ago, joined with established restaurateur Madame Saito to debut The HeadHouse at 122 Lombard Street in historic Society Hill on Thursday, June 10.

The new venue will carry more than 100 bottled beers and have 20 taps. It will feature "beer-friendly cuisine," Nichols said. "Beer is truly one of my great passions, and I am thrilled to open The HeadHouse to share that passion."

Nichols, who also owns Museum Catering, says he first fell in love with beer while hosting tutored tastings with the legendary Michael Jackson every March for 18 years, until Jackson’s passing in 2007. Drawing from his personal knowledge and top-level industry sources, Nichols created The HeadHouse’s beer list with a core focus on local craft beers and a variety of other selections from around the world.

The HeadHouse will be centered around a distressed copper bar and feature rust-colored tiling to create an old-is-new feel. The second floor will include a versatile private event venue, including an additional 12-tap bar.

Museum Catering was created in 1989 and has handled events both at the Penn Museum and other exclusive venues across the region. Madame Saito is a recognized master of Japanese, Thai and French culinary techniques and has owned Le Champignon de Tokio, which features both French and Japanese cuisine, for 30 years. The HeadHouse is located next door to Le Champignon in a building she owns.

More information can be found here.--JACK CURTIN

June 04, 2010 - Philly Beer Week, June 4-13, 2010
Philly Beer Week 2010 officially opens tonight at 8pm when Mayor Michael Nutter taps the initial keg of BS1,a special beer created for the event by "Brotherly Suds," consisting of brewers from Sly Fox Brewing, Stoudt's Brewing, Troegs Brewing, Victory Brewing and Yards Brewing, five of the area's top breweries.

But the fun will begin long before that as venues all across the Delaware Valley offer the first of what the organizers say will be 1000 events at 195 different venues before it's all over.

The success of the initial Philly Beer Week in March 2008 has inspired similar celebrations in more than a dozen other cities around the nation but none of them are anywhere near the scope of what goes on locally. Industry observers credit an infrastructure of neighborhood bars and taverns and the region's vibrant and knowledgeable beer culture for a record of success which has made PBW a major attraction for the area and reaped it extensive coverage in mainstream media both locally and nationally.

An example of the impact that Philadelphia's self-proclaimed reputation as "the nation's best beer-drinking city" has had on both the economy and local pride is the recently announced joint effort by Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. and Victory Brewing to create With Love Philadelphia XOXO Victory Summer Love Ale.

A complete schedule for PBW events can be found here. It can be personalized in various fashions and an iPhone app is available which will allow users to plan activities, follow specific brewers or beers or merely keep up with what's happening.

And, come to think of it, that last is probably the strongest indicator of all that PBW is the largest celebration of beer in the U.S.--JACK CURTIN

May 26, 2010 - Pabst Finds a Buyer
C. Dean Metropoulos, the former chairman and chief executive officer of New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods, which he sold last year for more than $2 billion, is reportedly paying $250 million to purchase Pabst Brewing Company, says the Wall Street Journal. MillerCoors will presumably continue to brew the beers, since their contract isn't up for renewal until 2015.

Pabst Brewing Co. is currently owned by the non-profit Kamanovitz Trust, which the IRS declared repeatedly since 1996 couldn't own a for-profit business. The IRS continued to grant extensions until this year, when they finally said no more. The Trust originally asked $600+ million for the company,with no takers.--JACK CURTIN

May 24, 2010 - Sly Fox Will Release Oktoberfest Lager in Cans
Sly Fox Brewing Company announced today that it will release its Oktoberfest Lager in cans for the first this August. It will be sixth canned beer offered by Sly Fox and the second this year. Rt. 113 Ii3 IPA debuted in cans in April.

Last week, the Sly Fox brewery in Royersford completed another brewing first, a run of The Brewer's Art Resurrection Ale in cans for the first time. The Brewer's Art brews its packaged products under contract in Royersford, all them in 750ml, corked and caged bottles until now.--JACK CURTIN

May 21, 2010 - Nine Major Festivals Featured During Philly Beer Week
As noted in one of our Store Notes, keeping up with the 850 and counting (!!) events for Philly Beer Week is beyond our limited resources, but we will do the best we can, mostly during PBW itself on a daily basis.

With that in mind we are doing something very rare, posting a (relatively) unedited news release from the PBW organization, as a service to our readers. It lists several of the major events of the 10-day celebration.

PHILADELPHIA, PA The third-annual Philly Beer Week (PBW) which celebrates the region's vibrant beer culture has just announced this year's list of beer festivals nine in all from June 4 to June 13. New this year is The Forum of the Gods, a spirited afternoon of beer talk, beer drinking and big names in brewing, with all proceeds going to benefit PBW. Over 180 bars, restaurants and breweries will host over 865 events during Philly Beer Week 2010.

The Forum will be held on Thursday, June 10 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Johnny Brenda's (Frankford and Girard Avenues). Tickets are available now online at www.phillybeerweek.org and are $25 per person, which includes beer from each of the four participating speakers. The panel will include: Jim Koch of Boston Beer and Samuel Adams; Phil Markowski of Southampton Publick House; Tom Kehoe of Yards Brewing and Wendy Yeungling of D.G. Yeungling & Son. The forum will be moderated by PBW Executive Director Don 'Joe Sixpack' Russell.

Other major events will include:

Friday, June 4: Opening Tap: The kick-off to Philly Beer Week. The best and only way to experience the region's incredibly diverse beer-drinking culture in one place at one time; representatives from 31 area breweries will showcase their best offerings and beers made for Philly Beer Week. $40 per person; 7:30 p.m.; Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market Streets.

Saturday, June 5: Philadelphia Global Beer Expo: Featuring a host of great beers from around the world, the global beer expo brings the best of non-local beers to Philadelphia. $45 per person; 12 noon to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Simeone Automotive Museum, 6825 Norwitch Drive.

Saturday, June 5: International Great Beer Expo: An international beer tasting event that highlights some 50+ brewers and 100+ beers from such diverse countries as Belgium, Japan and the United States. $45 per person in advance; $60 per person at the door; 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at the Navy Yard; 5100 South Broad Street.

Saturday, June 5: German Bierfest: A family-friendly day of outdoor beer tasting with a host of German and German-style beers. $30 per person; 12 noon; German Society of Pennsylvania; 611 Spring Garden Street.

Sunday, June 6: Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em: An indoor/outdoor beer-and-BBQ extravaganza hosted by Yards Brewing Company, with 30+ smoked beers, food from 15 amateur BBQ chefs and additional catered goodies from Tommy Gunn's and Percy Street Barbecue. The Jazz Horses and the Kevin Hanson Trio will provide musical entertainment. $50 per person; 1 p.m.; Yards Brewing Company; 901 North Delaware Avenue.

Thursday, June 10: Forum of the Gods: An informal panel discussion featuring some of the biggest names in beer culture. $25 per person; 3 p.m.; Johnny Brenda's Upstairs; Frankford and Girard Avenues.

Friday, June 11: East vs. West Exotic Beer Tasting: A sampling event that pits East Coast and West Coast breweries against each other, with limited vintage aged brews and brewers' favorites featured. Live music and hors d'oeuvres will round out this once-in-a-lifetime event. $60 per person; 7 p.m.; Stoudt's Brewery; 2800 North Reading Road, Adamstown, PA.

Saturday, June 12: 20th Annual Michael Jackson Tutored Tasting: This year's "Beer as Art"-themed tastings will be led by renowned expert Randy Mosher and will include a one hour tutored tasting followed by open sessions with 50+ beers. $50 per person; 12 noon 3 p.m., 4 p.m. 7 p.m., 8 p.m. 11 p.m.; HeadHouse restaurant; 122 Lombard Street.

Sunday, June 13: 2nd Annual Zythos America: Belgium's greatest beer event comes to Philadelphia for the second year, with more than a dozen of that country's top brewers scheduled to appear. $65 per person; 12 noon 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. 7 p.m.; Penn Museum; 3260 South Street.

PBW is an annual celebration of beer culture that includes tastings in cozy neighborhood taprooms of locally crafted brews, educational offerings such as guided tastings and lectures and prix-fixe beer-pairing dinners across the region. The largest event of its kind in the nation, it was spawned a host of similar events across the country and remains, in its third year, the premier beer festival in America, set in "America's Best Beer-Drinking City."--JACK CURTIN

May 21, 2010 - Beer in Cans: A Beer Yard Special Report
The only craft beers in cans on the Beer Yard shelves at the end of 2009 were those from Oscar Blues Brewing Co., Sly Fox Brewing Co., Butternuts Beer & Ale and 21st Amendment Brewery. Since then, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Breckenridge Brewing Co., Caldera Brewing Co., Central City Brewing Co and Cisco Brewing Co. have all joined the ranks of U.S. craft breweries canning one or more of their beers and sending them our way (among the latter will be a new Lancaster Brewing Kolsch).

Indeed, it seems likely we will christen 2010 The Year of the Can in craft brewing.

When Sly Fox Brewing began packaging its beers in 2006 and chose 120z cans as the primary package, it was something of a shock to the sensibilities of some local dedicated beer geeks who had always associated canned beer with the mass market bland brews of Anheuser-Busch, Coors and Miller, and especially with some of the cheaper alternatives to same. Yes, Colorado’s Oskar Blues had introduced Dale’s Pale Ale in cans back in 2002 and there was nobody saying anything bad about that beer, but still….

It all seems a long time ago now, doesn’t it? Dale’s Pale Ale was named the "Top American Pale Ale" by the New York Times in 2005 and has been chosen as the "World’s Best Canned Beer" by Details magazine. Oskar Blues Gordon, a canned Imperial Red Ale, won a Word Beer Cup Bronze Medal in 2008. And Sly Fox Pikeland Pils became the first craft beer in a can ever to win a Gold Medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival. Sly Fox beers are regularly listed among the best in the Delaware Valley.

The first canned beer appeared in 1935 when German immigrant brewer Gottfried Krueger released Kreuger’s Special Beer from his Newark, NJ brewery. He did a test run involving 2000 drinkers two years earlier and was worried that the packaging might damage the image of his brand. His worries proved unfounded; Kreuger Brewing sold 200 million 11oz cans of beer by the end 1935. The next year, the canning concept took hold in Europe and by 1937 there were 23 breweries in England alone canning their beers.

The primary argument against canned beer is that the can imparts a metallic taste. This was true of the original tin cans of our grandfathers’ and fathers’ era, but the modern can is made of aluminum and the insides of most cans and lids used for high-end craft beers have a sprayed coating, ensuring that there is absolutely no contact between the beer and the aluminum. Still not convinced? Think of it this way: draught beer is housed in a metal keg and a can is but a mini-version of same.

the arguments for cans are numerous. Cans completely block out sunlight and artificial light, both of which erode a beer's flavor; they don't take up much room and are easy to stack in the refrigerator; they don't break; they can go where bottles cannot, such as golf courses, beaches, concert venues, beaches and swimming pools; they are ideal for backpacking, fishing, hiking, camping, rafting and other outdoor activities; cans are just plain cool, retro outside and craft inside.

More than 80 American breweries offer at least one beer in a can today, breweries with respected names like Avery, Brewer’s Art (brewed and canned at Sly Fox), Boulder, Breckenridge. New Belgium and Harpoon are among them, or soon will be. Banning the can from your drinking options, as the kids say, is so 20th Century.—JACK CURTIN

May 17, 2010 - American Craft Beer Week Celebrates Fifth Birthday May 17-23
Somewhat lost in all the local attention devoted to the forthcoming first-ever Philly Beer Week in June is the fact that May 17-23 is officially American Craft Beer Week.

Beer lovers, craft brewers, homebrewers, beer distributors, retailers and even U.S. Congress are all doing special things during the week, which was organized by the Brewers Association. It is the largest national effort focusing on American craft brewers every year.

A House of Representatives resolution, H.R. 1297, was introduced on April 22 to recognize and support the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week, highlighting the role that craft brewers play in their communities,including the estimated 100,000 jobs in the industry–and the resurgence in a rich brewing culture not seen since before Prohibition.

American Craft Brew Week was created in 2006 and more than 200 breweries formally participated last year.--JACK CURTIN

May 09, 2010 - Philly Beer Week 2010 Aims To Set A New Standard
The schedule of events to be held during the third annual Philly Beer Week, which has been moved to June after two spectacular showings in March, indicates that the the June 4-13 celebration of "America's best beer-drinking city" will set the bar even higher for the 20-plus Beer Weeks around the nation which were inspired by their initial venture in 2008.

The excitement starts, as it should, with beers.

A special PBW beer has been brewed for the first time, done at Sly Fox Brewery in Royersford by brewmaster Brian O'Reilly, Stoudt's Brett Kintzer, Troegs' John Trogner, Victory's Bill Covaleski and Yards' Tom Kehoe. BS1 is a hoppy 6% ESB-style beer and will be be tapped at the June 4 Opening Tap event by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and then be available at various venues throughout the week. Another new beer with a local touch to be released during the week will be the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Baltic Porter created by 12 local beer celebrities in April (see story below). The city's famed gastropub, The Standard Tap, will again release its annual Standard Ale (a Porter this year) on opening night; the beer is brewed by The Tap's William Reed and O'Reilly at Sly Fox and is cask only.

Yards will be bringing back Grodziski, a rarely brewed Polish Wheat beer which it introduced last year, and there are tentative plans for Kehoe and former partner Jon Bovit to brew a batch of the original Yards ESA on the original 3bbl brewing system which has been rebuilt in a corner of the new brewery.

Saturday, June 5, will center around two events with very similar names, The Philadelphia Global Beer Exposition and the International Great Beer Expo, happening at the same time. The following weekend will feature the three-session Michael Jackson Tasting, hosted by Randy Mosher, which will be cut back in size this year because of a smaller venue, and the second Zythos America at the University of Pennsylvania, bringing a facsimile of Belgium's best beer festival to these shores.

In addition to all the locals, there will be a slew of visiting brewers in town, including at least a dozen from Belgium. A bit of history will unfold at Monk's Cafe on June 8, which will have Frank Boon of Boon, Armand Debelder of Drie Fonteinen, and Jean Van Roy of Cantillon as guests for an all-Lambic beer dinner featuring their beers; Brian Morin of the beerbistro in Toronto will fly down to assist in the kitchen. Three days later, Marco Passarella from Brouwerij St. Bernardus, Nathalie Eloir from Brasserie des Rocs (one of two female brewers in Belgium) and Michael Pelsser, marketing director Abbaye du Val Dieu, will be the same venue at noon for a cash bar event.

Out in the suburbs, the Phoenixville Pub Crawl, which filled the streets of that very beer-savvy town and was probably the largest PBW event outside the city proper last year, will be back on June 5; that same, Kennett Square will be holding a Beers on Broad Street Festival, hoping to attract the same masses who attend its popular fall beer fest every year.

Teresa's Next Door in Wayne will have daily events of various sorts, including the Friday night return of Chimay's legendary beer rep, Luc "Bobo" Van Mechelen, on June 11, who has become one of the PBW legends. TJ's Restaurant & Drinkery in Paoli also has a full schedule, with one highlight being the June 12 appearance of James Watt, owner of Scotland's BrewDog. They will be pouring Bashah, an American Strong Ale created and brewed by BrewDog with Stone Brewing.

And across the Delaware River in New Jersey, the emerging beer scene in the wake of the opening of the eighth Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant location last summer has inspired a Haddon Township Pub Crawl to eight locations on June 5.

All these merely touch on the surface of what is the largest beer event in the country, involving dozens of venues and hundreds of event. Look for further updates here and on the Beer Yard calendar.--JACK CURTIN

May 03, 2010 - Dax Repeats As Winner of Annual Sly Fox Goat Race
Dax became the first two-time winner of the annual Sly Fox Bock Fest Goat Race yesterday at the relocated Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville's Maple Lawn Shopping Center in front of a record crowd that Pete Giannopoulos, who founded the pub in 1995, estimated at "more than 5,000 people."

The winning goat, owned by Tana Goodshall and raced by Karl Lorah, firmly established himself in Sly Fox lore, not only because he is the first repeat winner (in nine races), but because he now has the distinction, likely never to be duplicated, of winning the last race at the former location in Pikeland Village Square and the first one in the new location.

As is the tradition, the 2010 Sly Fox Maibock was named in honor of the winner and tapped at race's end. Dax received a Gold Medal to wear around his neck; his owner's received a $75 gift card which is good at the pub and also Sly Fox Brewery & Restaurant & Royersford.

Raul, a perennial contender, took the Silver Medal and Huxley, a stablemate of Dax, won the bronze. Actually, "stablemate" is a misnomer, says Lorah, since the pair are "free-range goats." About the only negative of the unseasonable hot and sunny afternoon for many local attendees was that Lorah, as he had last year, sported a New York Giants shirt.

Perhaps as impressive as Dax's performance was the fact that Sly Fox managed to put together the complex event and races in little over a week after opening at the new location. "The brewery's not even fully hooked up yet," laughed brewmaster Brian O'Reilly, "and we're still figuring out where to put things, but there was no way we were not going to hold the festival and run the goats."--JACK CURTIN

April 30, 2010 - Philadelphia Magazine Cites Beer Yard, Local Venues in "City of Brotherly Brew" Article
The May 2010 issue of Philadelphia Magazine which will hit the stands next week cites The Beer Yard as one of the five "Best Bars for Unusual Finds" (noting that it is not a bar, but...) in "The City of Brotherly Brews," an article about the local beer scene.

The Drafting Room in Exton joins the Beer Yard on the "Unusual Finds" list; Craft Ale House in Limerick and Capone's Restaurant in West Norriton are on the list of five under "Best Bars for American Craft Ales," and Teresa's Next Door of Wayne and TJ's Restaurant & Drinkery in Paoli are two of five "Best Bars for International Brews."

The main story features "The Founders" and lists Monk's Tom Peters, the HeadHouse's Bruce Nichols and beer writer Don Russell as "the Organizers;" Yards Tom Kehoe as "The Brewmaster;" Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda's William Reed as "The Bar Owner;" Suzanne "Beer Lass" Woods as "The Blogger," and Victory Brewing's Ron Barchet & Bill Covaleski as"The Brewmasters."--JACK CURTIN

April 28, 2010 - Drafting Room Spring House Closes, Chain's Tax Payments Under Investigation
The poor economy has claimed another victim, a popular craft beer bar in Montgomery County.

The Drafting Room in Spring House, which has served beer lovers for ten years, has shuttered its doors. The original Drafting Room in Exton and the Brick House Grill in Eagleview remain open for business.

Meanwhile, the Daily Local News of West Chester is reporting this morning that Andrew Weintraub, corporate officer of Drafting Room Inc., has been charged by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with "failing to remit sales taxes collected and employee income taxes withheld at his businesses."

That news story can be read here.

April 26, 2010 - Sly Fox Completes Move, Opens New Phoenixville Brewpub
No sooner had the final permit been put into his hands by local officials last Friday afternoon than co-founder and owner Pete Giannopoulos looked around the room as said, "we're open."

With that, Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery completed its move across Rt. 113 to its brand new location in the Maple Shade Shopping Center. The first beers were in the hands of eager regulars within minutes; many had been stopping by every day since the original location shut down at the close of business on Sunday, April 18, to begin the transfer to the other side of Rt. 113.

The new Sly Fox has 20 taps, three handpumps, a larger bar with an automated growler filler and a lot of additional space all located on one level and will be much more efficient, Giannopoulos said. The first order of business is to get that growler filler operating and the relocated brewery all hooked up, says Brewmaster Brian O'Reilly.

Sly Fox will christen its new home this Sunday, May 2, with one of its--and the region's--major annual beer events, the Bock Festival and Goat Race which marks the release of its Maibock, the name of which is taken from the goat who wins the race. That will begin at 11am with the races starting at 2pm and the Maibock tapped immediately after the championship heat.--JACK CURTIN

April 26, 2010 - Fritz Maytag Sells Anchor Brewing to Griffin Group
San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company, the entity that Fritz Maytag saved from closing back in 1965 and which became the de facto first craft brewery in the United States, has been sold.

The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on beverage alcohol brands, announced today its acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company which includes its portfolio of craft beers and artisan spirits, including the award winning Anchor Steam Beer. The Griffin Group is led by beverage alcohol veterans, Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, two longtime San Francisco residents who have been working with Anchor Brewing Company’s owner, Fritz Maytag to maintain the iconic brewery and distillery in San Francisco.

"Anchor Brewing Company has a long history in San Francisco and The Griffin Group is ushering in an exciting era while maintaining our proud, time-honored history," said Fritz Maytag. "Combining Keith and Tony’s passion for the Anchor Brewing Company, their industry experience and expertise only means that Anchor will be enjoyed in San Francisco for generations to come."

"Since 1896, Anchor Brewing Company has been an icon of San Francisco’s history and culture," stated Greggor. Anchor Brewers & Distillers intends to establish a “Center of Excellence” in San Francisco for craft brewers and artisan distillers from around the world. "San Francisco is the perfect place to establish this center," said Foglio. Continuing the Anchor heritage, Mr. Maytag has been named Chairman Emeritus of Anchor Brewers & Distillers.

The Griffin Group operates as both boutique merchant and investment bank for premiere craft beers and artisan spirits. In addition to the Anchor Beers, The Griffin Group will assume control of the spirits brands including Old Potrero Whiskey, Junipero Gin and Genevieve Gin through the acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company. Additional affiliated companies to be held under Anchor Brewers & Distillers include Preiss Imports, a leading US specialist spirits and beer importer, and BrewDog USA, LLC, the US division of the leading UK craft beer.--JACK CURTIN

April 21, 2010 - $450,000 Grant May Be Breakthrough for Proposed Victory Brewpub in Easton
The Easton Express Times reported last week that state funding is likely to help the long delayed Victory Square Brewpub in Easton get rolling again.

A story by reporter Edware Sieger said that the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Financing Authority awarded a $450,000 grant to the Easton Redevelopment Authority a week ago today that will be used for the proposed pub at 325 Northampton St., the former site of the Weller Health Education Center.

Emmaus restaurateur Arthur Schmidt is partnering with Chester County-based Victory Brewing Co. to develop a roughly 300-seat brewpub in the Weller Health Education Center in the 300 block of Northampton Street. Raising private financing has proved difficult in the current economic climate, wrote Sieger, "in part, because the brewpub is considered a start-up business despite Schmidt’s and Victory’s experience. The low-interest $450,000 loan is expected to help secure private financing.--JACK CURTIN

April 21, 2010 - New 60-Tap Venue Coming to University City
City Tap House will open at 3925 Walnut Street in University City on May 10 and will offer the region’s largest selection of draught beers – 60 taps in all – and a menu of American pub fare. It will feature extensive open-air seating on two terraces and a row of five stone fire pits overlooking Walnut Street combined with the rich, rustic feel of a mountain lodge.

The new venue is owned by Gary Cardi, Chris Coco, Brian Harrington and Frank Falesto and will be located on the second level of The Radian, a pristine new landmark building just steps from the campuses of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

The restaurant will feature a large island bar with all 60 taps, a 120-seat dining room, an open kitchen and two expansive outdoor terraces. There will also be two semi-private dining grottoes, and an elevated semi-private lounge with up to 12 dedicated taps from the adjacent walk-in keg cooler.

The restaurant’s draught beer list will include a large number of seasonal choices, selected to complement the menu while turning guests on to what might be their new favorite brew. A host of local brews, including hard-to-find, limited-production ales and lagers, will be the heart of the seasonal beer menu.--JACK CURTIN

April 18, 2010 - Dogfish Head, Victory Again Ranked Among Top 50 US Craft Breweries
Dogfish Head Brewing Co. was 16th and Victory Brewing Co. was 30th on the list of America's Top 50 Craft Breweries in 2009 which was released by the Brewers Association last week.

The rankings marked the upward trend of both breweries: DFH was listed 22nd in 2008 and Victory was 35th. Among the Top 50 Breweries overall in 2009 , DFH was listed 24th and Victory 41st.

The top five craft breweries according to the list were, in order, Boston Beer Co,, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co., Spoetzl Brewing Co. (Shiner) and Pyramid Breweries Inc.

D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. finished fourth on the overall list, just ahead of Boston Beer, making it the largest American-owned brewery based on 2009 beer sales.

You can find both lists in their entirety here.--JACK CURTIN

April 14, 2010 - Sly Fox Announces Closing of Old Location
In a Newsletter sent out today, Sly Fox Beer announced that Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery, located in Pikeland Village Square on Rt. 113 just outside Phoenixville proper will shut down at the end of business on Sunday night, April 18.

The business will reopen on a yet unscheduled date--pending inspections, permits and a Certificate of Occupancy--in the near future in the Maple Shade Shopping Center on the other side of Rt. 113. The brewery itself has already been moved to the new site.

Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery opened in late December 1995 and has grown to one of the region's most successful and popular breweries, including a production brewery and restaurant which opened in Royersford in 2004.

The final weekend of business at the present location will be a long "farewell party," representatives of Sly Fox say. Details will be forthcoming.--JACK CURTIN

April 12, 2010 - Grey Lodge Pub founder buys the Blue Ox Bistro
Mike "Scoats" Scotese, the guy who turned a blue collar neighborhood tappie into a craft beer destination that was cited by Esquire Magazine as one of the 50 best bars in the United States a few years back, is expanding his craft beer presence in Philadelphia's Northeast section.

The popular owner of the Grey Lodge Pub on Frankford Avenue has purchased the Blue Ox Bistro at 7980 Oxford Avenue in the Fox Chase section. Papers sealing the deal were signed this afternoon and he will reopen the site as the Hop Angel Brauhaus late this summer.

The purchase was for the business only; the building is owned by Tekla Grund, who, with her late husband Walter, ran the Blue Ox Brauhaus there for decades, and dates back to 1683, making it one year younger than the city itself. The location was noted for German beer and food for over a century. Phil Magee and a partner acquired the business in 2006, renaming and Americanizing it and keeping just a smattering of German items on the menu. That effort struggled from the start and the doors closed roughly two months ago.

"We've been looking at this since last November and originally considering buying into Phil's business but that didn't work out," Scoats told The Beer Yard late Sunday night. "We will be respecting the heritage of the location with a German menu and a beer list which is heavy on German style beers, whether from Germany itself or the U.S. I'm very comfortable with that. We've done a series of 'Munich in Mayfair' events at the Grey Lodge and the German specialties on the menu for those have just flown out of the kitchen and the beer sales were excellent."

The new location has seating for 150 as opposed the 90 seats at the Grey Lodge. "Given the added space, I'm pretty sure we will be doing some beer and food events there eventually," Scoats promised.

The move takes inventive publican five miles deeper into the Greater Northeast, perhaps Philadelphia's last remaining craft beer wasteland. Changing that dynamic might be difficult ,but it's probably not wise to bet against the guy whose inspired beer-centric celebrations such as Friday the Firkinteenth and the annual Groundhog Day Hawaiian Shirt Beer Breakfast/Lucky Cat Day Beer Prognostication have become actual holidays for local beer aficionados.--JACK CURTIN

April 11, 2010 - 2010 World Cup Was Largest Commercial Beer Competition Ever
The 2010 World Cup proved to be the largest commercial beer competition ever as 642 breweries from 44 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states vied for awards with 3,330 beers entered in 90 beer style categories. The record numbers topped those of the Brewers Association's own Great American Beer Festival. There were 3,308 entries judged in the 2009 GABF, compared to the 2010 World Beer Cup's 3,330 entries judged.

Entries in each category were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards. Judges presented a total of 268 awards. Ten of those awards and Large Brewpub of the Year honors went to Delaware Valley brewers ( see previous story during last night’s announcements of the winners.

The United States had the most entries (2371) and won the most medals (204). California with 395 entries and 45 medals was the leading state. The largest category for entries was Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer with 115.

The World Cup is held every other year in conjunction with the annual Craft Brewers Conference. This was the eighth bi-annual competition. A complete list of winners is online.——JACK CURTIN

April 10, 2010 - Iron Hill Named World Beer Cup Large Brewpub of the Year
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant won two Gold, a Silver and two Bronze medals in the World Beer Cup judging in Chicago yesterday to garner recognition as the Brewers Association World Beer Cup 2010 Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Large Brewpub category.

Iron Hill took Gold for its Raspberry Torte (American-style Sour Ale) and Russian Imperial Stout (British-style Imperial Stout); Silver for Crazy Ivan (also British-style Imperial Stout), and Bronzes for Abbey Dubbel (Belgian-style Dubbel) and Lambic de Hill (Belgian-style Sour Ale).

Troegs Brewing added a third Gold to the awards for Delaware Valley breweries with Troegenator (German-Style Bock), while Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant took a Silver for Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse (German-Style Sour Ale).

Three other local breweries earned Bronze medals: Yards ESA in the Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter category, Weyerbacher Merry Monk’s Ale in the Belgian-Style Tripel category and Dogfish Head Red & White in the Experimental Beer category.

The complete list of winners can be found here.—JACK CURTIN

April 08, 2010 - Brewers Association 2010 Achievement Award Winners Announced in Chicago
Larry Bell, Ken Grossman and Steve Hindy were recognized with awards for their dedication and service to the industry at the opening session of the Brewers Association's annual Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago today.

Bell,who founded Michigan's Bell's Brewery in 1985, won the BA Recognition Award; Bell's was the earliest craft brewery in the eastern half of the United States. "Larry is a leader in our industry known for his innovative beers and the passion he brings to craft brewing," said Brewers Association Board of Directors Chair Nick Matt, CEO of Matt Brewing Company. The winner of the Recognition Award each year is made by the board of directors voting on nominees suggested by the membership.

Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. 30 year ago, was presented the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing, honoring his leadership in technical brewing science for craft brewers. He is still deeply involved in technical brewing projects at Sierra Nevada and has led numerous initiatives in the area of sustainability and beer quality. This award was first given in 1997 to honor Russell Schehrer, who died in 1996 at 38 years old, for his contributions to the brewing industry. Schehrer was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado's first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co. BA brewery members submit nominations every year and the winner is chosen from the slate of nominees by a vote of the previous award winners.

Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery, was given the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award. Hindy recently testified in a Congressional hearing to communicate how state franchise laws can hinder the ability for small brewers to grow their businesses and how self-distribution is important to many small brewers to develop their access to market. The F.X. Matt Award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt (1933-2001), president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and chairman from 1989-2001.--JACK CURTIN

April 06, 2010 - Evil Genius Brewing Will Enter Local Market This Summer
A pair of grad students pursuing their MBAs at Villanova University will also be pursuing their niche in the local beer market in the near future.

Luke Bowen of West Grove and Trevor Howard of Dublin, Ireland, who met on the Main Line campus, plan to launch Evil Genius Brewing Company this summer. Their first beer will be a 4.5% Kölsch, contract brewed at Swashbuckler Brewing Company in Manheim.

They expect to begin construction of their own production brewery near West Chester shortly and are purchasing a 30bbl brewhouse and bottling line capable of handling both 12oz and 22oz bottles.

”We’re both homebrewers who love craft beers and have been working on this business for about eight months now,” Bowen told The Beer Yard this afternoon. “We’ve done a lot of research and Mark Braunwarth, the brewmaster at Swashbuckler, was particularly helpful and helped us develop some recipes.”

They will add new beers and a series of seasonals once that plant is up and running and will self-distribute to start but are already in discussions with wholesalers, Bowen explained. The target market will be not only craft beer drinkers but also “mainstream drinkers who are looking for a bit more flavor, young professionals who are drinking Amstel Light and looking for something better.”

Evil Genius has adequate funding in hand and is awaiting licensing approval, Bowen said. “Once we have that, we plan to do a huge launch party at one of the bars in West Chester and launch our website.”—JACK CURTIN

April 02, 2010 - Philly Beer Week 2010 Will Begin With Traditional Opening Tap Event on June 4
Details of the the third-annual Philly Beer Week are beginning to be revealed.

The first two Beer Weeks took place in March, essentially filling the slot held for nearly two decades by The Book and The Cook, but PBW 2010 will kick-off on Friday, June 4, in the Independence Visitors Center (6th and Market Streets) with the traditional Opening Tap event, featuring more than 25 regional breweries whose beer helps make Philadelphia "the best beer-drinking city in America."

As it has in previous years, Opening Tap will be marked by opening remarks by Mayor Nutter and the ceremonial first tap using the official Philly Beer Week keg mallet (affectionately known as the Hammer of Glory). That will be followed by a strolling beer tasting on two levels. "This is a one-of-a-kind event featuring our local breweries and their beers, as well as the men and women who create them," says Don Russell, Executive Director of PBW. "It's only fitting that we kick off a celebration of America's best beer-drinking city in the shadow of the birthplace of America."

Several other major PBW events, some which were held previously at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, will apparently now be held at a new venue at Fifth and Fairmount named the Philly Beer Week Circus (at least for the 10 days of the event). These will reportedly include the new Philadelphia Global Beer Expo, the 20th Annual Jackson Tutored Tastings and the 2nd Annual Zythos America .

The Jackson Tastings, hosted by beer expert and writer Randy Mosher, were original scheduled for this past March at the Museum but canceled and moved to June. They have also been reduced from three sessions to two according to listings at phillybeerfests.com.--JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2010 - World’s Oldest Beer Discovered For Umpteenth Time
Scientists and historians around the world were stunned last week by a bombshell announcement from Biomolecular Archeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania.

McGovern, author of Uncorking the Past and a frequent collaborator with Dogfish Head Brewing Company in recreating ancient beverages, revealed that he had discovered residue of “the world’s first beer” at an undisclosed location which he said had been the site of the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, he argued, one of the basic tenets of the world’s oldest story seems to have been distorted over the years.

“Based on my evidence,” McGovern told his peers at a professional gathering, “the serpent did not tempt Eve with an apple but with a bland and tasteless macro-lager. Adam and Eve had been having a fine old time just lounging around naked and drinking this good craft beer before that; once she had the macro, she became ashamed, started wearing clothes and everything went downhill from there.”

Eve’s donning of clothing was “apparently a sad moment,” McGovern added. “We also managed to piece together fragments of Adam’s diary and he described her as a real fox. The again, he could have just been wearing beer goggles.”

Dogfish Head will attempt to recreate the ancient beverage as they have earlier McGovern discoveries. Owner Sam Calagione admitted that “we will only be able to produce about a single growler because of the rarity of the ingredients, so virtually no one will ever get to taste it. But this is not just a publicity stunt, as I will explain in my book and video about the project.”

Calagione also announced that he hoped to brew the new/old beer in collaboration with the Original Brewer. “We’re in negotiations,” he acknowledged. “The big hang up seems to be whether we’ll do it at our place or His.”—NUNTU CERTIN

April 01, 2010 - PLCB Bans "Beers With Difficult Names” From PA Shelves
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said this morning that “brewers have been abusing the registration system by coming up with names that are too hard for us to deal with” and that a new directive will be issued to solve the problem.

Arguing that the PLCB was blameless in recent raids on Philadelphia taverns and wholesalers wherein beers which were on the registration list were seized nonetheless “because it was just too confusing,” the spokesperson told a Harrisburg radio station that “brewers have an obligation to give their beers clear, simple names that our inspectors have heard before and can figure out, preferably names of one syllable or less.”

Starting in April, he said, the PLCB will reject registration for any beer that doesn’t meet that standard. “If we can’t spell it, we don't want in Pennsylvania. Why are brewers making so many beers anyway? What about the children?”

Asked how beers from other countries would be treated under the new standards, he added that “actually, we’re also going to be banning foreign beers pretty much across the board. If beer was meant to come from places like Belgium, Germany and England, that would have been written into the original law.” –BRAIN HURTIN’

April 01, 2010 - History Repeats Itself: Weyerbacher Again Sued for Beer Name
When Dan Weirback walked into his office last Friday, he found a note on a scrap of paper which had slipped under the door. It was a Cease & Desist order similar to one he’d received back in February from lawyers for Belgian brewer De Halve Maan, although this one was written in pencil and contained several misspellings.

The author, Blithering Idiot, is suing Weyerbacher, claiming that the use of his name on their barleywine has damaged him socially and economically and is likely to undermine his planned political career. “I is running becauze theirs always room for another blithering idiot in Congress,” the note explained.

The brewery will settle the case out of court, Weirback said. “Even though we’re pretty sure the name is both generic and used commonly, we don’t want to risk this becoming a class action suit on behalf of all the blithering idiots out there.” He said that the barleywine will be relabeled with “a name which captures the same essential meaning.” It will now be called “Dan's Beer.”—ZACK MURTIN

March 17, 2010 - Local Publicans, Retailers & Writers Will Attend Sierra Nevada Beer Camp in April
A baker's dozen of Philadelphia's craft beer elite are heading to Chico, CA April 15-16 to participate in a Sierra Nevada Beer Camp.

The group includes Philly Beer Week honchos Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe, Bruce Nichols of the forthcoming HeadHouse and beer writer Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, the new PBW executive director; publicans Fergus Carey (Monk's), Brendan Hartranft (Memphis Taproom, Local 44, Resurrection Ale House), Terry McNally (London Grill), Andy Dickerson (Teresa's Next Door), Mike "Scoats" Scotese (Grey Lodge Pub) and Brad Martin (Isaac Newton's); retailers Matt Guyer (The Beer Yard) and Greg Ramirez (Exton Beverage), and beer writer Lew Bryson.

The original concept for the Beer Camps was to invite personnel from major on-premise accounts around the country to go and spend a couple of days at Sierra Nevada. The first day was spent exploring the brewery, sampling beer, and learning about the history and future of Sierra Nevada,the second meeting one with the brewers in Sierra Nevada's research and development brewery, coming up with a recipe that the group wanted to brew and brewing the beer. Howard Weintraub of the The Drafting Room participated under those rules in August 2009.

While details are not yet available, the concept appears to have been broadened to include beer figures other than publicans and to now be focused on a particular city or region for each session. Previously, When the camp beer was ready, kegs were shipped back to the establishments involved and released there. Presumably, that will be the case for the Philadelphia contingent, or at least for those participants with outlets to sell the beer to be created this April.--JACK CURTIN

March 14, 2010 - Sly Fox Oktoberfest Named Grand Champion in USBTC Winter Judging
Sly Fox Oktoberfest was named the Grand Champion Vienna/Marzen Lager in the United States Beer Tasting Championship(USBTC) recently completed the Winter Competition of its 16th annual competition and Sly Fox Christmas Ale the best Spiced Ale in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast region.

Other local Mid-Atlantic/Southeast regional winners from the Delaware Valley were Victory Twelve in the Belgian-Style Ale and Victory Old Horizontal in the Barleywine category; Weyerbacher Blasphemy in the Barrel-Aged Beer category and Weyerbacher XIII in Belgo-American category, and McKenzie Wee Heavy in the Scottish-Style Ale category. General Lafayette 275th Anniversary Ale took Honorable Mention in Barleywine for its 275th Anniversary Ale and Lancaster Winter Warmer an Honorable Mention in Strong/Old Ale.

USBTC officials noted that Sly Fox's Brian O'Reilly is now the top brewer in two of the USBTC five lager categories.

This was the 16th annual USBTC competition. A total of 360 beers from 116 breweries were examined across 14 different beer categories. Within each category, the USBTC determined both a Grand Champion and the best entry from each of six U.S. regions: Northeast, id-Atlantic/Southeast, Midwest, Rockies/Southwest, California and Northwest/Pacific.

Sequential field trials are conducted in the competition wherein judges evaluate beers and select the best to advance to subsequent rounds. This allows beers to be judged in relatively small flights while ensuring that the best beers are still determined through head-to-head competition. All beers were tasted blind.--JACK CURTIN

March 10, 2010 - Fire at De Dolle Brewery
Belgium's De Dolle brewery,located in Esen in West Flanders, was struck by a fire this morning and one worker was injured.

Details are sketchy, but it appears the fire was in the basement where a hot water tank caught fire. Part of the structure was burned out and there was also damage to a new roof.

Bottling and brewing are okay, as well as the tank room. The brewery's bar suffered smoke damage and has been relocated to the former brewhouse.

The fire will delay bottling of Oerbier and Arabier. De Dolle Bos Keun and Oerbier Reserva are already bottled.--JACK CURTIN

March 10, 2010 - In Romania, They Tell It Like It Is
Straight talkers, those Romanians.

The Times of London is reported that new road signs have been out up warning drivers that intoxicated people may be in the road in an effort to reduce the number of accidents.

"Go Slow?" "Pedestrians Ahead?"

Nope. The signs read "Attention — Drunks" and show a inebriated lad crawling along with a bottle in his hand.

The story quotes Petru Antal, the Mayor of Pecica: "We are a border town and have lots of cars thundering through here all the time. But we also have a very vibrant nightlife and the two don't mix. We have to target the drivers because by the time they get to this state the pedestrians are beyond caring."

Now that's good old common sense.--JACK CURTIN

March 08, 2010 - Craft Beer Sales Grew 7% in 2009
The Brewers Association announced today that, in a year when other brewers experienced a slowdown in sales, small and independent craft brewers saw sales dollars increase 10.3 percent and volume increase 7.2 percent2 over 2008, representing a growth of 613,992 barrels equal to roughly 8.5 million cases.

Overall, U.S. beer sales were down approximately 5 million barrels (31 gallons per U.S. barrel) in 2009.

In 2009, craft brewers represented 4.3 percent of volume and 6.9 percent of retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category. With the total U.S. beer industry representing an estimated retail dollar value of $101 billion, the Brewers Association estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2009 was $7 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008.

The total number of U.S. craft brewers grew from 1,485 to 1,542 in 2009, and they produced 9,115,635 barrels, up from 8,501,713 barrels in 2008. Overall U.S. beer sales fell from approximately 210.4 million barrels to 205.8 million barrels.--JACK CURTIN

March 05, 2010 - PLCB Seizes "Unregistered" Beers at Three Philadelphia Taverns
Memphis Taproom, Local 44 and Resurrection Ale House, the highly praised Philadelphia mini-chain created by Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida over the past two years, was visited by the State Police yesterday afternoon and dozens of bottles of beer were taken on the grounds that they are not licensed for sale in the state by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Maida has released a statement to the local beer blogging community offering up the owners' side the story. It can be read in full here.--JACK CURTIN

March 04, 2010 - Victory, Dogfish Head & Stone Collaborate on Saison du BUFF
Two local breweries, Victory Brewing Co. of Downingtown, PA and Dogfish Head Brewing Co. of Milton, DE are collaborating with California's Stone Brewing Co. to produce Saison du BUFF, a beer named after Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor, an organization formed in 2003 and virtually moribund ever since.

Because the three breweries do not share common distribution around the county, the special beer is being brewed three times, once at each brewery. The first brew was done yesterday (March 3) at Stone's brewery in Escondido by Victory's Bill Covaleski, DFH's Sam Calagione and Stone's Greg Koch. It will be released in late April. The Victory and Dogfish Head brews will take place during Philly Beer Week in June and be released in July and August respectively.

Saison du BUFF is the sixth beer in a tri-brewery collaboration program begun at Stone in 2008.--JACK CURTIN

March 04, 2010 - Tröegs Makes Javahead Year-Round, Drops Rugged Trail
Tröegs Brewery has added its Javahead Stout, introduced last year in 22oz bottles, as a year-round 12oz release; the first of those are expected to hit the market in late March or early April. Javahead Stout is based on Tröegs original Oatmeal Stout which was retired several years ago and is made with coffee beans from St. Thomas Roasters of Harrisburg.

At the same time, the brewery announced that it has ceased production if its Rugged Trail Ale. The final batch, brewed in February, has been shipped to market. "We looked at numerous options to try to keep Rugged Trail in the picture," said Chris Trogner in a news release, "but we just couldn’t make it work with the other beers we are producing."

Another change from Tröegs is a new variety case called Anthology which replaces case. It will come in two versions, roughly summer and winter releases. Anthology Series No. 1 will feature Hopback Amber Ale, Tröegs Pale Ale, Dreamweaver Wheat and Sunshine Pils from April until Septemver. Anthology Series No. 2 will replace Sunshine Pils with Javahead Stout and be available from September until March.--JACK CURTIN

March 02, 2010 - Weyerbacher's Zotten Gets New Identity
In the wake of the "cease & desist" agreement Weyerbacher Brewing Company made with Belgian brewer Bruges Brewery De Halve Maan last month over the use of the brand name "Zotten," a new identity has been created for the Easton brewery's Belgian-style Pale Ale.

"The beer will now be called Verboten," Weyerbacher's Dan Weirback told the Beer Yard. "It is the German word for 'forbidden' and also exists in Flemish as 'Verboden,' with the same meaning."

Weirback said that, while the word's meaning might be seen by some as a comment on the brief legal confrontation, it also appeared in the original Weyerbacher press release about Zotten, noting that the name rhymed with the German word.

"The thing to remember in this story is that we first brewed this beer two years ago to launch our Brewer's Select Series of one-offs," He added, "and called it Alpha. We had no intention whatsoever to infringe on De Halve Mann's U.S. copyright and prior use of the name."--JACK CURTIN

February 22, 2010 - Original Honey Brown Lager Goes Back to the Future
Dundee Ales & Lager's Original Honey Brown Lager, one of the first commercial beers to add honey to its ingredients, will try to recapture its glory days when it relaunches today with its iconic original label and packaging and, perhaps most important of all in the current economy, lower prices.

First introduced in 1994 and widely popular in the late 90s, Honey Brown is brewed with clear water, barley malt, hops and pure Manitoba White Clover honey. "It developed somewhat of a cult following," says brewmaster John Fischer. "Sixteen years ago, it was a very new idea among American craft brewers to use honey as a beer ingredient and people loved it."

Sales quickly peaked to 250,000 barrels, but the brewery started going through hard times in the late '90s and it pulled back its support for the brand. When sales dipped, repackaging the beer, hiking up the price and putting it in the craft brew section of grocery stores didn’t work, as distribution lagged and sales slumped further. The beer lost virtually all of its panache in recent years.

Going back to basics will make Honey Brown more recognizable and the price drop (in most markets) will keep it competitive among specialty beers, company officials believe, stressing that affordability was a key part of the beer’s original success. Brand manager Jason Drewniak explains that "back in the late 90s, the brewery failed to recognize they had a hit on their hands. The great recipe remained the same but the changes to the packaging made it hard for people to find, I couldn’t be happier to get back to our roots and tell consumers that Original Honey Brown is back. And it looks just like they remember."--JACK CURTIN

February 20, 2010 - U.S., Italian Craft Brewers Will Collaborate on Rooftop Brewery in New York
A quartet of two Italian and two Italian-American craft brewers is joining forces with B&B Hospitality’s Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich and New York Italian food emporium Eataly to open a brewery-pub on a rooftop with breathtaking views of the Flatiron and Empire State Buildings.

The first floor of the building at 200 5th Avenue will house Eataly, an epic Italian specialty foods market and multiple restaurants which pair gourmet foods with artisanal beers and wines. Additionally, there will be an 8,000 square foot rooftop brewery and restaurant operated by B&B Hospitality’s Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich.

"The idea is to create an artisanal, old world Italian craft brewery that just happens to be located on a rooftop in Manhattan," says Sam Calagione of Delaware's Doggish Head Brewery, one of the four breweries collaborating on the project. The others are Vinnie Cilurzo of California's Russian River Brewery and two Italian craft brewers, Teo Musso, Brewmaster of Birrificio Le Baladan, and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo.

The rooftop bar and restaurant will house a copper-clad brewing system and the four brewers are working together on recipes for Eataly’s house beers which will feature Italian and American ingredients. The beers will be unpasteurized, unfiltered, naturally carbonated and hand-pulled through traditional beer engines. The four individual brewers will also occasionally brew beers under their own names on site. The brewing quartet met in Boston this week to brew the first test batch of Eataly beer, an English Mild fermented with Italian chestnut powder.

The rooftop restaurant project will pair artisanal rustic, homemade beers with the artisanal, rustic cooking of Chef Mario Batali. Additional Italian and American regional craft beers will be served both at the rooftop bar and within the downstairs restaurants.

Plans call for Eataly New York to open late summer 2010.--JACK CURTIN

February 18, 2010 - Weyerbacher Zotten Pulled From the Market, Will Return Under New Name
Dan Weirback has answered the question everybody has been asking since this news broke this morning with a post at BeerAdvocate:
"We do plan to re-release this beer under a new name in May of this year. Of course the name and label design will have nothing to do with jesters, fools, or anything of a nature that would infringe on De Halve Maan's trademark. We actually already have a name in mind, but need to check it out thoroughly (for obvious reasons), thinking that we'll be able to announce it in 1 or 2 weeks time."
ORIGINAL STORY:
There's bad news for fans of Weyerbacher Brewing's Zotten Belgian Pale Ale this morning: it has been pulled from the market as part of an settlement between the Easton Brewery and Belgium's Bruges Brewery De Halve Maan.

The point of contention was a similarity to the name Bruges Zot de Halve Mon which is protected by international copyright. Bruges Zot went on the market in 2005. The settlement was said to be "amicable."

The story was broken by Todd Alström at BeerAdvocate.com, the popular craft beer website that he and his brother Jason founded and operate. Alström received an alert from a BA member in Belgium.

Zotten was first released last year and was scheduled to come back for a second round this spring. Weyerbacher's Dan Weirback had said in an interview that plans were to make it part of the regular Weyerbacher lineup, perhaps as early as this summer.--JACK CURTIN

February 13, 2010 - DFH, Victory, Weyerbacher & Troegs Make RateBeer 100 Best Brewers List
Four Delaware Valley breweries earned a spot on the top 100 Best Brewers in the World list in the RateBeer.com Best 2010 competition. the results were released in late January.

Dogfish Head Brewery of Milton, DE finished 28th, Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown, PA was 33rd, Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton, PA was 48th and Troegs Brewing Company of Harrisburg, PA was 85th.

The top five breweries in the world according to RateBeer.com reviewers are, in order, Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN; AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, CA; Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL; Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, and Bells Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI. The first brewery from outside the US on the list is Montreal's Dieu du Ciel in 7th place, while the first overseas brewery, in 10th place, is Brouwerij de Molen in The Netherlands.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA was the only local beer to make the Top 100 Beers list, coming in at #61. In the Top Beers by Style top five listings, DFH Indian Brown Ale finished 5th in its category. The Pale Lager style category was dominated by locals, Victory Prima Pils finishing second and Victory Saphir Pils finishing fifth. Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery Keller Pils was third.

DFH 90 Minute was 45th on the list of the top 50 US beers. In the Top Brewpub listings Selin's Grove of Selinsgrove, PA was 10th, Victory finished 28th and Otto's Brewery & Pub in State College, PA was 49th.

Capone's Restaurant was 9th on the World's Best Beer Bar list and Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia was 29th. Isaac Newton's of Newtown, PA was #9 and Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Philadelphia, #18 on the Best Beer Restuarant list. Best Breweries to Visit included Weyerbacher (#), Pittsburgh's East End Brewing (#11) and Troegs (#43).

The Beer Yard came in 30th on the Best Beer Retailers list.--JACK CURTIN

February 13, 2010 - Sly Fox Brews One-Offs For Upstate NY Wholesaler, Two RochesterTaverns
Sly Fox Brewing Company has turned out a trio of exclusive one-off beers for accounts in New York over the past three weeks. All of them will also show up with limited availability at either or both Sly Fox locations.

On January 22, the brewing team at Royersford, with Steve Jacoby at the kettle, turned the awkwardly-named TeRYEdactALE (Rye Pale Ale, 5.3% abv) for TJ Sheehan Distributing, the brewery's upstate NY wholesaler, with the help of Sheehan's craft beer sale force. "The head of TJ Sheehan's Craft Division has this horrendous laugh," says Sly Fox brewery operations manager Tim Ohst, "so his sales team calls him 'Pterodactyl.' I joked to some of the guys that they should call the beer pterodactyl ale. The next day during the brew they realized they could alter the spelling as it now appears on the website."

The other two brews were for a pair of well known Rochester taverns. Foxy Lady Kolsch (4.6% abv) was brewed in Royersford this past Monday, with Jacoby at the kettle again, for Lovin'cup Bistro & Brews, also with representatives from the pub help out. The next day, Brian O'Reilly took the brewing platform in Phoenixville to make McBane's SlyPA for Rochester's Tap and Mallet. This one is a 6% IPA brewed with Sorachi Ace ace hops from Japan. T&M's Joe McBane and a traveling crew were on hand for that one.

All three beers will be sold through TJ Sheehan in New York, the TeRYEdactALE to select accounts, the other two exclusive to the two pubs. --JACK CURTIN

February 07, 2010 - Victory Announces Alternative Energy Installation & Collaborative Beers for the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference
It's going to be a Big April for Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company.

Victory will install a photovoltaic system on its roof that month because "it's just part of being a modern, responsible business," co-owner Ron Barchet told the Philadelphia Inquirer today. The project is being done under Pennsylvania's $100 million Pennsylvania Sunshine Rebate Program. The $415,000, 66.6-kilowatt system is expected to offset 5 percent of the brew pub's electricity use, reduce Victory's monthly electric costs by $1,000 - nearly 10 percent - and pay for itself in five years, Barchet explained.

Victory also announced last week that, for the fourth straight year, its brewers will once again collaborate with with Brewmaster Eric Toft of Schönrammer Brauerei in Germany and the German Hops Growers Association to produce five special beers to be poured at the annual Craft Brewers Conference, which will be held in Chicago, also in April.

This year's beers:

Saphir Tripel Ale – Belgian-style Tripel
Belgian Pale Ale brewed with Smaragd Hops
Belgian Pale Ale brewed with Hallertau Hops
Belgian Pale Ale brewed with Hersbrucker Hops
Bavarian Pale Ale – details still being formed
The Tripel will come in around 9% ABV while the others are expected to hit 6%. --JACK CURTIN
February 05, 2010 - Strengthened Pint Glass May Cut Down Violence in British Pubs
The kerfuffle in Great Britain a few months back about "beer mugs as weapons" will apparently be resolved in reasonable fashion rather than some of the more outlandish concepts initially suggested, including "soft" glasses and oddly shaped ones.

A new strengthened beer glass appears to be the answer, according to health authorities who claim that roughly 87,000 "glass attacks" in Britain cost the nation an estimated 2.7 billion pounds ($4.3 billion) annually.

The traditional British pint glass has been redesigned so it is harder to smash, said Design Bridge, the company behind two prototypes. "And even if the new models are smashed, the dangerous shards of glass are held together by a layer of resin," according to a spokesperson.

Talks are currently under way with pub chains about trying out the glasses and a pilot scheme will be launched within a year as things now stand.--JACK CURTIN

January 28, 2010 - Sly Fox Will Add Rt. 113 IPA to Canned Beer Releases
Sly Fox Brewing Company will add a fifth beer to its canned beer portfolio this spring when Rt. 113 IPA, available only in 22oz bottles previously, will be released in the 12oz package.

Rt. 113 joins Pikeland Pils, Phoenix Pale Ale, Dunkel Lager and Royal Weisse in the can lineup. It will be a year-round release and eventually be part of a variety 12-pack, along with the also year-round Pikeland and Phoenix, as well as standard cases. The othetr two canned beers are seasonal releases.

Until now, Rt. 113 has only been packaged in 22oz bottles. "The bottles will stay in the portfolio, at least for now," promises brewmaster Brian O'Reilly. "They're selling better than ever, just not as fast as do the canned beers. So long as sales hold up, we'll be happy. I really like the 22oz size, but it's a little tougher sell in a case state like Pennsylvania. On the other hand, we've just reopened the Pittsburgh market and that should help maintain and probably grow sales levels."

Rt. 113 IPA has been beer most requested to be made available in cans by customers, O'Reilly said.

A photograph of the new can can be seen here.--JACK CURTIN

January 28, 2010 - Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale Returns
Tuppers' Hop Pocket Ale is back.

The cult favorite beer, created by Bob and Ellie Tupper, disappeared from the market two years ago when the Old Dominion Brewing Company, which had contract brewed Hop Pocket since 1994, was sold. The new brewer is St. George Brewing Co. of Hampton, VA and they are fermenting the beer in the same tanks as previously, tanks they bought when Old Dominion went out of business.

Hop Pocket is brewed with four separate additions of hop pellets and fermented atop a bed of hop cones for three weeks. It was one of the first big, hoppy beers which have become a trademark of the craft brewing industry.

The Tuppers are well known in the beer community, not least for their personal tasting log that now numbers more than 18,500 brews sampled and recorded.--JACK CURTIN

January 28, 2010 - TJ's Embraces Drink Local Concept
It was a "stolen" idea that led Jeff Miller to establish the new Drink Local campaign at TJ's Restaurant and Drinkery in Paoli.

Miller has dedicated a separate space on the chalkboard and website of his popular venue---which appears regularly on those lists of best places to drink craft beer in the region which pop up every now and then---to five to seven local beers which are featured on tap.

The idea, Miller says, is to escape from the "unsustainable business model" of always chasing the next hot and difficult to get beer. "this is a way to show how much the regions local breweries have to offer at the same time boosting the bottom line. These beers are easily attainable and reasonably priced. I can't take credit for the idea, though. I stole it from Arthur Etchells at Foobooz.com--with his permission---after I read a comment he posted at Brian Koelsar's brewlounge.com website."

Miller says he contacted brewers within a two and a half hour drive of his restaurant and asked them to provide him with two or three sixtels each month of their freshest beers and he would showcase them. The program began during the first week of January.

"Sly Fox, Yards and Stoudt’s were the first shipments. Those stocks were supposed to last through the month but have already been depleted and re-stocked. We just got in a shipment from Troegs, Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas, Philadelphia Brewing Company & Lancaster. In all, besides what is currently on tap, there are about 35 sixtels waiting in queue for the rotation. At the rate we’ve been going through them that should take us only to the end of February."

Miller says the program is also helpful in introducing novices to the world of craft beer. "When someone new to the beer revolution looks at a chalkboard with 24 names they’ve never heard of before. it can be daunting. Local beers are recognizable for even the newest craft beer drinker. It makes a decision easier for them."--JACK CURTIN

January 20, 2010 - PBW Co-founder Bruce Nichols Will Open The Headhouse in Society Hill
As revealed in Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell's website and confirmed in Michael Klein's "Insider" column in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, a new beer and dining venue is coming to the closed Zot location at 122 Lombard St. in Philadelphia's Society Hill neighborhood.

The Headhouse will be a new venture for Bruce Nichols of Museum Catering Company in partnership with landlord Madame Saito Ai. The space has 20 taps on two floors and they're looking at a March opening.

Nichols, a founder of Philly Beer Week together with Monk's Cafe's Tom Peters and Russell, was instrumental in making the late Michael Jackson a fixture in Philadelphia every March for the long-running The Book & The Cook, bringing the famed beer writer in to host a series of tutored beer tastings at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology for 18 straight years.

That popular event, always sold out, will be reinvented this March, by the way, with U.S. beer writer Randy Mosher as the tutor.--JACK CURTIN

January 16, 2010 - EB+B Raising Funds To Help Free American Hikers Detained in Iran
Earth Bread + Brewery, the Mt. Airy brewpub operated by Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver, is conducting a month-long fund raiser for the families of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, three Americans who have been detained in a prison in Iran since July 31, 2009.

The trio was detained after, according to news reports, hey accidentally crossed an unmarked border during a hiking trip in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. The peaceful region is increasingly popular with Western tourists. MOre details can be found here/

Josh Fattal graduated from Cheltenham High School and his parents live in Elkins Park, explains Baker, "and his mother approached us and said that good friends of Josh come into Earth regularly and maybe we could help get the word put about the efforts to get him and his friends freed. I figured we could do something more than that, since they and the other parents have a lot of expenses involved with their efforts. We want to raise some money to help with that."

The next beer in the EB+B pipeline was a tank of Scotch Ale, originally to be named Velvet Underdog ("A great beer name," says Baker). It has been renamed Free The Hikers Ale and $1 is being added to the prices of 12oz glass, %.50 to the price of a 20oz glass until the tanks is kicked. Those additional amounts are customers' contributions; EB+B will add one-third of the total sale amount for the tank to the total. "It should work out to about $2500 to $3000 that we raise," according to Baker.

In other EB+B news, Baker says that assistant brewer Jon Defibaugh, who also doubles as a baker for the pub, has created his first beer, a Saison which he brewed with the help of EB+B regular Ryan Michaels, head brewer at McKenzie Brew House, who contributed DuPont yeast and some herbs to the project. --JACK CURTIN

January 03, 2010 - Bill Moore Named Brewmaster at Lancaster Brewing Company [UPDATED]
UPDATE (4 Jan 10): Former brewmaster Christian Heim and sales manager John Frantz are no longer with Lancaster Brewing Co. . The changes were announced to Moore and the staff last Wednesday and apparently reflect a whole new management team for the brewery.

ORIGINAL STORY: Industry veteran Bill Moore has been named Brewmaster at Lancaster Brewing Co. and will oversee all brewing operations, the company announced on Dec. 31.

"I am proud to be leading brewery operations," Moore was quoted in the news release. "Brewing exceptional craft beers is what I live for, and being able to do it here is really something special."

Moore has worked in the craft brewing industry for over 20 years, starting at Stoudt's Brewing in the late 1980s. The brewery garnered 14 GABF medals, seven of them Golds, during his tenure. He left Stoudt's in 1994 to a partner, with Bob Connor, in the new Independence Brewery in Philadelphia.Independence's big, beautiful plant proved to be too large for the company to support and a series of bad decisions and acquisitions doomed the enterprise from the start. The doors shut in 2000.

After an interim stint at Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery, he began brewing at the brewpub at the historic Sunnybrook Ballroom in his home town of Pottstown. He went fulltime at the latter in 2001. When that business collapsed, he brewed for the management team which ran the operation for the bank and then for Henry Ortlieb, who bought the place in 2003 and created Ortlieb's Brewery & Grille. That constantly struggling business shut down for good after Ortlieb's death in a boating accident in the summer of 2004. Moore began contract brewing beers for the new Legacy Brewing Company in Reading at Ortlieb's during that final year. He signed on as brewer at Lancaster in 2005.

Also joining the LBC team as Marketing Director is Patrick Casey, who brings over 25 years of advertising, sales and management experience to the LBC family. "I look forward to growing sales and building the brands for the brewery. They have an impressive line of craft beers and a strong number of loyal fans including myself," said Patrick.

Irene Keares, President of the company stated her objectives for the brewery’s future growth in the release. "My mission is as much about creating the best team as it is about brewing the best beer and that is why I am honored to have Bill and Patrick on the LBC team. Both are key to the brewery’s future success and our ability to grow to the next level."

LBC currently produces four flagship beers year round (Hop Hog IPA, Milk Stout, Strawberry Wheat, Amish Four Grain Pale Ale), along with popular seasonal beers including Oktoberfest, Winter Warmer and Rare Rooster Rye Ale, all available in bottles and kegs. The brewery also produces twenty different styles of craft beer throughout the year in kegs only. --JACK CURTIN

December 28, 2009 - Stone Brewing Considers Opening Brewery in Europe
San Diego's Stone Brewing Co. is considering opening a brewery in Europe according to co-founder Greg Koch.

The brewery is preparing a request for proposals to get ideas and bids for where to place the brewery or refurbish an existing brewery, Koch said, stressing that the project was only in the investigative stage at present.

"This decision is in line with the Stone's philosophy of ensuring fresh beer in the marketplace, and reducing their carbon footprint for distribution," he added. "To the best of our knowledge, Stone is the first American craft brewery to consider opening a brewery in Europe."

Stone sold 99k barrels in 2009 and is currently distributed in 34 states in the US. The brewery has averaged a 49% average annual increase in production since it was founded in 1996 and has limited distribution overseas to Japan, England and Sweden at present.--JACK CURTIN

December 14, 2009 - Sierra Nevada Will Celebrate Craft Beer Pioneers As Part of Its 2010 30th Anniversary Party
Sierra Nevada's planned yearlong celebration of its 30th anniversary in 2010 is more and more beginning to look like something trulys special. For one thing, SN is teaming up with other craft beer pioneers--including the elusive Jack McAuliffe of New Albion Brewery--to benefit select charities and beer drinkers across the country.

In March, 2010 the brewery will release the first of four beers in a series of collaborative projects with Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing; McAuliffe, and authors, homebrewers, and beer advocates Fred Eckhardt, and Charlie Papazian. "Together, this group is credited as `the men who launched a thousand breweries'" and without them, our current day craft-beer-renaissance might never have happened," SN said in a press release.

"We wanted to pay tribute to the original pioneers who helped me and hundreds of others get started," said Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman in that release. "Few people in the craft-brewing world have accomplished more than these guys, and we thought it might be fun to get the original crew together and make something special."

The project will begin where craft brewing started, at Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco; Anchor's purchase of that business in 1965 is consider by many to be ground zero for the craft beer revolution in America. In December 2009, the four pioneers gathered at Anchor to catch up, reminisce about craft beer’s beginnings, and share their vision for the project. "I feel honored to sit at the table with these guys," wrote Grossman. "Without them, who knows what American beer would be today?"

The beers will be released periodically throughout the year, starting with the first release in March, and continuing until Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary on November 15. These limited-release 750ml cage-and-cork bottles will be available at select retailers and beer-centric bars. Proceeds from the project will go to benefit select charities chosen by the four pioneers.

You can follow this collaboration of pioneering brewers online.--JACK CURTIN

December 04, 2009 - Glissade Golden Bock To Debut As Sierra Nevada Spring Seasonal In 2010
Sierra Nevada will replace ESB with Glissade Golden Bock as its spring seasonal release, maintaining its steady recent expansion of its packaged portfolio.

Glissade (6% abv) is hopped with German Magnum & German Perle (bittering) and German Spalter, Slovenian Aurora & Styrian. Malts used in the brew are Two-row Pale, Europils, Munich and Crystal. It will be be available in 6-packs, 24-ounce bottles and on draft starting in January, 2010.

"We have been making versions of bock beers for our local fans for years, and with every release we get people clamoring for us to make it more widely available. Spring for us is the season for bocks, so we finally decided to do it," said brewery founder Ken Grossman in a press release. "Glissade is something new for us—and something different from the other bock beers out there. We’re using the best German malts we can find, together with interesting and flavorful European hops."

Sierra Nevada will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year and is planning to mark the occasion with several special events and specialty beer releases.--JACK CURTIN

December 04, 2009 - Dogfish Head & Victory Both Make Wine Magazine's Top 25 Beers List
DogFish Head Festina Peche and Victory Festbier were each named on Wine Enthusiast magazine's selection of the Top 25 Beers of 2009, finishing in the 23rd and 25th spots respectively, each with a total of 90 points. the magazine introduced its first Beer Buying Guide in its June issue and the idea of a Top 25 list grew naturally out of that.

Here's what writer Lauren Buzzeo had to say about DFH Festina Peche:

An unbelievably refreshing Berliner Weisse-style beer fermented with fresh peaches, this tart expression is somewhat difficult to come by with only a handful of producers still making the style. Beautiful aromas and flavors of fresh peaches, sour Granny Smith and hints of resiny oil promise pure refreshment. The vibrant acidity and effervescence only further compliment the palate, resulting in a wonderfully crisp and enlightening drinking experience.

And here are her thoughts on Victory Festbier:

A golden russet color with a frothy toffee colored head. The nose offers aromas of cream, sweet bread, lime pith and roasted nuts. The mouth is medium-weight and malty, with subtle coffee notes, floral hops, and notes of cinnamon. A balanced brew with a long, lingering finish that veers towards hoppy bitterness.
The top five beers in on the list, in order, are Captain Lawrence Rosso e Marrone (95 points), Unibroue Maudite (94 points), The Bruery Orchard White (93 points), Avery The Maharaja (93 points) and Southern Tier Imperial Pumking (94 points). It is not clear how that selection and the sixth one on the list, Rochefort 8, could each have one point more than the third and fourth place beers.

Perhaps surprisingly, as shown by the two local selections, the list is not dominated entirely by high alcohol beers, since conventional wisdom holds that those are what attract the wine crowd. Ten of the beers listed have an ABV under 6% and about half of those would qualify as session beers in most estimations.

The beers were apparently chosen only from those tasted by the magazine in 2009 and other considerations beyond just quality played a role in the final decision. Wrote Buzzeo in her introduction:

The beers listed here represent the most diverse and dynamic offerings that were tasted this year. They are beers that offer extraordinary quality at prices that still represent affordable luxury. In compiling this list, I had to go beyond simple evaluation of numeric scores and pricing and also consider availability, buzz and balance. With so many selections currently available to the American beer consumer, it was important to showcase a wide range of styles produced in various countries and regions at all price points.

One might argue with "buzz" and "pricing" as standards, but the real message here is that this is yet another indicator of the growing interest in craft beers by wine enthusiasts.

The complete list is available here.--JACK CURTIN

December 04, 2009 - Cartoon Christmas Trio To Appear At All Iron Hill Locations in December
All eight Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant locations (five in Pennsylvania, two in Delaware, one in New Jersey) will celebrate the holiday season through out December with a series of performances by The Cartoon Christmas Trio, a musical group that performs authentic arrangements of musical selections from the classic holiday TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Originally aired in 1965, the special created by Charles Schulz has become among the most popular holiday programs in television history. The music, written by acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi, is the best-selling Christmas recording of all time. The Cartoon Christmas, formed in 1995, performs each song from that classic TV special, using the exact instrumentation Guaraldi specified in his original compositions, to transport listeners back to the nostalgic world of Charles Schulz’s beloved cartoon. Throughout the month of December, the group will perform at each of Iron Hill’s eight award-winning locations. Performances will begin at 7pm and run approximately two hours. The schedule is as follows:

Iron Hill Newark on Tuesday, December 15

Iron Hill Lancaster on Wednesday, December 16

Iron Hill Phoenixville on Thursday, December 17

Iron Hill North Wales on Friday, December 18

Iron Hill Media on Sunday, December 20

Iron Hill Maple Shade on Monday, December 21

Iron Hill Wilmington on Tuesday, December 22

Iron Hill West Chester on Wednesday, December 23

Finally, the Trio will return to Iron Hill Newark on Sunday, December 27 for its first-ever post-Christmas performance.--JACK CURTIN

December 04, 2009 - Sly Fox Hop Project Day On December 11 Will Be Final One
In its December Newsletter, Sly Fox Brewery announced that next Friday's Hop Project Day, the sixth in the series celebrating a year-long varietal brewing program, will be the final one in the series. The event, held the second Friday of every December, will be replaced with an Anniversary Day celebration marking the opening of Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville.

One of the factors in making the changes is that the Phoenixville location will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2010, wrote brewmaster Brian O'Reilly. The primary consideration, however, was to maintain better control of the Sly Fox brewing schedule.

"We're not cutting out the Hop Project so we can make less beer; we're cutting it out so we can make more beer." he said. "To make the Hop Project work, we had to commit to have 12 beers (the varietals and Odyssey) available for release at exactly the same time every month. That meant that sometimes we couldn't do other things because we had to be sure we had the kegs and the tank space ready at just the right time. We often had to push the filtering and packaging of other beers back a week as a result. It was a monthly roadblock we had to work around."

O'Reilly also cited the planned move of the Phoenixville pub to a new location across Rt. 113 from its current one as a reason for creating the new Anniversary Day event, noting that "our need to make this change to improve our brewery operations ties in nicely with our history."

Hop Project Day, which is also the day Sly Fox releases its Odyssey Imperial IPA, has become something of a beer holiday for both local and traveling beer aficionados. The series began in 2004 with the brewing of single-hop IPAs and continued that series through last year; varietal Pale Ales were the focus this year.

The complete Sly Fox Newsletter, which went out today, is now available online.--JACK CURTIN

December 03, 2009 - Dogfish Brewery & Bella’s Cookies Collaborate on Dogfish Dog Bark
Dogfish Brewery & Bella’s Cookies Collaborate on Dogfish Dog Bark

Putting its spent grain to good use is a green initiation which craft brewers take great pride in, but leave it to Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewery to expand the possibilities by barking up a different tree.

DFH and Bella’s Cookies, both located in Milton, are teaming up to create Dogfish Dog Bark, a healthy dog treat which uses the spent grain. Until now, nutrient-rich byproduct has been given to local farmers to use as feed for their cattle.

"Brewery employees spent lots of time testing the treats with their dogs," explained Dogfish Head’s Mariah Calagione, "and one hundred percent of the feed-back was tail-wagging."

Dogfish Dog Bark is also made with eggs from Delaware hens, organic flour, and all-natural peanut butter. it will be available at the brewery in Milton and Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, online from both companies and a select few local pet shops.--JACK CURTIN

Otto wants some samples--MATT GUYER

December 03, 2009 - McKenzie Brew House Announces Belgian Homebrew Competition
McKenzie Brew House is offering homebrewers a chance to compete in a Belgian-style "Best of Show" competition in which the prize is to brew the winning recipe along with McKenzie brewers Ryan Michaels and Gerard Olson on the 10bbl system at the chains Glen Mills location (the second McKenzie's is located in Malvern).

" Beers will be judged on the subjective flavor criteria of our panel of judges, rather than how well they fit to style," says Olson. "Entries should be limited only in that the brewer would describe them as Belgian. In fact, 'Out-of-style' Belgian Specialty ales are highly encouraged."

Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2010. Submission must be accompanied by an entry form and delivered to the pub at 451 Wilmington West Chester Pike/Rt. 202. Olson said that entries forms and more information will be available soon on the McKenzie website and that interested homebrewers can call him at 610.361.9800 with questions if need be.--JACK CURTIN

November 19, 2009 - New Study Touts Health Benefits of Half A Dozen Beers Daily
You know how various scientific studies routinely show that beer is as efficacious as, perhaps even more efficacious than, wine in terms of good health? And how the stories about these findings always stress "moderate" consumption?

Well, the definition of "moderate" just became a lot more realistic.

This is the opening sentence of a story in the The Independent of London yesterday, written by Health Editor Jeremy Laurance: "Drinking a bottle of wine a day, or half a dozen beers, cuts the risk of heart disease by more than half in men, it has been shown."

It appears under this headline, "Drink half a dozen beers every day and have a healthier heart," and this subheading, "Teetotallers more likely to have heart attack than drinkers, study shows."

The study was conducted by researchers from the public health department of the Basque government in San Sebastian, "a region with one of the highest drinking rates in Europe," and as conducted among 15,000 men and 26,000 women aged from 29 to 69 who were followed for 10 years. There is the usual caveat, of course--"alcohol caused millions of deaths a year around the world from other causes and their findings should not be taken as a licence to drink to oblivion"--and various British scientists disagreed with the conclusions, saying the work was "biased" or overlooked other alcohol-related diseases which might occur.

Researchers said that their results showed that "those who drank a little--a glass of wine or a bottle of beer every other day--had a 35 percent lower risk of a heart attack than those who never drank. Moderate drinkers, consuming up to a couple of glasses of wine a day or a couple of pints of ordinary bitter, had a 54 per cent lower risk...The surprise was that heavy drinkers consuming up to a bottle of wine or six pints of ordinary bitter had a similar 50 per cent reduction in risk of a heart attack to moderate drinkers. Those drinking at even higher levels were still half as likely to suffer a heart attack as the teetotallers."

It should be noted that they were talking about 5% or lower ABV beers, not higher alcohol styles.

You can read the entire Independent story here.--JACK CURTIN

November 02, 2009 - Philadelphia's Green Business Excellence Award Goes to Yards Brewing
Philadelphia Yards Brewing Company has been named the city's 2010 Green Business of the Year by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The official ceremony will be held at 27th Annual Excellence Awards Honoring the Region’s Small Businesses dinner on Thursday, November 5.

The Green Business award, sponsored by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), will celebrate the accomplishments of Yards and nine other Excellence Award winners. "While the winners’ business models may vary, they share a similar passion, determination and drive to succeed, Yards’ story is an excellent example of that formula," said the Chamber in a press release.

Tom Kehoe and then-partner Jon Bovit founded Yards Brewing Company in 1994 and it has grown from a garage-sized brewery in Manayunk that produced 30 kegs a week into its current 26,000 sq. ft. location in Northern Liberties, capable of producing 70,000 kegs a year. Since moving into its new plant on Delaware Avenue last year, Yards has made serious effort to to become a model of efficiency and sustainability.

Among other features, the brewery integrates natural lighting, recycled concrete floors, waste water management, water and heat reclamation. Cardboard and glass are recycled through Pedal Co-Op — taken to the local recycling plant by bicycles with trailers. Even its spent grains are reused as feed for local livestock. And, in January, Yards became the first brewery in Pennsylvania to run entirely on wind-power.

A new tasting room also follows a sustainable model, with a bar top made from old bowling alley lanes, floors treated with a sustainable soy compound, and walls coated with an earthen clay layer that is sustainable and eco-friendly.--JACK CURTIN

October 25, 2009 - Sly Fox Pikeland Pils Named USBTC Grand Champion Pilsner
Sly Fox Brewing's Pikeland Pils was named National Grand Champion in the Pilsner category at the recently completed 15th annul United States Beer Tasting ChampionshipTM (USBTC) Summer Event of its 15th annual competition, and Sly Fox Saison Vos won the Belgian/French Specialty category in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast region in which seven other local breweries were also honored.

A total of 379 beers from 137 breweries were examined across 14 different beer categories in the judging. The USBTC determined both a Grand Champion and the best entry from each of six U.S. regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic/Southeast, Midwest, Rockies/Southwest, California and Northwest/Pacific.

Weyerbacher Brewing matched Sly Fox with double wins for its Double Simcoe IPA (Imperial IPA/Red Ale) and Riserva (Fruit Beer), while McKenzie Brew House took top honors for its Wicked Will's Pale Ale in that category and an Honorable Mention for its Wit (Belgian Wit). Top regional honors also went to Victory Brewing's HopDevil Ale in the IPA category and The Lion Brewery in Golden Ale/Kolsch for Liebotschaner Cream Ale. Barley Creek took an Honorable Mention for its Navigator Golden Ale in that latter category and Stoudt Brewing Gold Lager won Honorable Mention in the Dortmunder/Helles category.

The USBTC competition is held in multiple stages. Sequential field trials are conducted wherein judges evaluate beers and select the best to advance to subsequent rounds, allowing beers to be judged in relatively small flights. All beers were tasted blind.--JACK CURTIN

October 12, 2009 - AB InBev One Step Closer To Paying Off Acquisition Loan [UPDATED 10/15/2009]
Anheuser-Busch InBev's announcement last week that it will sell off its theme parks, including the three SeaWorlds and two Busch Gardens across the country, to private equity firm Blackstone Group for at least $2.3 billion.is a major step in allowing the world's largest brewery to pay off the $45 billion of loans that funded InBev's $52 billion takeover of its U.S. rival last November.

The sale of its SeaWorlds and Busch Gardens to Blackstone, part of an ongoing process of shedding assets, brings the company's divestments to some $6.5 billion, well within range of the $7 billion ultimate target. Financial analysts suggest that just one further sale should allow them to get there, the most likely being divesting itself of 11 breweries in seven central and eastern European countries.*

Those same analysts also expect AB InBev to forgo making any further takeover forays in the near future in order to focus on integrating their company, squeezing out costs from Anheuser operations and increasing the dividend.

* UPDATE: From today's New York Times: "Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beverage company, said Thursday that it would sell its operations in eastern and central Europe to the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in a deal that may be worth more than $3 billion..." Full story here.--JACK CURTIN

October 09, 2009 - Philadelphia Brewing Co. Moves Into Pittsburgh Market
In a move which may be unique and is without a doubt unusual, Philadelphia Brewing Company has entered the Pittsburgh market by establishing a warehouse in that city, manned by its former operations manager.

"Matt Nienhuis had been our operations manager in charge of distribution since 2004," co-owner Bill Barton told the Beer Yard, "and when he got married and had a child, he and his wife decided to return to her home town of Pittsburgh and both we all saw an opportunity there.

"All breweries in Pennsylvania are automatically licensed for two additional facilities anywhere in the state as part of their licenses, and we decided one of ours would be in Pittsburgh. I don't know if anybody's ever done this before, but when we filed the paperwork, I was told by a guy handling it that he'd never seen this kind of move in 20 years on the job.

"We bought Matt a truck and rented space in the old Dusquesne brewery, which is owned by a company called U.S. Cargo. They ship the beer our from here every week from their facility in Plymouth Meeting."

PBC brands became available in Pittsburgh last month, sold and distributed by Nienhuis.

"Young single guys who live around the corner start working here, then they get married, have a kid and move away," laughs Barton. "It happens all the time. This time, that turned out to be a very good thing for both parties."--JACK CURTIN

October 04, 2009 - East Coast Breweries Win 40 Total Medals at 2009 GABF
East Coast breweries won a total of 40 medals at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and were again paced by Pennsylvania (14), New York (9) and Maryland (7). The latter's Flying Dog Brewing Company had the biggest day in the region, winning three Golds and a Sliver.

As detailed in our earlier Delaware Valley report, 13 of the Pennsylvania medals came from the Philadelphia area, with Troegs Brewing Co. winning three. Fegley Brew Works, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant and Triumph Brewing Co. garnered two medals each, while McKenzie Brew House and Stoudt's Brewing Co. each took one. Erie Brewing Company's medal completed the state's total. That same story noted other Delaware Valley wins: three Delaware medals, all by Dogfish Head Craft Brewing, and two in New Jersey for Flying Fish Brewing Co. A third NJ medal was taken by Long Valley Pub & Brewery in North Jersey.

New York's nine medals included two Gold, three Silver and Three Bronze, with double wins for Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Great Adirondack Brewing Co. and Saranac/FX Matt Brewing Co., and singles for Blue Point Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewery and Southampton Publick House. In Maryland, in addition to the impressive Flying Dog performance, single medals were won by Brewer's Alley Restaurant & Brewery, Clipper City Brewing Co. and DOG Brewing Co.

Boston Beer Company and Harpoon Brewery each won a medal in Massachusetts, while Allagash Brewing Company and Cambridge House Brew Pub medaled in Maine and Connecticut respectively.

Finally, in an update to this earlier story, the National Beer Wholesalers Association reported post-GABF that Gretz Beer Co., Philadelphia's third major distributor, was also a finalist in the national awards given annual by NBWA and GABF in which Origlio Beverage took top honor and Muller Inc. was third. Three wholesalers in the top five in the country is about as clear evidence of the vitality and professionalism of the local beer scene as you're like to find.

Details on these and all the GABF results around the country can be found here.--JACK CURTIN

September 26, 2009 - Dogfish Head, Troegs Lead Delaware Valley Region to 18 Medals at GABF in Denver
Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Harrisburg's Troegs Brewing Company each won a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver today, to lead nine Delaware Valley Breweries to an impressive 18-medal performance.

Triumph Brewing was the only local brewery to achieve double Gold, for Philadelphia's Patrick Jones in the Session Beer category for KinderPils and New Hope's Brendan Anderson for Hefeweizen in the German-style Wheat Ale judging.

DFH won Gold for Chateau Jiahu and Silver for Palo Santo Marron in the Specialty Beer Category and Bronze for Midas Touch in the Specialty Honey Beer Category. Troegs took Gold for Troegenator in the Bock category, Silver for Dead Reckoning Porter in the American-style Stout category and Bronze for Sunshine Pils in the German-style Pilsener category. That last win marked the third straight year a local pils, each from a different brewery, has finished in the top three.

Other Golds were won by Casey Hughes at New Jersey's Flying Fish Brewing Co. for Exit 4 in the American-Belgo Style Ale category; Tim Stumpf at Iron Hill Phoenixville for Schwarzbier in the category of the same name (his second straight), and Ryan Michaels at McKenzie Brew House for Saison Vautour in the Belgian-style Saison category, a second gold for that beer.

Beau Baden at Fegley's Allentown & Bethlehem Brew Works, who is becoming a regular in the winner's circle, won a Silver for Bagpiper's Scotch Ale in that category and Bronze for Rude Elf's Reserve in the Herb and Spiced Ale judging. And Iron Hill added a second medal, a Silver for its Raspberry Torte, an American style Sour Ale brewed in its Media pub by perennial medal winner Bob Barrar. Gordon Grubb at Philadelphia's Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant completed the region's Silver haul with George's Fault in the Specialty Honey Beer category (a second for that beer) to go along with a Bronze for Phruit Phunk, a wood and barrel aged sour brew.

Additional Bronze medals were won by Flying Fish Hop Fish (Classic English-style Pale Ale) and Stoudt Brewing Company's Stoudt Kolsh (German-style Kölsch). In all, the region won seven Golds, five Silvers and Six Bronzes. Thirteen of the medals came from Pennsylvania (which won a 14th with Erie Brewing's Railbender Scotch Ale). DFH accounted for Delaware's three wins, while Long Valley Pub & Brewery brought NJ's overall total to three, adding a Bronze for Lazy Jake Porter to the pair of Flying Fish wins.--JACK CURTIN

September 26, 2009 - Major Brewery Awards at GABF 2009
Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Will Kemper

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Pizza Port Brew Guys

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Dry Dock Brewing Company, Aurora, CO
Dry Dock Brewing Team

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Robert Malone

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Coors Brewing Company, Golden, CO
Dr. David Ryder

September 26, 2009 - Philadelphia Wholesalers Honored at GABF
Philadelphia's two major beer wholesalers, each of which has made a major expansion into the craft beer segment in recent years, were honored at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver today for those efforts.

Origlio Beverage, founded in 1933, was named Wholesaler of the Year, based upon its 35% growth in the craft area and its many promotional efforts aiding in the marketing of crafts.

Muller Inc., founded in 1938, received the Recognition Award for its 25% growth in craft sales.

The awards are given annually as a joint recognition by the Brewers Association and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.--JACK CURTIN

September 16, 2009 - Three Main Line Taverns Make Foobooz Top 50 Bar List
Foobooz, the Philadelphia-based food and booze quide, asked "writers, bloggers, drinkers, commenters and chefs to give us their top bars in the Philadelphia area. We aimed to present a good cross-section of people that we consider typical Foobooz readers. And in keeping with Foobooz’s pillars of food and booze, it is apparent that both food and booze played a part in the rankings."

The top ten bars in the ranking, in order, were: Standard Tap, P.O.P.E. (Pub on Passyunk East), Monk's Cafe, Southwark, Good Dog Bar, Grace Tavern, South Philadelphia Taproom, Sidecar Bar & Grille, Tria Washington Square West, and Royal Tavern.

Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, the top suburban location chosen, was #32. The Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern was #45 and TJ's Restaurant & Drinkery in Paoli came in at #47.

The entire list is here.--JACK CURTIN

September 15, 2009 - Beer Yard Grown Hops Shine in Iron Hill Ryesing
The Beer Yard not only sells some of the world's finest beers, sometimes it plays an active role in making them.

In 2008, General Lafayette Inn owner and brewer Chris Leonard used the hops he picked to make a low alcohol seasonal beer; this year it was Iron Hill's turn.

Iron Hill brewer Jean Boillet told the story on the Iron Hill West Chester blog:

The first round came from our friend, Matt Guyer, over at the Beer Yard. Behind his store grows a surprising amount of wild hop vines. They have been happily growing there for as long as he can remember, which is great for us, as they are well-established and literally dripping with sticky lupulin magic.

About two weeks ago, I arrived at his store early in the morning, yanked all of the vines down and tossed ‘em in the back seat of my car. Once loaded up, I drove straight to the brewery, where a team of eager servers helped us separate the hop cones from the vine. My car was drenched in grassy, floral hop aromas; sure glad I didn’t get stopped by the fuzz on the drive back.

All day, we yielded a bit more than two pounds of bright green hoppy love, and within hours, we had filled 4 firkins of our Ryesing (Yye Pale Ale) with half-a-pound of fresh hops shoved into each cask.

Broillet says the pub flew through the first three firkins of Ryesing faster than ever before. use the link above for more of the story and photos.

The final firkin will be tapped at Teresa's Next Door on Friday, September 25, as part of its Rare Keg Night. See the Beer Yard Calendar for details.--JACK CURTIN

September 13, 2009 - Resurrection Ale House To Open Wednesday
Resurrection Ale House will open it's doors for business on Wednesday, September 23 at 5pm. This is two weeks from the planned opening on September 9; the pub was ready but the requisite paperwork had not yet been approved.

Resurrection Ale House, located at 2425 Grays Ferry Avenue (Corner of Catharine & Grays Ferry) in Philadelphia, is brought to you by Brendon Hartranft and Leigh Maida, the couple who founded both Memphis Taproom in Kensington and Local 44 in West Philly over the past 18 months.

The new pub will feature 12 drafts beers, one beer engine, and about 40 bottled beers.

Starting Thursday, September 24, the full kitchen menu will be available. Hours of operation will be Monday-Friday from 12noon to 2am, Saturday and Sundays from 11am-2am. Weekend brunch will be served from 11am-3pm. --JACK CURTIN

September 04, 2009 - Monk's Cafe Reopens
Co-owner Tom Peters called at 11:40 today to say that the doors have just been opened.

"The front two rooms only," he noted. "The back bar will reopen next week."

Previously:
As of today, when Monk's will reopen remains unknown. Promises of today or tomorrow seem optimistic in light of news stories which suggest a longer term needed to deal with the building's problems.

ORIGINAL STORY 30 Sep 2009] A man died and his female companion is in critical condition after they fell from a fire escape balcony four stories above Monk's Cafe at 3am Sunday morning.

According to news reports, a rusted out railing gave way and they plummeted to the sidewalk. Other reports say the building already has several other fire safety violations.

City authorities have vacated the building and Monk's sent all its employees home this morning.

[UPDATED 2:50 pm]
Tom Peters of Monk's has informed the Beer Yard via email that the restaurant part of the building is structurally okay and has no problems and that, at the landlord's discretion, the Cafe will reopen as early as Monday or Tuesday.--JACK CURTIN

August 26, 2009 - MillerCoors, A-B Say They Will Raise Prices Soon
MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch said yesterday that they planned to raise prices, according to a story by Jerry Hirsch in this morning's Los Angeles Times.

Details were sketchy, with a MillerCoors spokesman saying that "beer is a pretty good value right now, and we think we can raise prices on a market-by-market basis," and an A-B statement noting that "the markets have been assessed, and we'll be acting on a by-market, by-brand and by-package basis." The two brewing giants control 80% of the U.S. beer market.

Beer Business Daily, the industry newsletter, opined that the increases are profit driven rather than to protect market share and said that increases will certainly be passed on to consumers in this economy, with retailers unwilling to absorb them.

In another development, Jeremy Mullman of Advertising Age noted that when InBev acquired A-B, they "regularly cited the global potential of Budweiser as a key rationale for its takeover...last summer, noting that the potential value of creating a Coca-Cola-scale brand in beer would make the $52 billion in debt that financed the deal worthwhile." That process may be in the works and observers will be watching to see if the effort cheapens the brand identity or builds it.

Another thing to watch will be how this affects the craft beer segment, which remains the only part of the industry which is growing and has been able to maintain that growth and its pricing even in difficult economic times, with the people who want to save money but still cling to the major brands shifting to cheaper priced labels. Craft strength has finally caught the attention of the wine industry; the Oregon Wine Board says they'll be targeting beer drinkers to combat slow sales, perhaps not fully recognizing that some of that decrease is the result of wine consumers discovering high-end craft beers as a better value for the price.

We live in interesting times.--JACK CURTIN

August 22, 2009 - "Yes We Can" Says Colorado Company Servicing Craft Brewers
We are not very far removed from a time when the idea of craft beer packaged in cans was still seen as daring by much of the intended audience for same and indeed still hear the generally refuted complaint that "the beer tastes funny" from some. But the idea has caught on across the the country.

Now, in Colorado at least, craft brewers can can their beers without going to the expense and bother of buying a canning line or pre-ordering the massive quantity of cans necessary to meet most minimum requirements.

Yes We Can, a new company in that state, provides mobile canning for craft brewers, using a mobile trailer which houses an automatic Cask canning system with pre-ordered aluminum cans and labels. The company supplies the canning, cans, labels, and labor, all on-site. The service includes the pre-rinse, fill, seam, and labeling and requires assistance from two brewery staff.

The Yes We Can system can fill and seam up to 30 cans per minute or 600 cases a day. It can accommodate larger or smaller can sizes (only one can size per machine) and consists of a core conveyor with motor drive, four control panels, a five head filler, a can lid dispenser, Pre-rinse and a heavy duty can seamer, all mounted on a stainless steel frame.--JACK CURTIN

August 17, 2009 - Mid-Year Figures Show Continuing Strength of Craft Beer
Just released figures from the Brewers Association for the first half of the year show that dollar growth from craft brewers from January through June increased 9%, down from 11% growth during the same period in 2008 but still impressive in this economy.

Volume sold sold was up 5% during the same period. compared to 6.5& growth in the first half of 2008. Barrels sold by craft brewers for the first half of the year is an estimated 4.2 million, compared to 4 million barrels sold in the first half of 2008.

The number of US breweries is the highest it has been in 100 years. The nation now boasts 1,525 breweries, the highest number since consolidation and the run up to Prohibition reduced the number of breweries to 1,498 in 1910. "The U.S. has more breweries than any other nation and produces a greater diversity of beer styles than anywhere else, thanks to craft brewer innovation," said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association.--JACK CURTIN

August 12, 2009 - Victory, Troegs Announce New Releases
Two of the area's most popular breweries are introducing new products, or repositioning current ones, to help fend off impending end-of-summer blues for beer lovers.

Victory Brewing Company has made its Hop Wallop Imperial IPA (8.5%) a year-round release and replaced it in the seasonal lineup with Yakima Twilight, a slightly bigger (8.9%) dark Imperial IPA. Yakima Twilight was introduced as a limited release in late 2008 and received almost universal rave reviews. It is now on tap at the brewery's Downingtown brewpub. The initial batch was draught only; full production of 12oz cases should begin this fall as brewery capacity permits. The current draught release will be widely available off-premises.

Victory has also ceased the release of Victory Saison in 750ml bottles, reformulated it with a new Belgian yeast strain and renamed it Helios. It is packaged in the increasingly popular 22oz size and should reach the market in a week or two.

News about both these new releases first appeared on My Beer Buzz, a beer blog focused on Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Farther west, news that Troegs Brewing will add a new bourbon-barrel-aged series in very limited release leaked out yesterday on Beer Advocate.

In a posting in that thread, Troegs' Ed Yashinsky explained that the new series will be available only at the brewery, in the same fashion as the Scratch Beer series. "Splinter is a brewery-only series, very limited," he wrote. "There's approximately 300 bottles of the first two and two more to be packaged. Labels just approved by feds and waiting on [printed] labels. We will announce all details closer to release dates for each one in the series."

The first two barrel-aged beers in the series are reportedly Mad Elf and Scratch #3, a tripel.

Troegs has already announced another new beer, Java Head Stout, a coffee-based beer in 22oz which is currently available for pre-order from the Beer Yard.--JACK CURTIN

August 09, 2009 - Prism Brewing Plans to Enter Philadelphia Market This Fall
There's a new brewer in town...or at least there will be if everything goes as Robert Demaria expects it to.

Demaria of East Norriton says he will be introducing the first beers from his new Prism Brewing Company into the Philadelphia market this fall. The initial releases, an IPA and an Irish Red Ale, will be draught only and contract brewed at General Lafayette Brewery & Inn; the inn's owner and head brewer Chris Leonard will create the beers based upon recipes developed by Demaria.

Each of his beers is "made with twist," he says. "I don't mimic any beers out there. HIPA is an IPA made with about 25% honey malt to offer some sweetness as well as hop bitterness. Red Rocket is an Irish Red Ale brewed with pharmaceutical grade caffeine, taurine and vitamin B, which are used in energy drinks, and is looking to be the younger beer drinker's Red Bull and Vodka, if you will. A third beer we will add next year, a Belgian White, is brewed with chives."

Demaria, who is Director of Enterprise Learning Strategies and Innovation for Merck, says he has already laid a lot of the ground work for launching his brand. "I'm talking with one distributor to see what we can work out but plan to self-distribute the initial batches. We don't have an established brand so it is going to require at lot of personal attention and hand-selling. I have a sales rep already hired who will help with that.

"We've registered the business and the Federal license is in process. Once that's completed, I just have to submit it for the State license. Since there are no labels involved and I don't have to submit brewery plans or anything like that, I hope that will all go smoothly and quickly. My goal is to be ready to start marketing the beers in September or so."

He has one account for sure. "Chris will be putting the beers on at General Lafayette," Demaria promised.--JACK CURTIN

August 05, 2009 - Victory HopDevil, Teresa's Next Door Are "Best of Philly"
The beer which might fairly be considered the first true "breakout" beer of the Philadelphia craft beer revolution which began in 1995. Victory HopDevil IPA, has been named Beer of the Year in the annual Philadelphia Magazine "Best of Philly" awards, a perennial feature in every August issue.

HopDevil turned up on many taps around the area in those early days, the one craft beer that a lot of old-line bars and taverns were willing to pour.

Another beer citation in this year's Best awards went to Teresa's Next Door, the N. Wayne Ave. Belgian-themed restaurant whose menu and notable beer list continue to draw attention both locally and nation-wide. TND was selected as the Best Beer Bar in the region.--JACK CURTIN

July 21, 2009 - Yards Selected as Official Beer Sponsor for Philadelphia Folk Festival
Yards Brewing Company has been named as the Official Beer Sponsor for the 2009 Philadelphia Folk Festival at the Old Pool Farm near Schwenksville on August 14-16. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend this year's Festival, with over 5,000 of those being campers

The Philadelphia Folk Festival is a three-day festival of folk music that has been held in Schwenksville since 1962, following a brief run in Paoli. It is conducted by by the non-profit Philadelphia Folksong Society.

Tom Kehoe, Yards co-founder and brewmaster, said that "it is an honor to be taking such a prominent role at this event. I feel very privileged that we'll be able to share our craft with many of the country's most recognized musicians as well as the Festival's loyal followers."

"We will be pouring Philadelphia Pale Ale, Brawler, ESA and IPA," said brewery operations manager Steve Mashington. "Last year was the first time the festival allowed beer sales. We contacted them about being a part of the event, but they had already lined up Victory as the only brewery at the festival/ This year they contacted us and informed us that they were interested in working something out with respect to being a beer sponsor/vendor and told me that according to their surveys, our beer was the most requested. We've negotiated a good working partnership that we hope will continue on for several years."

Yards Brewing Company is also taking a less official but equally important role at the event, working with event organizers to ensure the Festival is as environmentally responsible as possible. All of Yards beers will be draught only and concertgoers will be encouraged to reuse their cups as much as possible or risk additional charges. Yards will also be managing its own recycling efforts throughout the weekend.

"We're really trying to lead by example. Everything we're doing is just a common sense way of showing or respect for our planet and environment," said Mashington, noting that Yards is Pennsylvania's first 100% wind-powered brewery Yards is working with the Philadelphia Folksong Society to curate a number of concerts to be held at the brewery later this year. The first of those concerts will be held on August 2, featuring several bands from the festival. Details should be announced later this week.

"Our new brewery wasn't built simply to increase production," said Mashington. "We wanted to create a venue for community, where people can come together and have a good time. We'll be hosting music, movies…it's going to be really exciting." -JACK CURTIN

July 17, 2009 - Great Lakes Brewing About to Enter Delaware Valley Market
Great Lakes Brewing Company, whose presence in Western Pennsylvania but not the Delaware Valley has been a source of frustration for local beer lovers for years, is about to rectify that situation.

The Cleveland brewery reached a final agreement today with Origlio Beverage to distribute its beers throughout the five-county Philadelphia market. The first beers will be released on Monday, July 27. Their five year-round beers are Burning River Pale Ale, Commodore Perry IPA, Dortmunder Gold Lager, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Eliot Ness Amber Lager. Popular seasonals include Blackout Russian Imperial Stout, Nosferatu Stock Ale and Glockenspiel Weizenbock.

Great Lakes Brewing was established in 1988 and was Ohio's first microbrewery. It is now the heart of an historic six-building complex which includes the brewery, a brewpub, banquet facilities, and gift shop. Great Lakes, which produces 70,000bbl annually, is considered one of the nation's foremost environmentally and socially brewers.--JACK CURTIN

July 16, 2009 - The Return of Collaborative Evil
Nine breweries, mostly from the Midwest and West Coast, will attempt to create a collaborative beer to be introduced at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival, using a shared recipe in which each brewery adds an unique ingredient to differentiate its beer from all the others.

The concept, named Collaborative Evil by founding brewers Zac Triemert of Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. La Vista, NE, Matt Van Wyk of Flossmoor Station, Flossmoor, IL and Todd Ashman of FiftyFifty Brewing, Truckee, CA, was first tried in 2008 by the three of them.

The base style for this year is a Belgian-inspired Strong Pale. The six new participants include Valley Brewing, Stockton, CA.-- Steve Altimari, Brewmaster; Sacramento Brewing, Sacramento, CA.-- Peter Hoey, Brewmaster; Fatheads Brewery and Grill, Cleveland, OH. -- Matt Cole, Brewmaster; Flossmoor Station, Flossmoor, IL -- Bryan Shimkos Brewmaster; Oakshire Brewing, Eugene, OR -- Matt Van Wyk Brewmaster; Silver Peak Brewing, Reno, NV -- Brandon Wright, Brewmaster, and Speakeasy Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA.-- John Gillooly, Brewmaster.

"Each brewer is asked to create a beer based on the style and then make it uniquely their own within the parameters of Belgian-inspired Strong Pale," explained Ashman. "This was important because it demonstrates what people think of when you mention a style. Because one of the things we focus on in Collaborative Evil is entering the respective beers in the Great American Beer Festival, and since entry guidelines forbid entering the same beer, we took the approach of creating a theme and allowing each brewer participating to spin-off his own beer based on our base style."--JACK CURTIN

July 16, 2009 - GABF Expands Floor Space, Expects More Than 2100 beers
When beer lovers from around the world convene at the 28th annual Great American Beer Festival at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver On September 24-26 they will find that the operative word is "more."

More beers (2,129 are expected, an increase of about ten percent). More people (ticket sales will be increased slightly). And offsetting that last increase, more space. GABF floor space will expand by 33%, providing more elbow room.

The total number of breweries participating will be about the same as in 2008, somewhere over 450 of them.

As usual, a sellout is expected. Ticket sales are strong, according to Cindy Jones, Brewers Association Marketing Director. "We've sold twice as many tickets in comparison to where we were last year this far out from the fest."--JACK CURTIN

July 11, 2009 - Difficult Economy Threatens Survival of General Lafayette Inn & Brewery
In a open letter sent members of the craft beer press and various beer bloggers yesterday, owner and head brewer Chris Leonard revealed that the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery and its Guest House are in danger of closing.

“Stiff competition, limited resources, and the failing economy have contributed to a steady decline in revenues over the past 16 months,” Leonard wrote. “While beer sales have remained relatively stable, our food, wine and liquor sales have decreased to the point that we can longer maintain operations. Past due mortgages, property taxes, payroll taxes, and accounts payable to vendors have pushed the General to the precipice. Unless we raise significant funds in the next two months - to get current with our debtors, improve facilities, increase wholesale beer production, and increase our marketing efforts – closure is imminent.”

In his letter, he talked about offering stock options and minor partnerships and the formation of “The Friends of the General Lafayette Inn Society,” 150 members paying $1,000 each for $275 house accounts for the next five years. In a separate email to The Beer Yard, he wrote that “we do not intend to close, do not want to close, are not currently being pressured to close, do not want to sell, etc... We continue to do everything possible to carry on.”

The General Lafayette is the fifth oldest tavern in the U.S. and was taken over by Leonard and his family in 2004, following the death of the original owner. Leonard was the brewer there at the time.

Leonard’s open letter can be read here.—JACK CURTIN

July 06, 2009 - Beer Writer & Cancer Survivor Rick Lyke Named to International Panel
North Carolina beer writer Rick Lyke has been named to a panel discussing "the stigma faced by people treated for cancer" by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The panel, moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN and a practicing neurosurgeon, will also include participants from South Africa and China.

The event, which be held in Dublin, Ireland, August 23-26, will include government agencies, advocacy grouns and individuals from around the world.

Lyke is the founder of Pints for Prostates campaign which uses "the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message regarding the need for regular prostate health screenings and PSA blood testing." The campaign was founded in 2008 after Lyke had successful prostrate cancer surgery.

You can get more information about Pints for Prostates at here.--JACK CURTIN

July 03, 2009 - Resurrection Ale House Will Be Third Hartranft/Maida Tavern in Less Than Two Years
Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida, who opened both the Memphis Taproom in Port Richmond and Local 44 in West Philadelphia during 2008. must have gotten bored.

The enterprising and energetic duo will sign a lease today for a new venture on the site of the former Yello Bar at the corner of Grays Ferry Avenue and Catharine Street and hope to renovate and redecorate for a September opening.

The name will be Resurrection Ale House and, Maida told the Beer Yard early this morning, "we're focused (as always) on a stellar craft beer list, but we're equally focused this time on the dining side of things as well. For now we're sort of working under the term 'beer bistro' as a guiding principle, for the menu, the decor, the over-all vibe of the place. We're hoping for the same kinds of laid back, food and beer savvy, mixed-bag of cool guests that we get to meet at Memphis and Local 44."

If nothing else, three new locations in less than two years ought to earn then a place on everybody's publicans of the year lists...maybe even of the decade.--JACK CURTIN

July 02, 2009 - Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery to Move...Across the Street
While no official announcement has yet been made, the rapidly leaking news that Sly Fox Brewing will leave its original brewpub site in Pikeland Village Square to a new location across Rt. 113 in the Maple Lawn Village Shopping Center became fact today.

The original brewhouse will be moved to the new site, which will feature three handpumps pouring real cask ale and an automated growler filler which should insure perfect fills and longer shelf life in customers' refrigerators.

No date for the move has been set but "three months or so" are what insiders told The Beer Yard today.

Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery opened in December 1995 and is operated by the Giannopoulos family. Sly Fox also owns a restaurant and production brewery in Royersford, established in November 2004.--JACK CURTIN

June 23, 2009 - Yards Brewing to Open New Jersey Brewpub?
"Yards Brewing is close to taking a giant step across the Delaware, with a new brewpub in the Camden County borough of Merchantville, N.J.

"The brewery, Philly’s largest, is in talks with the borough to open the pub in the old PNC Bank building (below) at 9 S. Centre St. The borough purchased the 80-year-old building earlier this year through a $1.2 million bond issue, and holds a liquor license for the property.'

So says "Beer Radar," the blog of local beer writer Don Russell, best known for his "Joe Sixpack" weekly columns in the Philadelphia Daily News, this morning.

Negotiations are still underway to make the deal official, Russell writes, noting that "The big plus is that the borough holds the necessary liquor license, which is always a huge impediment for would-be restaurant and tavern developers."

For Yards, which doesn't even distribute in the Garden State at the moment, this would be a massive step in terms of growth and local identity.--JACK CURTIN

June 11, 2009 - Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Yuengling!
Yuengling Lager, Light Lager and Lord Chesterfield Ale are now available to USA3000 Airline passengers for $5 each. The airline offers service from Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to destinations in Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico. It has a fleet of 11 planes.

"Many of our customers have requested Yuengling beer on board," reported Bill Grobasky, the airline's director of sales.

The new venture gives Midwesterners who live outside Yuengling's normal distribution area the chance to sample the beers. "For people flying out to the tropics, drinking one of our beers will be their last taste of home. And on the way back, it'll be their first taste," says Lou Romano, the brewery's marketing manager.

Romano added that taste may be all they'll get for now yet, stressing that while "we're still opening up our market on the East Coast, including parts of Georgia and West Virginia," expansion beyond that is not in the cards."Our growth is controlled and disciplined because owner Dick Yuengling will not contract out to have our beers made. Because we make all of our own product, our capacities in Pottsville, and at our Florida brewery, limit us."--JACK CURTIN

June 08, 2009 - Genny (the Brewery) Is Back
The new owners of High Falls Brewing in Rochester plan to make a major investment in the company and return it to its original name, Genesee Brewing Company. The name was changed to High Falls in 2000 after a $26 million buyout by management.

North American Breweries of Canada says it will pour $10 million into the brewery on repairs and new equipment this year and next. NAB will also embark on a big marketing push for Genesee, Genny Light, and Genesee Cream Ale in the Northeast and Midwest, where Genny has traditionally had a stronger presence.

From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle yesterday:

"When we do blind taste tests (against other beers), we win," said North American CEO Rich Lozyniak. "We just have to get people to try us. We have a great product, but we have to reposition it."

[ ... ]

The $10 million will pay for mechanical upgrades in the steam house and packaging area and in process controls that will help with waste reduction and quality issues, Lozyniak said. According to North American, the company expects to save upward of $1 million annually on its electricity and water bills.

North American and its parent company, New York City investment firm KPS Capital Partners LP, continue to look for other regional beer brands or breweries for purchase, Lozyniak said. KPS formed North American in February after purchasing High Falls; Labatt USA, the Buffalo-based importer of Labatt beer for the U.S. market; and the rights to the Seagram's Escapes line of wine coolers. With the purchase, KPS instantly became one of the nation's larger brewers. High Falls in 2008 was the ninth-largest U.S. brewery based on sales.

The regional focus is a wise course for brewery turn-arounds in the eyes of most industry observers.--JACK CURTIN
May 28, 2009 - Zotten Rollout Shows Weyerbacher Commitment to New Summer Seasonal
The folks at Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton have high hopes for their new summer seasonal release and are giving it a massive roll-out on Wednesday June 3. Zotten, a Belgian-style Pale Ale, will be released simultaneously at over 40 different bars in four Mid-Atlantic states and 12oz bottles in 4-packs will ship to wholesalers at the same time.

Head brewer Chris Wilson says, "this is a very significant release for us as well as the beer community out there," says head brewer Chris Wilson. "Zotten is very sessionable beer with significant flavor, complexity and hops to satisfy the most discriminating palate."

The new beer (the name rhymes with verboten) is bottle-conditioned, has a small amount of yeast sediment and carries the distinctive flavors of the house abbey yeast strain that Weyerbacher uses for its Merry Monks' Ale.

Zotten is Flemish for "fools." The name originates from a time several hundred years ago when an Austrian king, visiting Brugge, Belgium witnessed a parade through town to honor him. Many were dressed as court jesters and king was heard to say, "Brugge is a town full of zotten." An earlier version of the 6% brew was released in June 2008 under the name Alpha; it was the first beer in the brewery's ongoing Brewer's Choice series of small match one-offs.

In the Lehigh Valley, PA, Weyerbacher's home, Zotten will debut on draft at Pearly Bakers' Ale House, Porters' Pub, Starters Riverport, Liberty Street Tavern, Tally Ho, Blue Monkey and Bear Creek on June 3. In the Philadelphia market, it will pour at Craft Ale House, Theresa's, TJ's, Capone's, Spinnerstown, Ortino's, The Belgian Café, South Philly Tap Room, Johnny Brenda's, Standard Tap, Grey Lodge, Brigid's, Hulmeville Inn, Old Eagle Tavern and Race Street Café.

Zotten will also be available at all four Sharpe Edge locations in Pittsburgh, seven pubs in Baltimore and three in Washington, DC.--JACK CURTIN

May 27, 2009 - Hail Storm Damages European Hops Crop
Severe thunderstorms and hail Monday evening and Tuesday morning have apparently done serious damage to the Hallertau and Tettnang hop growing region in Europe.

The staff at Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephaner (Home of the famed the German brewing school) report the complete destruction of hop fields in the region. Reports from other areas are not nearly so back, some saying that only 25% of their region were damaged.

In an email to Bill Covaleski of Downingtown's Victory Brewing, which has exclusive contracts with several German brewers, Thomas A. Seton of Simon H. Steiner, an international hops dealer which has been in business for almost 165 years,reported

On 26th May gale-force winds and hailstorms caused serious damage to the Hallertau and Tettnang hop growing regions. This is our damage estimate, based on the information currently available:

Hallertau: the storm hit the southern part of the Hallertau, especially affecting the Pfaffenhofen, Au and Nandlstadt areas. Affected acreage: 3500-4000 ha (approx. 25% of the total acreage), 1.000 ha of hops have been completely destroyed. We estimate a shortfall of approx. 116.000 ztrs., roughly equivalent to 19% of a normal crop.

Tettnang: Affected acreage: 500 ha (40% of total acreage). We estimate a shortfall of approx. 8.500 ztrs., roughly equivalent to 25% of a normal crop.

Covaleski told The Beer Yard that one of their hops suppliers reported that nine cows were killed by hail in Tettnang and that his partner, Ron Barchet "has been in conversation with our growers and they promise to meet our contract obligations to the extent possible."

He closed with a gloomy prediction for brewers and beer lovers alike: "Prepare for a spike in pricing for German hop varieties."--JACK CURTIN

May 27, 2009 - Martin N. Friedland, RIP
Martin N. Friedland, one of the area's pioneer beer distributors, died on Friday, May 24. Funeral services were today.

Marty Friedland was the first US importer on the East Coast to bring Bass Ale and Guinness to the market and specialized in imports when few other distributors did. He was the founder of Edward I. Friedland, which became Philadelphia's craft beer specialty house in the '90s. In 1994, he decided to devote his time to his other enterprise, EFCO Importers, and Edward I. Friedland was operated by his wife Edith and son Ed from then until its purchase by Kunda Beverage in 2007.

Friedland's acquisition of distribution rights for Yards ESA in late 1995 and its role in the subsequent placement of British beer engines (hand pumps) throughout the area were major factors in local crafts getting a foothold in the region. The company was also the original distributor for Victory, Dogfish Head, Weyerbacher and other now familiar brands and an early source of Belgian beers for what was to become the best U.S. market for those brands.

Origlio Beverage acquired the Friedland brands in January 2008 through its purchase of Kunda. Both Eddie Friedland and his daughter Katie, Marty's granddaughter, are currently part of Origlio's craft beer team.

Contributions in Martin Friedland's memory may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.--JACK CURTIN

May 18, 2009 - The play's the thing. Or maybe it's a movie.
Tröegs Brewery will host the kick-off event for the 12th Annual ArtsFest Film Festival in Harrisburg this Friday, May 22, with a free outdoor screening of Strange Brew, the 1983 cult classic highlighting the adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie and their love of beer, back bacon, jelly donuts and all things Canadian.

The movie stars Second City TV alums Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis and is loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, with the McKenzie Brothers taking the roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

The event is BYOC (bring your own chair) and there should be space for about 400 people. Seating begins around 6pm and seating will be closed when the site is filled. The movie will projected on the side of the building starting around dusk (approximately 8:15) and runs for 90 minutes. The first 100 attendees will each receive one free jelly doughnut. There will be popcorn, food and beer concessions available from 6pm until the end of the movie.

The 12th Annual ArtsFest Film Festival, free to all audiences, will draw thousands of film enthusiasts to multi-genre film screenings at multiple venues around the capital city of Harrisburg. It runs May 22-25.--JACK CURTIN

May 13, 2009 - Maine Beer Trail Celebrates the State's Craft Beer Industry
Cities all over the country have begun emulating Philly Beer Week, creating a structure to celebrate craft beer and the people who make it and drink it.

Up in Maine, the most cantankerous of states, they've gone one better and upped the ante to a state-wide effort.

The Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Brewers’ Guild announced the creation of the Maine Beer Trail this week, to "spotlight the high quality and creative diversity of fresh, hand-crafted, Maine-made beer. The purpose of the Trail is to attract visitors to Maine to enjoy the vibrant micro and craft brewing industry found throughout the state."

According to the Brewers Association, Maine ranks fourth in the nation for the number of breweries per capita, with one brewery for every 42,000 residents. The state is home to New England’s first microbrewery, D.L. Geary Brewing (1986) and Gritty McDuff’s, the first brew pub to open in Maine since prohibition (1988). The industry has grown to include dozens of breweries and brew pubs statewide.

"From The Shipyard Brew Pub in Eliot, to Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor, to Kennebec River Pub & Brewery in The Forks," said a news release, "visitors are attracted to fresh, locally brewed beer and the Maine Beer Trail provides an easy to follow brochure that can be used throughout the state to find nearby pubs and breweries."

The Maine Beer Trail brochure is a guide to more than a dozen of the state’s breweries and brewpubs; it will be available at state Visitor Center and participating breweries and pubs and can be download Brochures can be downloaded from the Maine Brewers’ Guild website Main Brewers' Guild website.--JACK CURTIN

May 13, 2009 - Dixie Brewing, Which Has Been There, Sends Beer to Fargo Flood Victims
Dixie Brewing Company is sending 1000 cases of beer, 24,000 individual bottles,to Fargo, ND, in the wake of the recent flooding there so that Mayor Dennis Walaker can keep his promise to buy everyone in a town a beer in a post-flood party.

Dixie owners Joe and Kendra Bruno know about floods.

Hurricane Katrina seriously damaged the historic old Dixie plant in New Orleans in 2005 and looters did the rest, stealing anything that wasn't nailed down in the aftermath of that tragic storm. Dixie beers are now contract brewed in Wisconsin and there is serious doubt that the original brewery will be rebuilt, even though the Brunos pledge that it will. Someday.--JACK CURTIN

May 13, 2009 - Dunkel Berliner Weisse? Say what?
One thing that has become obvious about head brewer Ben Potts at Philadelphia's Dock Street Brewery since he took over the post several months back is his willingness to push the envelope.

In what might be his riskiest and most intriguing experiment to date, Potts has introduced Dunkel Berliner Weisse, a hybrid of two traditional German styles.

Berliner Weisse, a rarely brewed style which has come back into favor in U.S. brewpubs (inspired, it should be noted, by its reintroduction a few years back at Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant) is a light colored, high carbonated beer fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria to give it refreshing acidic tartness. To create a Dunkel (or "dark") version, Potts replaced the usual pale pilsner malts with darker ones, including chocolate and carmelized malts. The beer was fermented with Dock Street's house yeast.

The result, according to a news release from the brewery, "is a beer that harkens back to the rustic early days of brewing. It presents delicate aromas of earthy hops, raw wheat, dark fruits, figs, berries, currants and cocoa. The flavor follows suit – earthy and spicy hops, bready malts, raw grain, apple pie and currants, with hints of cocoa. It has a clean lingering acidity - all at a modest 3.85% abv."

Dunkel Berliner Weisse is a available on draught at the West Philadelphia brewpub and selected other locations in the city.--JACK CURTIN

April 29, 2009 - Philly Beer Week Moves to June in 2010
Philadelphia Beer Week will move to June in 2010 and be held June 4-13.

The news was announced today on the website of Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, one of the founders of the ten-day celebration of craft beer (with Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe and Bruce Nichols of Museum Catering Company).

Russell cited conflicts with other events, ranging from the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Zythos Festival in Belgium to St. Patrick's Day and the "Erin Express" (massive pub crawl on that date) as reasons for the move. He also noted that better weather would be a significant benefit and open the possibility of more outdoor events.

You can read his full posting here.

Philly Beer Week was begun in 2008 and has become one of the major beer celebrations in the nation and been imitated by several cities across the country.--JACK CURTIN

April 28, 2009 - Victory Prima Pils Tops New York Times American Pilsner Tasting
Prima Pils, the flagship brew of Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company, was award three-and-half stars and first place in a recent American Pilsner tasting conduced by New York Times wine columnist Eric Asimov, matching a similar top finish for the same beer four years earlier.

Penn Brewing Kaiser Pils, Troegs Sunshine Pils, Sly Fox Pikeland Pils and Stoudt's Pils also finished in the top ten in the judging.

Prima Pils, which the panelists described as "Crisp, floral and wonderfully refreshing with a lively, lingering bitterness," just nudged Kaiser Pils, which also receive three-and-a-half stars. Sunshine Pils earned three stars and was third in the judging, while the beers from Sly Fox and Stoudt's were given two-and-a-half stars and finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Asimov has been conducting regular beer tastings for the last few years, with panels consisting of him and NYT food writer Florence Fabricant, together with guest panelists. --JACK CURTIN

April 13, 2009 - Weyerbacher To Intro New Belgian Pale Ale in June
Zotten, a 6% abv, bottle-conditioned Belgian Pale Ale, will be introduced by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in early June with a major rollout campaign, Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard this morning. It will be available in 12oz bottles and on draft in all Weyerbacher markets.

"We will do a Debut Draft Night in the five-county Philadelphia market and in the Lehigh Valley at a whole bunch of places," Weirback said, "and possibly in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Boston as well. We're still in the process of setting all that up. The reason we're doing all this is that we think this can be a very important brand for us going forward and we want to give it a good solid launch."

Zotten ("fools" in Flemish) was originally released in June 2008 as the initial beer in Weyerbacher's ongoing Brewers Select series of one-offs, under the name "Alpha." It is the second one-off to became a part of the brewery's standard portfolio, joining "Charlie" from September 2008 which was released as Fireside Ale, Weyerbacher's new January seasonal earlier this year. While the new Belgian Pale is being released as a June seasonal at this point, Weirback and his team clearly have hopes that it can grow in something more than that.

The recipe for Zotten was developed by assistant brewer Jeff Musselman.--JACK CURTIN

April 04, 2009 - Dogfish Head To Expand Milton Brewery
Dogfish Head Craft Brewing has received approval from town officials in Milton, Delaware for a two-phased expansion of its 100,000 square foot plant there.

The Dogfish Head application argued that steady sales growth averaging 40% since the Milton brewery went online in 2002 means that they need additional tanks and more office space.

Phase 1 plans, presented by Dogfish Head brewery Chief Operating Officer Nick Benz,are for a two-story wood, glass and metal office space which will have a visitors center and tasting bar on the first floor similar to the current facility.The new second floor would have space for administrative, marketing and executive offices and overlook an outdoor pedestrian plaza.

Plans for Phase 2 would include plans for adding six of an eventual 18 fermentation tanks, each 46 feet high, which would line the front of the new facade.

After a three-hour discussion, the local zoning commission unanimously approved preliminary site plans under the condition that seven-foot tall leyland cypress trees would be planted on the property to help shield a neighboring residential neighborhood before expansion begins.

The brewery currently produces 75,000bbl annually and employs 70 people, including 26 added this year.--JACK CURTIN

April 03, 2009 - Flying Fish Releases "Exit Series," Honoring NJ Turnpike Exits
Cherry Hill's Flying Fish Brewing Company is flaunting its home-state pride with its Exit Series of Big Bottle Beers.

The series, the brewery's first major release of 750ml bottles, is a tribute to the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State. The first in the series, Exit 4 American Trippel, a Belgian-style bottle conditioned ale, has just been released. It is named for the exit nearest Flying Fish Brewing Company’s headquarters. The bottle-conditioned ale will be available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Future Exit Series Big Bottles will be named for other exits, chosen based on videos, photos and testimonials submitted to Flying Fish by fans. Submissions can be made here. The series will continue with three or four beers a year and eventually encompass all turnpike exits.

"We were among the first craft breweries to commit ourselves to using the Internet to build and enhance our business, and this new site allows us to reach out to our fans in a tangible way," says brewery founder Gene Muller. "New Jersey is great because the people here are great, and we want to make sure that they can participate in this special series of beers."

Flying Fish was one of the first craft brewers to create Belgian-style brews. Casey Hughes is head brewer.--JACK CURTIN

April 03, 2009 - Philadelphia Brewing Co. Will Be First Participant In General Lafayette "Brewer Residency" Program
Chris Leonard has created a Brewer Residency program at General Lafayette Inn & Brewery.

the program is seasonal and "residency" applies to beers not the actual brewer. There will be rotating brews from a visiting brewery on tap, as many styles as possible, and maybe some bottles as well. During rhe residency there will a beer dinner with beers from the General and the visiting brewer and/or a Meet the Brewer night, And a collaborative beer will be creates.

"The way the economy is going, I believe that anything we can all do as a community to help promote each other, the better it will be for everyone," Leonard explained. "I don’t see any reason we can’t keep that great feeling of Beer Week going all year long."

First one in the barrel is Philadelphia Brewing Company, running from April 2, when Walt Wit and Newbold IPA went on the draft lines. Their collaborative beer will honor the Art Museum residency with GLI/PBC Paul Saison. The beer will be brewed this month and available in May. Dates for the dinner and other promo events will be announced later.--JACK CURTIN

April 02, 2009 - Lancaster Brewing Wins Atlantic City "People's Choice Award, Hires Philly Sales Rep
Lancaster Brewing Company won the People's Choice Award at last weekend's Atlantic City Brew Fest.

In addition to being honored as the best of all the breweries present, Lancaster also took three medals in the Friday night judging.

Hop Hog won its second straight Gold Medal for best IPA and Bronzes for Strawberry Wheat (in the Wheat Beer category, having won Gold in the Specialty category in 2008) and Milk Stout, which won Gold in 2008 in the Porter Stout category.

Lancaster's John Franz, after passing on the Atlantic City results to the Beer Year today, added that he was equally excited to report that "we've hired a new sales rep at last, who will cover Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Delaware and New Jersey." Actually, the "hire" is more a shift in responsibilities since Angela Bauman is already employed by Lancaster. The 24-year old Millersville graduate is relocating to Philadelphia,her primary market area, in what Franz calls "a big step for Lancaster Brewing and one that is long overdue."

Lancaster's sales were up 36% in 2008 and Franz is projected 30% growth this year, "even in this economy. The economy will not affect us adversely at all, that's my vow." He said Lancaster will settle on the 90,000 sq. ft. building which will be the site of its new production brewery "in roughly six weeks. Then we start gearing up to buying equipment and setting things up. I'd guess it'll be another two years before we're operational."--JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2009 - Wegmans Buys Beer Yard, Will Open First "Mini-Wegs" and Sell Only Beer
In a surprise move dictated in part by the economy and in part by Pennsylvania's arcane beer laws, Wegmans, the rapidly expanding supermarket chain, has purchased the tiny building behind Starbucks on Lancaster Avenue which has been home to The Beer Year for more than a decade and will refurbish the site into the first of its new Mini-Wegs stores.

"This is something we've wanted to do for a while now and when we found a location as perfect as this one and then saw the magnificent structure, we knew this was the time and the place," said a Wegmans spokesperson.

In a sense, nothing will change as Mini-Wegs are designed solely for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and will only sell beer. "It's such a pain in the veggie aisle to get through all the red tape in this state just to sell beer that we decided to cut out everything else and go with the flow," the spokesperson continued. "By shrinking down to a smaller size and a single product line, we save more money than most of you will ever see in your lives. And by buying what is essentially a turnkey operation--I mean, this place rocks, from the lighting to the decor to the simple yet elegant presentation--we can just walk in and start doing business."

Beer Yard owner Matthew J. Guyer would not reveal how much he was paid for his business (he just laughed and laughed when asked), but acknowledged that he had signed a non-compete contract with Wegmans (laughter again) and was also on retainer as a consultant. "I promised to stop by whenever I'm in town for drinks at Teresa's," he said.

Guyer's right hand man, Mark Sauerbrey, has opted to stay with the new owners as director of customer service and will also be in charge of the weekly Friday Night Samplings which will continue under the Wegmans' banner. "I wouldn't have stayed if they had given me Friday nights," Sauerbrey admitted. "They've always been the highlight of my week, talking seriously about beer with people who are really serious about it and sharing my serious thoughts with them."--ZACK HURTIN

April 01, 2009 - Brett Pack Movie Announced
Tomme Arthur. Adam Avery. Sam Calagione. Vinnie Cilurzo. Rob Tod.

You know their names. You love their beers. And soon you'll be able to revel in their adventures on the big screen.

Mountebank Productions, a consortium of independent Hollywood producers who all started out as homebrewers, has purchased the movie rights to "The Brett Pack," a treatment and screenplay submitted by the pseudonymous "Joe Sixpack" and will rework it into a high budget action film for release in 2011.

In what is planned to be the first in an ongoing series of thrillers, the Brett Pack will battle their deadliest enemy, a fifth column which has infiltrated the United States brewing industry and calls itself Super Extraordinary Special Spies in our Nation (S.E.S.S.I.O.N.).

"Hey, we'd really like to respect the work of the writer," said C. B. DeShill, leader of the consortium, while explaining the revisionist tale, "but the truth about these fellas, except for that Calagione guy and the Avery one now and then, just don't cut it. I mean, they got wives or business plans or both. Boring. We need some juice here so we turned them into a band of international adventurers out to spread the cause of truth and justice and maybe a little hops here and there."

No actors have been cast for any of the roles as yet because there is strong consideration being given to a major change for some of the characters. "You gotta have a broad or two," DeShill explained, "so maybe we play a little switheroo and there's a Tammy Tod or a Teri Arthur on the team, we dunno yet."--HACK MURTIN

April 01, 2009 - Berwick Beer Week Will Feature Every Brewery in Town
Guy Hagner opened his One Guy Brewing in Berwick, a small borough in Columbia County, southwest of Wilkes-Barre, on January 26, 2008. "I have a two-barrel system and a simple dream," he said of his aptly named endeavor, "to make as much good beer as one guy can make and to sell it all right here."

As a guy who had brewed at The Lion in Wilkes-Barre and Dixie Brewing in New Orleans, not to mention two weeks or s at the short lived Franconia Brewery in Mt. Pocono (1999-99), however, Hagner has found it difficult to keep his dreams simple.

Once you've seen the lights of the big city...

It was announced today that One Guy will be the host brewery for Berwick Beer Week, April 17-26. It will in fact be the only brewery participating, after a rumored partnership between sandwich shop kings Five Guys and Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company, under which the latter would operate "a really small brewpub" inside a new Five Guys store on the site of an historic old barbershop downtown, fell through when an unnamed investor in the brewery filed suit claiming "it's just too damned far for me to drive every day." The details became known when that same investor spammed 42,873 people with a copy of his complaint along with three links to videos making fun of women drivers.

One Guy will maintain its regular Thursday-Sunday schedule during the big celebration, but will add several "Meet Guy, the Brewer" sessions each day, as well as "Dinner with Guy," pairing One Guy beers with pizza, hot dogs and potato chips on both weekends. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Hagner will "do some stuff at the gas station and the hardware store, maybe bring some growlers to a few folks at their homes."

Hagner also said that famed beer writer Lew Bryson, who does wild game dinners during Philadelphia Beer Week, would do the same on Wednesday night of Berwick Beer Week, beginning with hunting and killing the meal earlier that day, then skinning and cooking it outside the Berwick Theater, which will have a special showing of "some movie with a lot of beer in it."

"We don't know how many people will come to town for this," Hagner admitted, "but I'm confident it will all work out. And next year I hope to spread out to the suburbs, maybe Helms or Mifflinville, or even Hazelton and Bloomsburg." --LACK CERTIN

March 24, 2009 - Brewer Dean Browne Creates the Philly Beer School
Dean Browne, a long-time brewer and peripatetic figure on the Philadelphia brewing scene, has created The Philly Beer School as an adjunct of the Wine School of Philadelphia, which was founded in 2001 by winemaker Keith Wallace. Classes are conducted at the Wine School's two-building complex at 2006-2008 Fairmount Avenue.

Browne said this week that h he is working closely with Wallace on the new venture. "Our plan is to offer two or three themed beer tasting and homebrewing classes of varying technical depth each month initially, then build that up to more in-depth brewing and beer sommelier training."

Four classes have already been conducted, three during Philly Beer Week, and the next one, "Belgian Beer & Brewing Class," will be held on Thursday, March 26.

Browne, a native of Toronto, has been brewing professionally for 20 years. He began as a homebrewer in his home town because the price of beer on the shelves was higher than he was willing to pay. He worked at Yards Brewing for several years after coming to Philadelphia, When owners split up in late 2007 opted to stay with Bill and Nancy Barton and their new Philadelphia Brewing Company.

Three years ago Browne also took on the job of head brewer at the Porterhouse Brewpub and Restaurant in Lahaska, a post he still holds.--JACK CURTIN

March 23, 2009 - "Declaration of Beer Independence" Creates American Craft Beer Week Controversy
America's craft brewers will celebrate American Craft Beer Week, May 11-17. The annual event might is somewhat controversial this time around due to the Brewers Association's urging consumers to
"declare their independence by supporting breweries that produce fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year and are independently owned...[by signing] a Declaration of Beer Independence."

The BA is asking brewers to encourage craft beer enthusiasts to sign to the document online and to post copies in their brewpubs for patrons to sign.

Among others, New England beer writer Andy Crouch was struck by some of the terminology in the document. He was especially curious about a line in the document which reads...

"I declare to practice the concept of ‘Informed Consumption’ which has me deserving to know if my beer comes from a small and independent brewer or if it is owned by a mass production brewing company.
...arguing that the concept was part of an ongoing "definitional war" being waged by BA against the mass market brewers and even craft brewers which are partially owned by larger interests.

The contretemps is similar to one which developed a few years ago when the BA created a new definition for "Craft Beer" which eliminated some breweries from the category.

BA officials say that knowing who makes a beer, where it is made and who owns the company is important information which cannot always be found on beer labels. The fundamental counter argument is that the various rules about size and ownership create unnecessary distinctions and conflict and focus on extraneous matters rather than the quality of the beer itself.

The Declaration of Beer Independence can be found here.

Crouch's column on the issues, plus comments by readers, can be found here.--JACK CURTIN

March 15, 2009 - Proposed Victory Pub in Easton Now Appears Ready to Happen
According to a story posted on the website of the Easton Morning Call by reporter Michael Duck late this afternoon, that long-awaited brewpub venture between Victory Brewing Company and the owners of The Farmhouse in Emmaus is going to happen, possibly as early as the fall.

The new venture will not be in the former Pomeroy's department store as original planned but will be opened across the street in former Weller Health Education Center. Both sites are located on Northampton Street adjacent to Easton's Centre Square.

From Duck's story:

The brewpub "really fills a niche that's not there right now" in Easton's growing restaurant scene, Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said, adding that the establishment would be aimed at young professionals and the thousands of young families that visit the nearby Crayola Factory.

Art Schmidt Sr., co-owner of the Farmhouse, said plans to put the establishment in the Pomeroy's building evaporated months ago because the project had stagnated. The Weller building will also require much less renovation than Pomeroy's, which has been vacant since 1977...

The brewpub's backers envision it as a 300-seat restaurant offering pub food as well as pool tables, shuffleboard tables and a video arcade. The $3.5 million project could be completed as soon as this fall, said Farmhouse co-owner Art Schmidt, Jr.

Here's another story posted on LehighValleyLive.com.--JACK CURTIN
March 13, 2009 - First Phoenixville Pub Crawl Celebrates Philly Beer Week Tomorrow
Phoenixville will add to its growing reputation as a good beer town on Saturday, March 14, when the first-ever Phoenixville Pub Crawl is held.

Participating locations include Pickering Creek Inn, 101 Bridge Restaurant, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Columbia Bar & Grill, Molly McGuire's, P J Ryan's, all located on Bridge Street, and the Epicurean Restaurant & Bar and Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery on Rt. 113.

Fergal Murray, brewmaster at Ireland's famed Guinness Brewery, will be at Molly McGuire's 1-3pm, followed by Victory brewmaster Bill Covaleski 3-5pm.

Weyerbacher Brewing's Chris Lampe, Southampton Publick House's Spencer Neibuhr and a brewer from Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant will be on hand at Pickering Creek and a brewer from Stoudt Brewing Southampton will appear at 101 Bridge. Resident brewer Tim Stumpf and some of of his fellow Iron Hill brewers will be at Iron Hill Phoenixville. Lancaster Brewing's Bill Moore will hold court at the Columbia Bar & Grille and a brewer from Troegs Brewing and Drew Perry of Flying Fish Brewing will be at P.J. Ryan's.

Brewers from Dogfish Head Craft Brewing and Yards Brewing will be at Epicurean Restaurant & Bar, while William Reed of Philadelphia's Standard Tap, who formulated and helped Sly Fox brewmaster Brian O'Reilly brew their annual Philly Beer Week release, Standard Ale, will be at Sly Fox.

Beers from the participating breweries will be on tap at the venues where they appear.--JACK CURTIN

March 02, 2009 - Yards, Iron Hill Combine To Make Rare Polish Beer for Philly Beer Week
Steve Mashington of Yards Brewing Company and Justin Sproul of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant's original Newark location have joined forces to brew Yards Smoked Polish Wheat, a Grodziski-style beer for Philly Beer Week.

"As far as I know, this style has never been brewed in this country before," says Mashington, "and it is all but forgotten in its native land, Poland, as well. There are maybe one or two producers left in that country."

Mashington's desire to brew the beer, which he describes as a "smokey, slightly tart wheat beer of very low alcohol," was part of the inspiration for the Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em smoked beer event at the Yards Brewery on Friday, March 13. He read about Grodzizkis in a Michael Jackson book and originally planned to brew it on the original small Yards brewing system which will be set up in a small corner of the new Delaware Avenue brewery for just such small-batch projects but when it became clear that setting up the mini-brewhouse was at least a year in the future, he shelved the idea.

"Then, when I was at the Iron Hill Newark Cask Ale Event earlier this year, I started talking to Justin about it and how cool it would be to resurrect a dead style of beer. He got all excited and said `Let’s brew it here!' And that's just what we did."

Both brewers began researching the style, determining that no one has made it since the early 1990s. Mashington found a recipe in a home brewing book by Randy Mosher, who provided further information that he had and confirmed that NO ONE had ever commercially produced a Grodziski in the USA.

The original recipes we could find called for almost 100% smoked wheat malt," Mashington says. "Since we didn't have the time or resources to smoke 500lbs of wheat malt, we had to sort of reverse engineer this beer. Beechwood smoked malt, wheat malt and some acidulated malt highlighted the grain bill. We elected for a Kolsh/Alt yeast thinking that was probably the closest thing to a yeast strain you would find in Poland at the time. Since this beer should not be hoppy, we figured on Northern Brewer and Saaz, but in very small quantities."--JACK CURTIN

February 27, 2009 - Philadelphia Brewing Company's Fleur De Lehigh Now Officially a Seasonal Release
Philadelphia Brewing Company's Fleur de Lehigh, a smash hit as a one-off release last year, was brewed for a second time yesterday and today at the Kensington brewery and will be added to the PBC portfolio as a summer seasonal.

"We expect to release it on draft in early April," brewer John Rehm told The Beer Yard today, "and we're working labels right now to release it in bottles when we get approval, that will happen in May or June if we're lucky."

The initial release of Fleur de Lehigh was "crazy," He noted. "I didn't even get to try it on draft. We had some bottles we did by hand here, a couple of cases, and that's all I had. It was out and gone in two weeks." That success is what inspired the brewery to bring the beer back.

Fleur de Lehigh will only be in variety cases this year, Rehm said, with no plans for stand alone cases at this point. It is a Saison-style beer, depending on herbs and spices more than hops for its character. This batch was made with fresh ginger, rhubarb, lemon grass and cardamon, and brewed with PBS's Belgian yeast (La Chouffe) combined with its ale yeast.

"Light and easy to drink," Rehm summed up, "with subtle herbal notes."--JACK CURTIN

February 27, 2009 - Philadelphia Brewing Goes to the (Shacka) Maximum for Philly Beer Week
Philadelphia Brewing Company will introduce Shackamaximum Imperial Stout at the celebration of its first birthday at its Kensington brewery on Saturday, March 8, in conjunction with the ten-day craft beer extravaganza known as Philly Beer Week.

The beer, says PBC head brewer John Rehm, is a classic interpretation of the style,"only less roasty and more chocolate-y. It's about 8% abv, not overwhelming, sos it won't knock you over or anything. It had a really big OG (Original Gravity), so it has plenty of body like a good stout should."

Brewing a big stout was a trip into the past for him and fellow brewer Josh Ervine, Rehm added. "I took things from some of my old recipes at John Harvard's and Josh's old recipes from Dock Street. Actually, it was at those previous jobs that either of us had made a stout like this. In the end, we just blended all the ideas we had together and came up with what is a typical Imperial Stout.

"We used lots of malt, a high mash temperature for lots of body and stuffed as much grain as we could into the mash tun as we could for a single batch of beer. And we aged the beer since the beginning of January on French oak chips to give a special character."

The brew produced 30bbls, and the beer will be release on draft only. It will introduced at PBC's first anniversary party at the Kensington brewery on March, Look for it at various PBC appearances throughout Philly Beer Week and at the Real Ale Festival at Yards Brewery on Sunday, March 15.

After that? "I just filled a whole bunch of firkins and pins and they'll turn up where anybody wants them if any are left after Philly Beer Week," Rehm laughed.--JACK CURTIN

February 27, 2009 - Yuengling Brews a Classic Bock to Mark Its 180th Anniversary, Philly Beer Week
Every special beer which will be pouring during Philly Beer Week, March 6-15, has its own story, of course. For D.G. Yuengling & Son of Pottsville, that story is all about its storied history and tradition.

Yuengling Bock is the first seasonal release from America's oldest brewery in over three decades and a celebratory brew marking the brewery's 180th anniversary.

It doesn't get much more traditional and historical than that.

"We convinced Dick (Richard L. Yuengling, Jr., fifth generation owner of one of the nation's longest surviving family businesses) that our 180th birthday was good enough reason to bring back what used to be our Lenten season release," said marketing manager Lou Romano. "He remembered his father and uncle brewing a bock back in the early '70s."

The beer was formulated by Jim Helmke, plant manager at the Yuengling brewery in Orlando, Florida, and brewed by brewmaster John Houseman. Helmke stressed that he worked at the Pottsville plant and lived locally from 1996 to 2002 and that Houseman is a native Philadelphian who started his career at Ortlieb's to clarify their Philly bona fides.

"We wanted create a beer with the authentic characteristics of a beer which Yuengling would have brewed from the 1930s through the post-war era," he said. "We didn't have the original recipe, but we went through a lot of other old recipes and, adding in our knowledge of the way Yuengling brewed beer back then, came up with something we thought was pretty close.

" When we had a sample with the right bitterness, aroma and color--this is a dunkel bock, darker than many people are used to--we send it up to Pottsville. The marketing people made a few minor tweaks to bring it in line with modern tastes and we had our beer."

The first production batch came out of the Mill Creek plant in Pottsville and a second was done in Orlando. The beer is expected to be available for ten weeks in all of Yuengling's markets (although only in the Savannah area in Georgia).

"It's a very traditional and distinctive beer for our portfolio," Helmke said. "Both John and I are very pleased with it."--JACK CURTIN

February 24, 2009 - Is That an Echo I Hear? Weyerbacher Plans Philly Beer Week New Release
As many local breweries began embracing the concept of creating a new beer to be released for Philly Beer Week, Weyerbacher Brewing Company found itself perfectly positioned to join in the fun because of its ongoing Brewers Choice series of one-off releases.

While not on the brewing schedule for the series released by Dan Weirback last December, Echo, a Rye-PA whose malt profile includes Pale, Crystal, Carapils and 30% Rye (along with Simcoe and Centennial hops), will be released the opening weekend of PBW and be featured at Weyerbacher events in both the city and suburbs over the ten-day celebration.

Echo will be a draught-only release except for a limited number of cases of 12oz bottles available at the Easton brewery itself, beginning Saturday, March t. It and will be distributed throughout the Delaware Valley five-county market as well as in Western Pennsylvania, Boston, New York City and parts of Florida.

"We're calling it a Winter IPA," said head brewer Chris Wilson. "I wanted a version of the style which was a little darker than our Hops Infusion and Double Simcoe and it ended up a nice deep copper color." He noted that "it is particularly difficult to make a beer using that much rye. We did a Rye Barleywine which was 50% rye for our 12th anniversary beer and that was a nightmare to make; brewing Echo was pretty close to that same experience."

So the brewing staff isn't hoping that this release catches on with the public and ends up a part of the regular rotation? "Hey, if it catches on, it catches on," Wilson laughed. "We'll make it with no complaints if that's how it goes. We're in the business of making beers that people like."--JACK CURTIN

February 24, 2009 - Sip Safely With SEPTA Passes a Real Boon for Philly Beer Week Attendees
One of the really good new aspects of Philly Beer Week 2009 in its second year is Sip Safely with SEPTA, a collaboration between PBW organizers and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority which offers attendees a safe and affordable way to travel safely during the ten-day party.

Sip Safely with SEPTA offers travelers a unlimited, bus-trolley-rail pass which is good for travel on all SEPTA-operated services all day long after 9:30am.

Passes cost $9 a day and are now available for purchase online and at most SEPTA locations.

Ticket purchases and more information are available here or by telephone at 215.580.7800.--JACK CURTIN

February 21, 2009 - Phoenixville Plans "Meet the Brewer" Pub Crawl March 14
Brewers and representatives from 12 different breweries, one of them traveling across the Atlantic from Ireland, will be appearing at eight Phoenixville restaurants at a "Meet the Brewer" Pub Crawl on Saturday afternoon, March 14.

The event is sponsored by Main Street Phoenixville, the local business organization and will run from 1-5pm.

Participating locations include Pickering Creek Inn, 101 Bridge Restaurant, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Columbia Bar & Grill, Molly McGuire's Irish Restaurant & and Pub, P J Ryan's, all located on Bridge Street, and the Epicurean Restaurant & Bar and Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery on Rt. 113.

Fergal Murray, brewmaster at Ireland's famed Guinness Brewery, will be at Molly McGuire's 1-3pm, followed by Victory brewmaster Bill Covaleski 3-5pm.

Weyerbacher Brewing's Chris Lampe and a brewer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewing will be on hand at Pickering Creek and Southampton Publick House's Spencer Neibuhr will appear at 101 Bridge. Resident brewer Tim Stumpf and some of of his fellow Iron Hill brewers will be at Iron Hill Phoenixville. Lancaster Brewing's Bill Moore will hold court at the Columbia Bar & Grille and a brewer from Troegs Brewing and Drew Perry of Flying Fish Brewing will be at P.J. Ryan's.

Brewers from Stout Brewing and Yards Brewing will be at the Epicurean Restaurant & Bar, while William Reed of Philadelphia's Standard Tap, who formulated and helped Sly Fox brewmaster Brian O'Reilly brew their annual Philly Beer Week release, Standard Ale, will be at Sly Fox.

Beers from the participating breweries will be on tap at the venues where they appear.

Pub Crawl organizers Mark Edelson, director of brewing operations for Iron Hill, and O'Reilly say they hope to make the event an annual affair and add shuttle transportation between the various locations in the future.

"Phoenixville has built up a great reputation as a destination town for beer lovers," said O'Reilly, "probably the best local in the region outside of Philadelphia itself. We want to build on that and and continue to draw in visitors to support our local merchants."--JACK CURTIN

February 20, 2009 - The Flying Mouflan From Troegs Will Be Introduced During Philly Beer Week
Add Tröegs Brewing Company to the local breweries which will be introducing new beers during Philly Beer Week, March 6-15.

Intriguingly, that new beer already has a Great American Beer Festival Bronze Medal to its name from its previous one-off appearance and a provenance which stretches back to before Troegs even started.

The Flying Mouflan was #4 in the "Scratch Beer Series" begun by John and Chris Trogner and their brewing staff in 2007, producing one-offs based on recipes the brothers developed in the mid-'90s when they were considering opening a brewpub rather than a production brewery. The medal-win in Denver last October convinced the brothers to make the barleywine-style ale the first beer to come out of the Scratch program and be added to the production roster.

"It has a nonsense name, a creature we just made up," said John Trogner, talking about Flying Mouflan's initial incarnation, "reflecting that we weren't quite sure exactly what style beer it was. It was fresh and delicious when we released it and when we opened some year-old bottles when we sat down with the brewers to choose what to send to Denver, we unanimously agreed it had aged into a classic barleywine."

Chris Trogner added that "after it won the bronze medal John and I felt it was important to release this beer. It is the first release in what will become a new Troegs line of 22-ounce seasonal brews."

The Flying Mouflan (9.3%) will make its first appearances at numerous events during Philly Beer Week, the brothers said, and be available in 22oz bottles at bars and retail stores in mid-March.

"We classify this beer as pushing Nugget Nectar off the side of a cliff," said John Trogner. "It is bold and intense--think hops dipped in candied sugar and rolled in dark chocolate nibs. Put away and allowed to over time, it transforms into lush raisin and chocolate overtones as the hops subside and the rich barley flavors come out in the beer."--JACK CURTIN

February 11, 2009 - Victory to Release Wild Ale Version of HopDevil IPA to Mark Philly Beer Week
Victory Brewing Company will release a Belgian-style, year-round "wild ale" version of its most popular beer, HopDevil Ale, at the The Brewer's Plate on March 8 in conjunction with Philly Beer Week 2009.

WildDevil Ale first appeared, draft only, in a test batch when Victory reopened its expanded and refurbishing Downingtown brewpub in May 2008. It was a major success, says brewery co-founder Bill Covaleski. "Given that HopDevil is 40+% of our overall sales, we were nervous of our loyal audience’s reaction," he admitted. "Fortunately, our local audience has a great capacity to appreciate the nuanced flavors we create here and they embraced WildDevil with great enthusiasm."

WildDevil is fermented with Brettanomyces and brewed with the same American hops that give HopDevil its grapefruit, citrus and pine flavors. The addition of a signature Belgian yeast strain contributes a funky, sharp tang to produce a more worldly ale, in which German malts, American whole flower hops and Belgian yeast combine.

Brettanomyces (or Brett) yeast strains are completely separate species from the Saccharomyces yeast strains used to brew most beer and are thought to be closer to strains found in the wilds of nature. Of the several Brett strains that Victory had to choose from out of its arsenal of yeast strains, the particular one used for WildDevil was chosen due to its unique characteristics in relation to this recipe, according to a company press release.

"This strain produces a spicy complexity that interplays profoundly with the intense hop character of the HopDevil recipe," Director of Quality Assurance Dr. Tim Wadkins is quoted. "It sits somewhere near the middle of the range as far as the funkiness it can produce, giving the final product a surprisingly refreshing and unique imprint on the palate."

The Brewer's Plate, to be held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum for the first time, is considered Philadelphia prime-time beer and food pairing event and is one of the headlined showcases of Philly Beer Week. It is a more than appropriate venue to release a new Victory beer since Covaleski is the person credited from creating the event four years ago, as a fundraiser for Fair Food, an organization dedicated to bringing locally grown food into the Philadelphia marketplace and promoting a humane, sustainable agriculture for the Greater Philadelphia region.

Following its debut, WildDevil will be available throughout Philly Beer Week (March 6 – 15) at various locations throughout the city and the suburbs, both on draft and in 750mL bottles. Thereafter it will be available year-round in 750ml corked bottles. Kegs will also be available during the initial release. --JACK CURTIN

February 10, 2009 - Equity Firm To Acquire High Falls Brewing
KPS Capital Partners LP, a private-equity firm which specializes in turnarounds, is acquiring High Falls Brewing Co., the closely held maker of the Genesee and Dundee beer brands.

KPS is also is among the final bidders for Labatt USA; Anheuser-Busch InBev has been ordered to divest itself of that importing firm by the Department of Justice. A sale is expected soon. C2 Imports, a small importer led by former A-B exec Charlie Cindric, is also bidding for Labatt.

KPS hopes to combine High Falls and Labatt USA, both based in upstate New York, and explore other transactions in the industry, which is undergoing rapid consolidation.--JACK CURTIN

February 04, 2009 - The Beer Yard One of World's Best Beer Retailers, RateBeer Members Say
The Beer Yard was selected the sixteenth best beer retailer in the world and fourteen in the United States in the just-released 2009 Best Awards compiled by the RateBeer.com website. It was the only Pennsylvania retail outlet on the list.

This was the ninth awards listing from RateBeer, the result of what the site claims is "the largest beer competition in the world--over 1.97 million reviews of 91,000 beers from over 8700 brewers worldwide. A particular emphasis was placed on tastings from the last year's performance. Additionally, brewpubs, bottle shops, restaurants and bars around the world were awarded prizes."

The RateBeer judgments are not based on any formal event and are determined by a compilation of reviews by the site administrators, so there are no set standards against which beers and beer locations are judged and the results are essentially based upon the opinions of a wide range of participants with varying degrees of beer knowledge. "RateBeer is now home to the most experienced beer critics in the world," the site claims. "with three master beer tasters having over 11,000 documented beer ratings. Additionally, over 2700 RateBeer members have over 100 ratings each." The report summary notes that 90% of the top ten raters are from outside the United States. The list of Top Brewpubs had Victory 21, Dogfish Head 25, Stoudt Brewing Company 40, Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery 45 and Triumph Brewing's Princeton location 50. Eulogy Belgian Tavern in Philadelphia was tenth on a list of Best Beer Restaurants. The complete results are available here. --JACK CURTIN

January 28, 2009 - Memphis Taproom Seeks Vintage Beer Collectors for Sales Event
The Memphis Taproom is looking for help from sellers of memorabilia for a Philly Beer Week event on Sunday, March 15, the final day of the the ten-day celebration of all things beer.

Beer memorabilia, that is.

"I'm trying now line up vintage beer or breweriana collectors who might interested in selling items such as signs, coasters, vintage beer or bottles, whatever they have," says Leigh Maida, who operates the popular new Kensington pub with husband Brendan Hartranft. "We want to make the event as large as possible."

The event will run from Noon to 3pm in the lot adjacent to the Taproom. There is no fee for sellers to participate but space is limited so interested parties should contact her soon, Maida said, adding that "This is a chance for seasoned collectors to buy/sell/swap treasures and an opportunity for the rest of us to try to get hold of rare or never seen beer and beer related stuff."

Madia can be contacted via email here.--JACK CURTIN

January 26, 2009 - "Sip Safely" Travel Option for Philly Beer Week Offered by SEPTA
In a collaboration sure to delight many prospective attendees, Philly Beer Week 2009 is joining with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Sip Safely with SEPTA, an unlimited, all-day, bus-trolley-rail pass that will be sold for $9.00, valid any one day between March 6 and March 15.

The pass will be sold at most SEPTA locations starting January 30. A complete list of sales locations, including the opportunity to purchase, is available here (click on travel).

The pass is valid for unlimited rides, all day long, until the end of service, and will feature a festive, specially designed PBW 2009 logo to signify SEPTA’s partnership with Philly Beer Week and their unified commitment to the safety of participants. Passes are not valid on Regional Rail Trains arriving in Center City before 9:30am, nor for travel to or from stations in the State of New Jersey.

"We are delighted to be able to offer this affordable, convenient alternative to driving to ensure that Philly Beer Week is not only fun but also responsible," sais PBW co-chair Don (Joe Sixpack) Russell.--JACK CURTIN

January 22, 2009 - Weyerbacher, Dogfish Head Beers on Draft Magazine Top 25 List
Weyerbacher Blasphemy and Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron are the only beers made in the Delaware Valley to appear on a list of the Top 25 Beer of 2008 compiled by the staff of Draft Magazine which is currently available online and appears in the January/February issue currently on the newstands.

There is no indication that the order of the list has any significance but the Weyerbacher beer was listed fifth and the Dogfish one was seventeenth, for what it's worth.

This what was written about each:

Blasphemy by Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Belgian specialty ale

Blasphemy is appropriately named: The brewers took their rich, complex QUAD beer and aged it in American bourbon barrels. Experimental, fringe and, yes, even blasphemous, it doesn’t really matter; this beer is unforgivably delicious.
Tasting Notes: This is a full-bodied brew with a modest alcohol presence in the aroma and flavor. The barrels impart subtle notes of vanilla and orange to an already complex beer with fresh cracked pepper spice and bold caramel sweetness.

Palo Santo Marron by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Brown ale

Dogfish Head is proud of its off-kilter ways and big beers with a lot of attitude. In 2008, the brewery installed the largest wooden vats in the nation since Prohibition, made from a hardwood most people associate with flooring, then aged this impressive brew inside. The results were amazing, as these potential floorboards lend an excellent flavor addition to a big ABV beer.
Tasting Notes: The beer has a sharp wood character that tastes like new American oak, only stronger. Layers of malt sweetness and a peppery hop presence balance the flavor.--JACK CURTIN

January 13, 2009 - Local Artist's Work To Be Featured at Opening of Dawson Street Pub Back Room Gallery
Local artist (and neighbor) Trish Siembora will open a new artists’ space, The Back Room Gallery at the Dawson Street Pub, 100 Dawson St. in Manayunk, on Saturday, January 31.

Siembora is the first to showcase her art work at the new venue at the recently renovated Dawson Street Pub. The space was the former home of the "infamous" Cloak and Dagger Room murals created by Washington D.C.-based artist Mark T. Smith but will will now feature a rotating collection of work by local artists.

The Back Room Gallery Opening will run 1-6 p.m. A craft show will be held in conjunction with the opening, featuring jewelry, screen printed tee shirts, bags, wire glass art, hats, scarves, mosaics, frames, magnets, votives, books and more.

"Bring your appetite and thirst; savory delectables and seasonal beverages are available at the Pub," says owner Dave Wilby in a news release today.--JACK CURTIN

January 09, 2009 - Bourbon Barrel Aged Beers Featured at Iron Hill During February
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will feature Beers from the Barrel, a celebration of bourbon barrel-aged beers, throughout the month of February all all seven of its locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

All month, each Iron Hill location will spotlight two house brewed beers that celebrate this uniquely American style of beer.

"In the past, our bourbon barrel- aged beers have only been available sporadically and in small quantities," Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson explained. "With this month-long event, guests will experience a variety of these special beers on draught as long as supplies last."

The Iron Hill program include bourbon barrel renditions of Pig Iron Bourbon Porter served on nitrogen, Russian Imperial Stout, Barleywine, Tripel, Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter, and Dubbel.

American brewers started aging beers in bourbon barrels in the early 1990s. Bourbon can only be aged in new oak barrels by law and then the barrel must be put to other use or destroyed. Often, other alcohol producers, including brewers, use those barrels to add a special character to their products.

The aging process gives beer a distinct flavor of bourbon, oak and vanilla and is ideal for adding depth of character to heavier brews.--JACK CURTIN

January 04, 2009 - Craft Ale House, Local 44 Open as Scheduled
As reported here last week, The Craft Ale House on Ridge Pike in Limerick, created by Gary and Melissa Fry, opened on Monday, December 29 at 11am, and Local 44 at the corner of 44th & Spruce Streets in West Philadelphia, the new enterprise by Brendon Hartranft and Leigh Maida, of Memphis Taproom in Kensington, opened at 5pm on New Year's Day.

From early reports, both enterprises have been welcomed by steady streams of local craft beer fans.

The website for Craft Ale House (at least for now) is located here and includes contact information, hours and an updated on tap list.

The website for Local 44 is located here and includes the same information (you'll have to click various links to get it).

Both sites have been favorably reviewed by local beer writers. Lew Bryson visited Local 44 on opening night and recorded his impressions here and my own Liquid Diet report on opening day at the Craft Ale House are here. --JACK CURTIN

January 03, 2009 - Allentown Brew Works Will Celebrate Obama Inauguration January 20
One of President-Elect Barack Obama's stops during the Pennsylvania Presidential Primary which got a lot of attention was his visit to Bethlehem Brew Works where he sampled Fegley ESB and proclaimed ""Now thats' good beer! That's Good Stuff!"

For craft beer lovers, regardless of politics, that was a golden moment.

And that moment and the beginning of the Obama Presidency will be marked at Allentown Brew Works on Inauguration Day with both a Buffet Luncheon and evening Inauguration Party ( see the Beer Yard calendar for details and a link).

Beer was a factor throughout the 2008 election campaign, with sen. John McCain's wife Cindy being the owner of one of the nation's largest Anheuser-Bush distributorships and sen. Hillary Clinton doing shots and beers in Indiana.--JACK CURTIN

December 22, 2008 - Local 44 in Philadelphia, Craft Ale House in Limerick Will Both Open Next Week
The Craft Ale House on Ridge Pike in Limerick, created by Gary and Melissa Fry, will open for business on Monday, December 29 at 11am.

Local 44 at the corner of 44th & Spruce Streets in West Philadelphia, the new enterprise by Brendon Hartranft and Leigh Maida, of Memphis Taproom in Kensington, will open for business at 5pm on New Year's Day.

Both locations will feature local and national craft beers and quality imported brands and have been eagerly anticipated by the local beer community.--JACK CURTIN

December 10, 2008 - No More Dock Street Amber in Bottles
In the late 1980s, Dock Street Amber Ale was the first Philadelphia craft beer in a packaged market in which the other new craft offerings were Sam Adams Lager, New Amsterdam Ale and Stoudt's Gold and Fest. The contract-brewed beer was selling 5,000bbl annually at its peak in 1990, the year that brand co-founders Jeff Ware and Rosemarie Certo opened Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant in center city.

The pub flourished (a case be made that it was the first "extreme" brewpub ever with its wide range of styles) and the Amber continued as a contract brew, along with the popular seasonal Illuminator Doppelbock.

The beers disappeared for a while at the turn of the century as a result of the collapse of Ortlieb Brewing, which had licensed the rights to the brand when Ware and Certo sold the brewpub to investors in 1998 (it closed in 2001). Certo resurrected the brand in 2004 after re-acquiring rights and then opened Dock Street Brewery, a West Philadelphia brewpub, in August 2007.

For now at least, however, Dock Street will cease making a packaged beer. After struggling to find a niche in a changed and much more competitive and crowded market, Dock Street Amber will no longer be contracted, Certo told the Beer Yard last night.

"I hope we can bottled our RyePA ast some point in the future as part of a bigger Dock Street future than I can foresee," she said, "but until then we will be concentrating on the brewpub and draught distribution in the Philadelphia area."

RyePA has been the breakout beer at the new brewpub, a hoppy IPA (described as a Pale Ale on the pub website) made with 20% rye, It will be joined by three new brews from recently appointed head brewer Ben Potts for the holiday season, Certo added.

"Man full of Trouble Porter, a nod to the only pre-revolutionary tavern still standing in the city, is brewed with old-world style in mind. It's brewed with black and chocolate malts and a blend of American Centennial and English Fuggles hops," she said. "Our Prince Myshkin’s Russian Imperial Stout (9.5%) is brewed with a large percentage of roasted and chocolate malts and then aged on oak chips for added depth and complexity. And finally, Hop Garden Double IPA (9%) is based on Ben's 'Best of Show' award winning homebrew recipe and contains 12 different hop varieties; it is also dry-hopped in the bright tank with a special blend of hops."

Man Full of Trouble Porter will join the basic Dock Street lineup while the other two beers will be rotated in the specialty beer lineup.--JACK CURTIN

December 09, 2008 - Weyerbacher Announces 2009 Seasonal Releases, Will Hold the Line on Prices
Dan Weirback of Easton's Weyerbacher Brewing Company today released the brewery's 2009 seasonal beer release schedule to the Beer Yard:

January will see the release of the new Fireside Ale (a 7.5% dark ale made with 10% smoked malt which was part of the 2008 one-off "Brewers Choice" series, and two barrel-aged perennials, Heresy and Insanity, will be the February releases (no Blasphemy in 2009). Slam Dunkel, now in 12oz four-packs rather than large bottles, will be released in March.

April will see Blanche and May's release will be Muse, both standard spring seasonals, while June will be marked with another new beer coming out of the one-off series, a 6% Belgian Pale Ale as yet unnamed. The 14th Anniversary Beer will be released in July (not yet determined). Autumnfest and Imperial Pumpkin will come out in August as usual, while Harvest Ale, introduced last year and brewed with hops grown on the Weirback farm, will return in September. "We will brew enough this time to serve all our markets," Weirback stressed, "all 14 states."

Winter Ale will be the October beer, Quad will come out in November and a December beer is still undecided.

At least four different Brewers Choice one-offs will be made in 2009, Weirback added, "draught to a few additional markets as well as those from last year and a limited supply of bottles at the brewery. We will also have about 300-350 cases of Riserva, our Brett beer, in 2009, in 75oml, corked and caged bottles, released somewhere between April and June. Plus we did our Merry Monk's Ale in the 750 size last year and will do some other beers in the size, maybe an unfiltered version of Double Simcoe IPA and possibly Blithering Idiot or Quad."

Welcome news for consumers was part of Weirback's message as well. "Our dollar sales were up almost 30 percent this year and unit sales about 15 percent. Given that, and since we took our big hit on hops prices in 2008 and weathered the storm, we will be holding the line in 2009. Our prices will not change at all next year."--JACK CURTIN

December 09, 2008 - Sierra Nevada Adds Torpedo Extra IPA To Year-Round Beer Releases
Is it mere coincidence that shortly after former Drafting Room Exton general manager Patrick Mullin joined Sierra Nevada as a sales representative the brewery announced the first addition to its year-round sales line-up since the company was founded in 1980?

The jury is still out on that one, but Mullin did tell the Beer Yard from his office this morning that "we are indeed releasing Torpedo Extra IPA early next year as a 12oz, year round, bottle only product. Although it will be released from the brewery on January 15, it is not expected to be available in this market until Monday, January 29."

He added that "Torpedo Ale has been available seasonally on draft for the last four years and the recipe has changed slightly with each release. The new bottle format will brewed according to yet another new, unique recipe. No one outside of the brewery has tasted this new recipe yet."

Packaged Torpedo Extra IPA is brewed with a new hop varietal called Citra, which is said to have a strong fruit flavor and aroma profile "leaning toward pineapple, mango, papaya and other tropical fruit."

It has been a popular misconception that Torpedo is a different version of Celebration. In fact, the beer's name comes from a cylindrical stainless steel vessel packed full of whole cone hops used for dry-hopping which brewery co-founder Ken Grossman and the brewers came up with several years ago. The device harnesses the essential oils and resins in hops, without extracting bitterness and was originally used to dry-hop Celebrator. Sierra Nevada has since gone back to traditional dry-hopping methods for that brew. --JACK CURTIN

December 09, 2008 - Bethlehem Brew Works Plans To Reopen This Weekend Following Kitchen Fire
Bethlehem Brew Works, shuttered since last Saturday evening due to a small grease fire which started in the kitchen, expects to be open again for business by this weekend, with full bar service and limited food service.

The two alarm fire apparently started in the kitchen of the restaurant, and made its way into the duct work in the ceiling and upper floors of the building. The cooks extinguished the original fire but the fire in the duct burst a sprinkler in the offices above and the rain began to fall through the dining room down into the Steelgaarden.

Everything has been cleaned up and is ready for some minor repairs to the Steelgaarden and some major repairs in the kitchen, according to the Bethlehem Brew Works website.

The building was safely evacuated and no one was injured in the fire.--JACK CURTIN

November 30, 2008 - Bell's John Mallet Will Be Third American Collaborator With De Proef
SBS Importers announced today that Bell's Brewery of Michigan will be the American partner in the 2009 De Proef Brewmaster's Collaboration Series in which a U.S. brewer collaborates with Belgian brewery Dirk Naudts.

John Mallet, production manager for Bell's, will travel to De Proef in Lochristi, Belgium, in March to brew the as-yet-to-be determined beer in March. It will be released to the USA market in September 2009.

The initial beer in the series was Signature Ale in 2007, brewed by Naudts with Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. Jason Perkins of Allagash collaborated in 2008 on Les Deux Brasseurs. Both beers have been exceptionally well-received by beer enthusiasts. Signature Ale has since been released a second time, a solo brew by Naudts.

"Each year it is my pleasure to invite a noted American brewer to participate in this series," noted SBS Founder Alan Shapiro. "I am thrilled that John Mallet & Bell's have agreed to be the 2009 partner." Mallet noted that "I am really looking forward to this project. I have several family ties to the area which makes this invite to brew with Dirk Naudts at De Proef even more special."

De Proef Brouwerij of Lochristi, Belgium was created in 1996 by Naudts, a highly regarded brewing engineer and professor, Dirk Naudts. The ultra-scientific brewery blends modern equipment and technologies with both traditional and new world brewing techniques. SBS Imports was created in 2002 by Shapiro, a specialty beer industry veteran. In addition to the DeProef brands, SBS represents Aspall Cyders from Suffolk, England and Batemans beers from Wainfleet, England.--JACK CURTIN

November 19, 2008 - Iron Hill Will Release Four Award-Winning Lambics in Bottles
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will release four of its most acclaimed beers in bottles at Kick-Off Tastings at its Media and Wilmington locations on the first two Saturdays in December, offering local aficionados an opportunity to catch up with these often difficult to find award-winners.

Kreik de Hill, Framboise, Cassis and straight Lambic are Iron Hill’s most awarded varieties. The Lambic won Gold medals in 2003 and 2008 at the Great American Beer Festival, Kreik won a Gold in 2005 and a Bronze in 2007, while the Cassis took a Bronze in 2008. Framboise also won Bronze in the 2004 World Beer Cup.

"It takes three to four years to make one batch of lambic beer," explained Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edleson, "and in the past we’ve only offered these beers at special events for the most part. We are excited to now be able to make them available to everyone who appreciates these great beers."

The first release party will be at Iron Hill Wilmington On December 6, 2-5pm, where Brian Finn will have all four of the beers available for sale in 750ml bottles. The following Saturday, December 13, 2-5pm, at Iron Hill Iron Media, brewer Bob Barrar will have the Lambic available for sale in 750ml bottles and Kreik and Framboise in a smaller, 375ml size.

The 750ml bottles will cost $24.50, while the 375ml bottles will cost $13. The lambics will only be available in those sizes and will be sold only at those two locations. Supplies are limited.--JACK CURTIN

November 19, 2008 - Ithaca Brewing Offers Unique Promotion in Philadelphia Market
Ithaca Brewing Company, in conjunction with the Ithaca/Tompkins County Tourist Bureau and I-Town Records, is initiating a unique promotion in the Philadelphia market which offers consumers a sampler of the brewery’s best beers, a CD showcasing Ithaca’s homegrown music scene and an open invitation to visit the artsy Finger Lakes community.

"The unlikely partners realized by working together, they could affordably promote their town, its sound, and their favorite brew to an important audience," according to a press release from the tourist bureau.

"Philly is an incredible market for us to test something like this," said Dan Mitchell, president of Ithaca Beer. "It’s one of the smartest beer towns in the country, there’s an incredible music scene and Philly consumers are passionate about what they like. We know if we make it in Philly, we can make it anywhere."

The heart of the promotion is "14 Reasons," a CD that includes new songs by roots-rockers Donna the Buffalo and The Horse Flies, along with an eclectic mix of tunes from another dozen Ithaca-based artists. The disk is inside specially marked variety packs of Ithaca Beer, the brewery’s most popular product. "We never heard of anyone trying anything like this before," said Fred Bonn, director of Ithaca’s visitors bureau. "We’re able to really engage people at a sensory level—see it, taste it, hear it. That’s pretty cool, especially in a big market like Philly."

The Ithaca variety case includes Nut Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Gorges Smoked Porter and CaskaZilla Red Ale. Ithaca Beer was voted New York’s top craft brewery at the 2008 Tap NY Festival. I-Town Records, A cooperative label, has produced quality independent music since 1996.--JACK CURTIN

November 07, 2008 - Appalachian Brewing Company will introduce Pennsylvania's first "Certified Organic" beer on December 1
Harrisburg's Appalachian Brewing Company will introduce Pennsylvania's first "Certified Organic" beer on December 1.

"ABC's Trail Blaze Brown Ale is now certified by PA Certified Organic and USDA Organic for production in our Harrisburg brewery," reports new Sales & Marketing Manager Brian Whetstone.

"We installed a separate organic ingredient handling system and brewed the first batch of Trail Blaze in October. This fine beer is currently conditioning in our tanks and will be ready for next month's release. Look for this product at all ABC locations, fine area pubs and beer bars, and distributors throughout the region."

Appalachian describes Trail Blase as a "deep copper colored American Brown Ale which has smooth roasted caramel flavors balanced by an evident hop bitterness and aroma."--JACK CURTIN

November 03, 2008 - The Lion Has Big Changes In Store for 2009
The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre is looking forward to a 2009 in which the historic plant will be "coming up with some new products and re-inventing some of the old ones," Operations Manager/Brewmaster Leo Orlandini told The Beer Yard this morning.

And if you think he's kidding, get this:

"We are putting some of this year's Holiday Warmer into two oak barrels and will age it and then tap it next year for our Oktoberfest celebration," he said. "This is new ground for us, but the great thing is that we have a lot of brewers in this area who are very helpful. Bob Klinetob, our master brewers, makes some phone calls and get help and suggestions to help us along."

Orlandini also said that The Lion has receive "countless telephone calls and emails and letters asking us to bring Liebotschaner Cream Ale back so we made a corporate decision to do just that, in both bottles and kegs, probably in the first quarter of 2009. And we're talking about Summer Stock Lager returning as well. Bob and I always thought that was a wonderful beer, but for whatever reason, it didn't sell locally. We kept hammering and hammering the ownership, every opportunity we got, saying we've got to bring this back.

"The great thing with our new owners (The Lion was purchased by two formed Coca-Cola executives, Ron Hammond, who is now CEO, and Cliff Risell, who is now the company president, in November 2007) is that they're really receptive to that sort of thing. We should see that next summer."

He added that it hasn't been decided yet whether it would replace Midsummer White in the Stegmaier lineup or be added to the current lineup.

Other plans include renaming the anniversary Steg 150 Stegmaier Amber Lager; that will be introduced under a new label either late this year or early in 2009. Lionshead Pilsner will also be getting a label upgrade.--JACK CURTIN

November 02, 2008 - Iron Hill New Jersey Site Right on Schedule, More Locations Planned by 2011
In a follow-up interview to the impressive six-medal win for Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant at the great American Beer Festival in Denver last month, co-founder and Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson told The Beer Yard in an interview today that plans for a seventh Iron Hill site in Maple Shade, New Jersey are right on schedule and that Iron Hill plans to bottle its award-winning Lambic ales.

"We just auctioned off all the assets we acquired from the Italian restaurant with the building last week and will begin gutting inside in two weeks," he said. "We bought the old Independence Brewhouse and will install that. We have not chosen a brewer yet but will before the opening. It is likely to be done internally from one of our current brewing staff." The new site is scheduled to open in May.

As for the Lambics, Edelson said they will be bottled and released for the holidays with the date and scheduled release date to be announced this coming week. "We have six different medals now, between GABF and World Beer Cup, for our Lambic ales so I think there is demand for them among the real beer connoisseurs."

Iron Hill plans to open six additional pubs by 2011, according to a news release sent our vie email last week. Edelson acknowledged to The Beer Yard today that "if it wasn't for the current economic situation and our need to remain cautious, I could tell you right now that we would be opening a second site in 2009. For the moment, we'll see how the fourth quarter goes and them make a decision."

He added that a Philadelphia Iron Hill is not out of the question but unlikely at this point. "If the right situation or deal presented itself, we would certainly look at it. But, to be honest, because of the price of real estate and the opportunities to become a real part of the community, the suburbs fit our business model just right."--JACK CURTIN

October 13, 2008 - East Coast Breweries Win 40 GABF Medals in Denver
Pennsylvania (14 medals) and New York (10 medals) led the Northeast Coast to its best overall performance yet at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival in Denver this past weekend.

The results from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey are here and account for 21 of the region's 40 overall medals.

New York's total of ten included two medals each for Captain Lawrence Brewing and Ithaca Beer Company:
Gold: Kick-Ass Brown, C.H. Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station, Albany; Whiteface Black Diamond Stout, Great Adirondack Brewing Co., Lake Placid; Xtra Gold, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Pleasantville;
Silver: Brute and CascaZilla, Ithaca Beer Co.; Saratoga Lager, Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., Saratoga Springs;
Bronze: Black Hole XXX Stout, Chelsea Brewing Co., New York; Golden Delicious, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.; Rare Vos, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown; SMP, Sixpoint Craft Ales, Brooklyn.

Maryland breweries took six medals, two Golds, three Silvers and a Bronze, with there breweries splitting the total evenly:
Gold: Dogtoberfest, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick; Highland Courage, Rock Bottom Brewery, Bethesda;
Silver: Old Scratch Amber Lager, Flying Dog Brewery; Right On Rye , Rock Bottom Brewery; Clipper City Pale Ale, Clipper City Brewing Co.
Bronze: Clipper City MarzHon, Clipper City Brewing Co.

A Gold and a pair of Bronzes were garnered by Massachusetts breweries--Gold to Arquebus from Cambridge Brewing Co. and Bronze to Ameherst Brewing Co.'s Ryeteous Red and Samuel Adams Utopias 2003. Connecticut was the other Northeastern state to win a medal, Silver for Spanish Peak Crystal Weiss from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co. of Stamford.--JACK CURTIN

October 12, 2008 - Iron Hill Wins Four GABF Gold Medals, Dogfish Head, Sly Fox and Stewart's Also Win Gold
Six medals, four of them Gold, by Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant led nine Delaware Valley Breweries to an impressive 17-medal performance at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver yesterday.

Appropriately enough, and impressively as well, six different brewers accounted for the Iron Hill medals, under the guidance of director of brewing Mark Edelson: The four Golds: Chris LaPierre, Saison de Hill (West Chester); Bob Barrar, Lambic de Hill (Media); Tim Stumpf, Roggenbier (Phoenixville); Justin Sproul, Vienna Red Lager (Newark); Silver: Larry Horwitz, Cherry Dubbel (North Wales); Bronze: Brian Finn, Cassis de Hill (Wilmington).

Iron Hill's headquarters are located in Newark, Delaware and another Delaware beer producer, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, did a complete three-medal run: Gold for Red and White in the Specialty Beer category, Silver for Pangaea in Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer competition and Bronze for Palo Santo Marron in that same category.

Gold Medals were also won by Brian O'Reilly of Sly Fox Brewing in Royersford for his Rauch Beer in the Smoked-Flavored Beer category and Ric Hoffman of Stewart's Brewing (Bear, Delaware) for Wind Blown Blonde in the German-Style Kölsch category.

Flying Fish Brewing of Cherry Hill, NJ, won its first GABF medal ever with a Silver for Abbey Dubbel in the Belgian-Style Abbey Ale. Casey Hughes Is the brewer. Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant of Philadelphia and brewer Gordon Grubb took Silver for Saison, finishing second to Iron Hill in the French and Belgian-Style Saison judging.

Troegs Brewing Company of Harrisburg took home two Bronze medals, for Dead Reckoning Porter in the American-Style Stout category and Scratch #4 -The Flying Mouflan in the Barley Wine-Style Ale competition. (For those to whom the first of these medals raises a question, note that stouts and porters have much the same profile in GABF beer categories and brewers may select to enter their beers in any category they choose).

Other regional Bronze medalists were Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works and brewmaster Beau Baden for Bag Piper’s Scotch Ale (Strong Scotch Ale) and Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown and brewmaster Ron Barchet for Prima Pils (German-Style Pilsener).

Other Pennsylvania breweries winning GABF medals included Bullfrog Brewing of Williamsport(Gold for Beekeeper in Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer), Erie Brewing Company (Bronze for Railbender Ale) and Pennsylvania Brewing Company (Gold for Kaiser Pils; Bronze for Oktoberfest).

An overview of East Coast GABF wins will be posted in the near future.--JACK CURTIN

October 12, 2008 - Lew Bryson Wins GABF Journalism Award, Extends Philadelphia Streak
Local beer and spirits writer Lew Bryson, a resident of Newtown, kept alive a Philadelphia streak at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Saturday when he won the Michael Jackson beer journalism award for trade and specialized beer and brewing media with "The Secret History of Craft Beer," a story he wrote for All About Beer magazine.

Carolyn "The Beer Fox} Smagalski, Marnie Old and Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell have each won one of the three annual beer journalism awards previously (the other categories are electronic media and consumer print media). That run covers the entire history of the Jackson awards.

Bryson's win also extended a streak for All About Beer, which has had a winning piece among the awards over the past few years. He is the author of Pennsylvania Breweries (now in its third edition) and several other beer travel books and managing editor for Malt Advocate magazine and a contributor to a wide range of beer and spirits publications on a freelance basis.--JACK CURTIN

October 12, 2008 - Major Brewery Awards at GABF 2008
Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Anheuser-Busch, Inc.; Doug Muhleman;

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Pyramid Breweries Inc.; Simon Pesch;

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: AleSmith Brewing Co.; The AleSmith Brewing Team;

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Rock Bottom Brewing; Rock Bottom Brewing Team;

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Redwood Brewing Co.; Bill Wamby.

October 09, 2008 - Joe Sixpack Names Troegs Mad Elf the World's Best Holiday Beer in New Book
In his his book, Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest and Most Unusual Holiday Brews (Universe, 2008), Philadelhia beer writer Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell selects Troegs Brewing Company's The Mad Elf as the number one holiday beer in the world.

That should increase the already srtong demand for the popular seasonal from the Harrisburg brewery. It is already appearing in several markets in an 22oz packaging and should be in all markets by the end of the month. The classic 101 ounce bottles start shipping the week of October 27 and draft will be released the week of November 17.

Russell's book, released in late September, looks at the 2,000-year-old worldwide tradition of brewing and drinking festive ales and lagers during the winter holidays, and lists the 50 Best Christmas Beers Ever. There are reviews of 150 plus Christmas brews; and provides home brewing recipes for ambitious readers who want to try their hand at the winter warmer brewing tradition.

"It is the first comprehensive collection of information about the 2,000-year-old worldwide tradition of brewing and drinking festive ales and lagers during the winter holidays," according to a news release from the publishers. That release quotes Russell explaining how he wrote the boook. "I have had the privilege of traveling around the world in search of great beers, and whether in Austria or Norway, crafting a strong drink to celebrate the winter solstice is a universal tradition. This book covers this lovely custom from its early origins to modern innovations. Christmas beers are more of a tradition than Christmas itself, spanning a huge range of cultures and practices."

The press release added that Russell will host a Winter Warmers on December Tasting at West Philadelphia’s Armory as part of the promotional effort. It will include "classroom-style instruction on the qualities of Christmas beers, information that is taught at only one other place in the country" and will cost $75. There is no indication exactly where that "one other place in the country" is.--JACK CURTIN

October 08, 2008 - Live Videocast of GABF Awards Ceremony at Iron Hill North Wales [UPDATE-Stewart's too]
Iron Hill's North Wales restaurant will host a live simulcast of of the awards ceremony at the The Great American Beer Festival this Saturday afternoon, beginning at 2pm.

The awards ceremony itself will begin at 3pm and the first beer awards will probably be made around 3:30 and the live videocast will begin then.

The annual GABF gathering in Denver honors the best in American brewing with gold, silver and bronze medals winners in more than 75 categories. "Every year, we send our best beers to compete in the GABF," says Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson. "With this event, we’re thrilled to invite our guests to experience the nail-biting excitement of the awards announcements alongside us, as we enjoy some of the great beers we entered this year."

Iron Hill North Wales is located in The Shoppes at English Village at 1460 Bethlehem Pike and is one of seven Iroh Hill locations in the region. Head brewer at North Wales is Larry Horwitz.

UPDATE: A late email to The Beer Yard this afternoon reports that Stewart's Brewing, located at 219 Governor's Square, in Bear, Delaware will also stream the videocast. Join the fun there as they bite their nails over the fate of the six Stewart's beers entered in the competition. --JACK CURTIN

October 05, 2008 - Earth, Bread & Brewery To Open Thursday, October 9
Earth, Bread & Brewery will open its doors at 7136 Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy on Thursday, October 9 at 4:30pm.

Owner/operators Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver closed their Heavyweight Brewing Company in the summer of 2006 to pursue their brewpub dreams. It took roughly a year to find the new location, which was formerly home to the Anglesea Pub; construction and a lengthy licensing ordeal stretched out the process even farther.

EB&B will feature flatbread and Baker's beers, along with guest craft beers. More details to follow.--JACK CURTIN

October 03, 2008 - Tiedhouse Will Open Doors Thursday, Oct. 9; Official Opening Scheduled for Oct. 20
The Tiedhouse, a new tavern which will feature a wide range of draught beers from the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery and other craft beers and imports on draught and it bottles (along with bottles from General Lafayette) will open its doors on Thursday, October 9, at 4:30pm.

Twelve General Lafayette beers will be on draught for the opening. An official Grand Opening is scheduled for October 20.

The new venture is on the ground floor of the CityView Condominium at 2001 Hamilton St. between 20th and 21st streets; between Spring Garden and Callowhill.

The Tiedhouse will have a full wine list and bar and feature an internationally-inspired small-plate menu (albondigas, tandoori chicken wings, olives de provence, cheese) along with a few sandwiches and bistro-style entrees (short rib, chicken paillard, scallops), which they hope will encourage sharing and multiple food/beverage experiences. --JACK CURTIN

October 01, 2008 - Victory, Stoudts Fest Beers Finish in Top Ten in New York Times Judging
Victory Brewing Company's Festbier, which won a Gold Medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival just shy of one year ago, finished second among ten beers in a recent blind tasting of 24 Oktoberfest beers conducted by Eric Asimov of the New York Times.

The results are in today's paper.

Thomas Hooker Octoberfest took first place in the voting and Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen was third. All three top finishers scored three stars from the panel. Stoudt Brewing Company's Oktoberfest finished tenth in the judging, rounding out a competition in which seven of the top beers were from the U.S.

After the top three, the beers, in order, were Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen, Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest, Mendocino Oktoberfest, Harpoon Octoberfest, Beck’s Oktoberfest, Brooklyn Oktoberfest and Stoudts.

Joining Asimov on the panel were Florence Fabricant of the Times, a regular participant in the paper's periodic beer tastings, and guests Richard Scholz, an owner of Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and local beer and spirits writer Lew Bryson of Newtown.--JACK CURTIN

September 30, 2008 - Victory Still Hopes to Open in Easton, Says Covaleski
Victory Brewing co-founder contacted the Beer Yard today to say that the Express Times story quoted in our original story about Victory's hopes for opening a pub in Easton was somewhat misleading.

Covaleski's statement:

Though Ed Sieger wrote a good article and all of my quotes are accurate, I just had to write him and admonish him over the definitive tone of his misleading headline. There was no "one way or another" quote from me. All quotes are otherwise accurate. We WANT to be there. We require an appropriate building and the one that we first ventured into Easton over looks like it has no future. Therefore, we are investigating others.
For clarity's sake based on this new information, we have done one minor, and noted, edit to the original story as well.--JACK CURTIN

Original Story (27 Sep 08):
For the first time, Victory Brewing Company, in the person of co-founder Bill Covaleski, has spoken on the record about the various stories which have appeared over the last year and a half about its intentions of opening a pub in Easton.

They're coming. [EDIT to remove "one way or the other."].

From today's Express-Times and reporter Edward Sieger:

Victory Brewing plans to move to Easton regardless of Ashley Development's plans to renovate the Pomeroy's building
EASTON | As Ashley Development Corp.'s plan to rehab the former Pomeroy's department store languishes in financial uncertainty, a co-owner with Victory Brewing Co. said the company remains interested in moving to Easton.

"We were very enthused by the building, the space, the opportunity," Bill Covaleski said. "We really wanted to be part of the project and situation."

The Chester County-based brewery was to anchor revitalization efforts of the long-vacant Pomeroy's building in the 300 block of Northampton Street. Arthur Schmidt, co-owner of the Farmhouse restaurant in Emmaus, planned on partnering with Victory to open the Victory Square Brewing Co. on the building's first floor.

But the housing market tanked and Ashley Development shelved plans to build for-sale 30 condos on the upper floors. The project languishes as Ashley searches for a way to finish it.

Covaleski said last week that he and founding partner Ron Barchet were excited about situating themselves below 30 condominiums. He also affirmed Victory's remaining interest in two area locations, including one in Downtown Easton.

"We're kind of without a home," Covaleski said, acknowledging Ashley is at the mercy of a bad economy. "We're not in the driver's seat."...

[ ... ]

Mayor Sal Panto confirmed Thursday that Victory has considered at least one other Easton property. "Art Schmidt and Victory Brewing are committed 150 percent to the project," he said.

Elsewhere in the story, Covaleski noted that Victory considers itself a regional brewery and is very proud of its involvement in the community.--JACK CURTIN
September 26, 2008 - McGillin's Olde Ale House Named One of the U.S.'s "Coolest Bars"
McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operating tavern, was named to Gourmet Magazine’s list of 14 coolest bars in the United States. Gourmet editors call McGillin’s one of their favorites and note that it "has plenty of old-time character."

"We’ve never tried to be cool, we just try to provide a friendly atmosphere, a great regional beer selection and reasonably priced food," says co-owner Chris Mullins, whose family has owned McGillin’s for 50 years. Originally called The Bell in Hand, the tavern opened in 1860 inside a small row house. The laborers who frequented the place just called it McGillin’s after William McGillin, the Irish immigrant who owned the bar and raised his 13 children upstairs.

The other bars designated by Gourmet magazine editors as the coolest in the U.S. include Bemelman’s Bar in New York City; Tujague’s in New Orleans, Tosca Café in San Francisco; The Green Mill in Chicago; Huber’s in Portland, OR; Frolic Room in Hollywood; Formosa Café in West Hollywood, CA; Heinold’s First and Last Chance in Oakland, CA; Napoleon House in New Orleans; Pete’s Tavern in New York City; Shinnick’s Pub in Chicago; Sultana Bar in Williams, AZ and The Tap Room of the Griswold Inn in Essex, CT.--JACK CURTIN

September 23, 2008 - Victory (2), Sly Fox & Troegs Win Summer USBTC Regional Championship Honors
Victory Brewing Company took took two Regional Championships in the recently completed Summer portion of 14th annual United States Beer Tasting ChampionshipTM (USBTC) recently completed the Summer Event, Prima Pils in the Pilsner category and Whirlwind Wit in the Belgian Wit category.

Two other local breweries finished with Honorable Mentions in each catergory, Sly Fox Brewing with Pikeland Pils in the first and The Lion Brewery with Midsummer White in the latter.

Sly Fox won a Regional Championship of its own with Saison Vos in the Belgian/French Specialty category, with McKenzie Brew House taking Honorable Mention for its Saison Vautour. McKenzie won another Honorable Mention for Unicorn Amber Ale in the Amber/Red Ale judging.

Troegs Brewing won the area's fourth Regional Championship for Dreamweaver Wheat in the Wheat Beer category, giving the Delaware Valley a total of eight awards.

A total of 398 beers from 133 breweries were examined across 13 different beer categories. Within each category,the USBTC determined both a Grand Champion and the best entry from each of six U.S. regions: 1) Northeast, 2) Mid-Atlantic/Southeast, 3) Midwest, 4) Rockies/Southwest, 5) California, and 6) Northwest/Pacific.

The Grand Championship beers were Ale Founders Centennial IPA, Old Dominion Pale Ale, Eugene City Track Town 100 Meter Ale (Amber/Red), Grand Teton Bitch Creek ESB, Schlafly Bier De Garde, Allagash Wit, Schlafly Golden Ale (Kolsch), Capital Brewing Autumnal Fire (Bock/Doppelbock), Mendicino Red Tail Lager (Pilsner), Two Brothers Dog Days Dortmunder, Sand Creek Woody's Wheat, Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale and Port Brewing Cuvee de Tomme.--JACK CURTIN

September 20, 2008 - Craft Ale House To Open in Limerick
Gary and Melissa Fry plan to open Craft Ale House at the site of the former Limerick Deli at 250 West Ridge Pike. They hope to be in business before Thanksgiving, pending state and township approvals.

The restaurant and bar are will be approximately 2100 square feet with seating for twelve and tables for 50 additional customers with room for future expansion.

"We want to feature the whole microbrewery range," Gary Fry told The Beer Yard this evening. "We want to support our local brewers, of course, but we will also bring in the best beers from around the country and the world.

"We will be meeting with the person who will do our draught system on Tuesday and think we will be able to start with ten to 12 taps and perhaps add a beer engine for cask ales later."

Gary Fry has a purchasing job currently but has been a bartender in the area in recent years. "Most people will remember me from Sunnybrook and later Ortlieb's," he says, "and I did a brief stint at Sly Fox in Royersford when they first opened. Overall, though, I've been in the restaurant business on and off since 1990."

Melissa Fry, who has also worked in the restaurant field, is a teacher of autistic children.

Permits have been submitted to the state and to Limerick Township, Fry said, and their approvals will determine the opening date. Currently the duo has just begun the clean-out of the former deli fixtures and equipment.

He added that they will hire a head chef and that the menu will be "pub fare with a creative twist," citing Philadelphia's Standard Tap and South Philadelphia Taproom as venues he would like to emulate. "We want to be something of a gastropub," he laughed, "but we won't use that terminology out here."--JACK CURTIN

September 12, 2008 - The World's Best Selling Beer Is....Chinese
Sometimes being the biggest guy in the room serves only to make you a target.

Anheuser-Bush, on the eve of finalizing its acquisition by Belgium's InBev to create the world's larges brewery, no longer makes the world's top selling beer.

Snow Beer, a Chinese brand marketed by a joint venture between SABMiller and China Resources Enterprise Ltd., either has or soon will become the best-selling beer in the world, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

The information was confirmed by the U.K.-based market-research firm Canadean Ltd. According to the WSJ, "about 51.2 million hectoliters, or about 1.35 billion gallons, of Snow were consumed last year, compared with 48.4 million for Bud Light as a stand-alone brand, the firm says." Another U.K. research firm, Plato Logic, still has Bud Light on top by a slim margin which seems unlikely to hold up.

From the WSJ: "Snow's production was less than one-tenth of its current level six years ago, when the regional brewer started developing a now-extensive national distribution network and began buying competing brewers in the fragmented Chinese market. That helped it tap China's growing ranks of beer drinkers...Though the Chinese drink less beer per person than Americans or Europeans, China's beer market has been the world's largest for the past six years and is growing 10% a year, according to Euromonitor. Snow's rapid growth illustrates the promise of China's vast consumer base."

the story also noted that SABMiller and China Resources are working to create a more upscale image and appeal to a wealthier clientele with new releases such as "Snow Draft, Snow Super Premium and a beer marketed as 'The Great Expedition,' which is linked to an advertising campaign focused on outdoor adventure sports such as whitewater rafting and mountaineering and which targets younger, higher-income customers. They are pushing for more urban consumers in places like Beijing and are updating the look of the product with smaller bottles similar to the kinds imported beers come in." --JACK CURTIN

September 09, 2008 - Anheuser-Busch Revamps and Expands Michelob Brand
Anheuser-Busch is expanding and repackaging the beers sold under the brand of its Michelob subsidiary and will support the relaunch with national print and electronic media advertising and with an updated website.

The move will bring A-B's various craft-style beers under the Michelob umbrella, including Shock Top Belgian White; organic Stone Mill Pale Ale; and seasonal beers Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale, Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale, Sun Dog Amber Wheat and Beach Bum Blonde Ale. They will join Michelob, Michelob Light, Michelob AmberBock, Michelob Honey Lager and Michelob Porter and the new Michelob Dunkel Weisse and Michelob Pale Ale as part of the line.

All the beers will be available year round and will be packaged in the brand’s signature brown bottle and gold label.

A-B says that the Michelob brand is designed "to give even more autonomy and creative license to [our]skilled brewmasters to brew their interpretations of classic styles."--JACK CURTIN

September 04, 2008 - Iron Hill Comes to New Jersey, Will Open in Maple Shade in May 2009
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, will open their eighth location in Maple Shade, New Jersey (124 East Kings Highway) in May 2009. The news was released exclusively to The Beer Yard this morning by founding partner Mark Edelson.

The site is currently home to a restaurant called Pasta Vino. and will accommodate 280 guests.

The new restaurant will join other Iron Hill outlets in Newark, DE; Wilmington, DE; Media, PA; West Chester, PA; North Wales, PA; Phoenixville, PA and Lancaster, PA.

Iron Hill management has long wanted to move into the New Jersey market. There was a tentative deal for a location there several years back which fell through, leading to the opening of the Wilmington location instead. Ironically, it was Wilmington where the company first wanted to open when it was founded in 1995, but the inability to find an appropriate site there led them to debut in Newark instead.

“We are so thrilled to open our eighth restaurant in lovely Maple Shade. We hope that New Jersey will be as delighted with our house-brewed beers and delicious cuisine as Pennsylvania and Delaware have been,” says Iron Hill founding partner Kevin Finn in a news release to be sent out later today. Kevin Davies is the third co-partner in Iron Hill, along with Davies and Edelson.

An executive chef and brewer for Maple Shade have not yet been selected.--JACK CURTIN

August 28, 2008 - Imbibe Chooses Four Philadelphia Beer Venues Among Best 100 in U.S.
Four Philadelphia restaurants have been named to Imbibe Magazine's list of the 100 best places to drink beer across the United States, the magazine said in a news release this afternoon.

"Philadelphia’s Tria, Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Monk’s Café and the Standard Tap made the list of the top 100," the emailed announcement said.

The news release explained thta "a wide array of beer bars, gastropubs and shops were nominated both by Imbibe staff and Imbibe readers, with 100 making the final cut onto the list of 10 categories: Best Draught List, Best Bottle List, Best Locally Brewed Offerings, Best International Selection, Best Places to Geek Out, Best Irish-Style Pubs, Best Beer Shops, Best Belgians, Best Gastropubs and Best-Kept Secrets."

"This has been one of Imbibe’s most ambitious features,” senior editor Hannah Feldman was quoted as saying. "We had to weigh the respective merits of hundreds of beer lists and venues to narrow things down to our top 100. But it was energizing to see how many great beer spots there are in America today—wherever you are, there’s probably a fantastic beer list a lot closer than you think."--JACK CURTIN

August 28, 2008 - Memphis Taproom's Hartranft and Maida Will Open Local 44 in West Philadelphia
The beat goes on as another craft beer focused tavern will be opening in Philadelphia, this one pushing the beer frontier even farther into West Philadelphia.

Brendan Hartranft and wife Leigh Maida , the two most visible partners in the recently opened and very successful Memphis Taproom in the city's "Port Fishington" (Port Richmond and Kensington) section will be opening Local 44 on 44th Street in West Philadelphia.

Hartranft, who became a local beer celebrity while bartending at Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant on Sansom Street, will run the beer program and Maida will be the on-the-scene manager.

Details can be found here.

August 26, 2008 - Maybe Yards Will Be A Dark Horse for the Nomination
When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was asked to bring beers from his hometown to a special event called A Taste of American Cities to be held at the Democratic Convention in Denver, CO tonight, he knew exactly where to turn.

Beers from Yards Brewing Company, the city's oldest production brewery which first began producing beers in 1995, will be pouring at the gathering, which is put on by Democratic mayors.

Yards sent out cases of Philadelphia Pale Ale, which will be enjoyed with soft pretzels and cheese steaks by the attendees. No word whether Barack Obama, who quaffed a few craft beers in Bethlehem during Primary season, will be on hand (actually, he probably won't even be in Denver until Wednesday).

One has to assume Budweiser will be the beer of choice at next week's GOP convention; putative nominee John McCain's wife is an Anheuser-Busch heiress. --JACK CURTIN

August 20, 2008 - New Philly Oktoberfest Set For Armory on September 27
Philly Oktoberfest 2008 , a new event developed by Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe, Bruce Nichols of Restaurant Catering Company and local beer writer Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell will be held at the 23rd Street Armory (between Market & Chestnut) on Saturday, September 27.

The venue is a huge, 15,000-square-foot hall and there will also be a tented outdoor area. German-style food, live music and a beer education session will be offered with a focus on regional, American and German craft beer, including at least five of the authentic Munich Oktoberfestbiers.

in a broader sense, the massive event (the organizers hope to attract 3,000 or more attendees) expands the annual activities which help defend the city's argument that it is the Best Beer Drinking City in the nation (part of the proceeds will support Philly Beer Week 2009); in a smaller sense, it is a replacement for the popular Oktoberfest held by the now defunct Ludwig's Restaurant.

A significant public relations campaign is planned to promote Philly Oktoberfest. Spaten USA an Origlio Beverage are major sponsors. Tickets will be available online soon. --JACK CURTIN

August 06, 2008 - Lost Abbey The Angel's Share Is Top American Beer at GBBF
Lost Abbey The Angel's Share, the bourbon-barrel aged strong ale from California, took first place this morning in a judging of American cask-conditioned beers being served at the Bieres Sans Frontieres bar at the Great British Beer Festival.

Beers from two New England breweries finished second and third, Mayflower Brewing Porter and Cambridge House IPA respectively.

Alton's Pride, a 3.8 percent best bitter made by Triple fff Brewery from Four Marks in the south coast county of Hampshire, was named the Champion Beer of Britain 2008 in blind tastings by the judges. Head brewer and proprietor Graham Trott, 55, who started Triple fff in 1997, told the local press that winning the accolade was "everything I've strived for."

More than 750 different beers, most of them British cask ales but also ones from breweries as far afield as Japan, South Africa and Australia as well as the U.S., are being featured at Earl's Court in London in the famed international event which started yesterday and will run though Saturday.

Three local breweries, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Sly Fox Brewing Company and Victory Brewing Company, also have beers pouring at the Bieres Sans Frontieres bar. Seventeen U.S. breweries in all shipped 57 beers to the GBBF through the Brewers Association Export Development Program, comprising the largest number of American beers in the event's 31-year existence.--JACK CURTIN

July 28, 2008 - Craft Beer Continues Steady Growth Pattern For First Half Of 2008
Craft beer dollar sales during the first half of 2008 increased 11% compared to this same period in 2007, the Brewers Association reported today.

BA figures showed that during the first half of 2008 the volume of beer sold by craft brewers grew by 6.5% totaling an estimated 4 million barrels of beer compared to 3.768 million barrels sold in the first half of 2007. Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily stated, "Crafts have really taken pricing this year given high input costs, and yet it is still driving volume gains faster than the beer category."

Not unexpectedly, the figures did not reach the growth levels of the previous year. During the same period in 2007, dollar growth was 14% over 2006 and volume increased 11%. Factors such as a soft economy and rising costs of materials (hops, malt, glass et al) and the concurrent higher price for craft beers, plus the fact that the base from which the percentages are derived is larger than ever, likely account for the lower, but still impressive, growth figures.--JACK CURTIN

July 28, 2008 - News Of The Day: New Belgium, Elysian Collaboration; Beer Over Wine; A Winner Declared
As we move rapidly toward the "Dog Days" of August when the whole world, and especially the news, slows down, here are a few beer items of note which we found in our mailbox.

Artisanal Collaboration. New Belgium Brewing Company and Elysian Brewing Company have worked out an agreement to use one another's breweries, saying it is a matter of "increasing efficiency and encouraging creative experimentation." New Belgium, which is based in Fort Collins, Colo., will brew small-batch and experimental beers in Elysian’s Seattle brewery; Elysian will brew large batches in Fort Collins. This arrangement takes the collaborative brewing concept (usually one or more famous brewers getting together to make a special beer) one more logical step.

Beer Batters Wine.The latest Gallup Poll, released last Friday, shows that beer has a double-digit lead over wine as the beverage of choice among US drinkers age 30-49. Data from 2004 to 2005 concludes wine and beer were almost equally preferred and most of the "experts" ignored the craft beer explosion since then and kept repeating the "conventional wisdom" ever since. But wine actually peaked at 39 percent in 2005 and has since slipped to 31 percent, according to the new poll. Beer is now chosen first 47 percent of the time. Next thing you know, somebody will tell us that beer is just as beneficial as red wine for health reasons, maybe even more so. Oh

And The Winner Is....Harry Schuhmacher"s always thought-provoking Beer Business Daily talks this morning about how some industry folks are worried that the fact that all three of the Big Blands will soon be foreign-owned might drive the NASCAR crowd into the arms of another brewer and sums it up like this:

And it's not just A-B distribs that are worried. One blue-silver distributor out west made the excellent point that if this foreign-ownership thing with A-B InBev gets wings in the mainstream culture, it will shine a light on all three brewers' American pedigrees, or lack thereof. The winners: American regional brewers like Yuengling and Pabst, and craft brewers. Of course, when it comes to NASCAR fans who care about this American stuff, not many craft beer drinkers there, or at least that's the popular perception. Who would have thought that the machinations of the global beer industry would ultimately help PBR?
Read and discuss among yourselves. There will be a test the next time you visit the store.--JACK CURTIN
July 25, 2008 - Beer Yard Cited As "Best Thirst Quencher" by Main Line Today; Teresa's Next Door is "Best Beer Bar" in Philadelphia Magazine
The Beer Yard, owner Matt Guyer and the "friendly staff of beer connoisseurs [who] are a walking panel of experts on all things barley and hops" were cited as the place to learn about (and presumably purchase) craft beers by Main Line Today in its July issue, now on the newsstands.

The "Best of the Main Line and Western Suburbs" annual issue also made note of craft beer excellent in three other categories.

Main Line Today said that TJ’s Restaurant & Drinkery in Paoli has the "Best Main Line Beer List...with more than 200 beers from far and wide, paired with a staggering 20 varieties on tap. Local and regional greats like Victory, Stoudt's and Sly Fox are well represented, as are lesser-known selections like Boulder Brewing Co.’s Sweaty Betty Blonde."

The Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern was named :Best Neighborhood Bar/Tavern" because it attracts "beer aficionados from near and far with its vast and impressive selection of more than 140 bottles and 20 brews on tap."

Sly Fox Pikeland Pils was named "Best Microbrew," the magazine noting that "it recently won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver."

While not specifically craft beer selections, the region's "Best Happy Hour" is at Flanigan’s Boathouse in Malvern, while Molly McGuire's Irish Restaurant and Pub is the "Best New Bar" in Phoenixville as judged by the MTL list.

In Philadelphia Magazine's annual "Best of Philly" issue, just out on the stands, Pikeland Pils came up a double winner for Sly Fox, being named "Best Beer" on that list as well on the Main LIne one.

Teresa's Next Door on N. Wayne Avenue was selected as "Best Beer Bar," Philly Beer Week as "Best Event" and Standard Tap as "Best Gastropub" in other PhillyMag beer awards. --JACK CURTIN

July 24, 2008 - Michael Jackson Papers Awarded to Oxford Brookes University Library
Oxford Brookes University Library’s impressive collection of food and drink related special collections has been boosted further by a donation from the estate of Michael Jackson, according to a press release issued by the university.

The executors of the estate of the late Michael Jackson have donated the contents of his office to the University. Also known as "The Whisky Chaser," his books on beer and whisky have sold over three million copies worldwide and in fifteen languages.

The contents of the office, to be known as The Michael Jackson Collection, comprise 1,500 books from the expert’s personal library on beer and whisky, as well as 300 copies of his own books. There is also much research material, hand-written notebooks, a selection of awards including four Glenfiddich awards for food writing, as well as photographs, press and book reviews.

Don Marshall, of Oxford Brookes University Library, said: "We are very excited to receive this gift of the books and papers of 'The Beer Hunter.’ The Michael Jackson Collection will work in parallel with the National Brewing Library, already located in Oxford Brookes University Library and jointly managed by members of the Library and the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. It will also complement other special collections in food and drink - one of the key areas of research excellence in the University."

Frances Kelly, Michael Jackson’s literary executor and agent, said: "The executors are delighted that this material will now be stored, organized and made available, as is their wish, for research by a new generation of whisky and beer writers, students and the drinks industry."--NEWS RELEASE

July 17, 2008 - Beer at the Philadelphia Folk Festival? And Whose?
Organizers of the 47-year old, world-famous Philadelphia Folk Festival have filed application for a beer sales license with the state liquor control board. The three-day event is held annually at the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford, August 15-17 this year.

Festival organizers received the approval of the Upper Salford Township board of supervisors to apply for the license during a meeting last week."We thought about it and saw the potential for an added source of revenue for us," said festival Chairman David Baskin told the local press. He said things looked promising and he expected the state to approve the application.

Baskin wouldn't discuss details of the plans, only that festival organizers are working with a microbrewery they want as a vendor. "We're going to rely on their expertise," he said.--JACK CURTIN

July 13, 2008 - A-B Board Approves Acquisition by InBev
Harry Schuhmacher's Beer Business Daily is reporting tonight that "In a striking turn of events, the Anheuser-Busch Board of Directors has met in St. Louis today and agreed to InBev's $70 a share, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and the FT. The new company will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev. In a surprisingly amicable ending to a month-long tragi-comedy of cat and mouse that often was contentious, A-B's board ultimately succumbed to a sweetened bid that could not, in a good conscious, be rejected – particularly as InBev's financing appears to be in order, say the reports."

This marks a triumph of sorts for the A-B board which, as Schuhmacher notes, "was often vilified in the financial press for stubbornly refusing InBev's advances, [but] at the end of the day allegedly captured another five billion in value as well as other 'soft' concessions like what to name the company, the management structure, and the protection of distributors, allegedly. Was this their masterful intention all along? If so, I wouldn't want to play poker with them." Whatever their original intent, the board managed to get InBev to raise the original offer by $5 a share.

The new company would be the largest brewing entity the world, passing SABMiller. Still up in the air, apparently, is what becomes of A-B's 50-50 ownership deal with Mexico's Grupo Modelo, a "hole card" it was using to fend off the original InBev offer.

According to earlier reports, A-B InBev wil have its headquarters in St Louis, Missouri. The two companies already work together in America under an agreement under which A-B distributes some of InBev's brands, including Beck's, Bass and Stella Artois.--JACK CURTIN

July 09, 2008 - "Bierista" Planned for South Philly
John Longacre, the man who created the South Philadelphia Tap Room in September 2003 and, for that matter, the Newbold neighborhood it calls home (the several block area around 15th and Mifflin was given that distinct identity by Longacre to acknowledge a former street which ran through it and the limestone address blocks bearing that name set into several older buildings), says he will introduce a new concept into Philadelphia retail beer selling which, he hopes, will continue to expand his dream of making South Philly a destination spot for beer aficionados.

"We're creating Bierista, a high end coffee shop which will offer up to 800 world class beers for takeout," Longacre told The Beer Yard during a visit to SPTR on Tuesday. "It's at 1900 S. 15 Street, right down the block from here."

The new business will be open by summer's end, assuming everything goes right. "It took us over a year and a half to get the permits to expand this place," he said, waving an arm toward the new dining area behind the bar, "but we have all the permits for this one and construction is already underway. I don't know very much about coffee so we'll hire somebody knowledgeable to run that end of the business, with an emphasis on free trade and local to the degree we can pull that off. The beer side will essentially run as an extension of SPTR."

The arm wave this time centered on Joe Bedia, who last brewed at Yards Brewing Company at the old Kensington location which is now home to Philadelphia Brewing Company, left to learn the restaurant business as part of the waitstaff at Tria in center city, tried to set up his own brewpub, a deal which fell through, and has resurfaced as the "beer guy" at SPTR after a brief foreign adventure. He's been on the job for two weeks, he said, and still getting a feel for what he wants to do to expand and improve the existing beer offerings.

"This is a new concept and I'm not sure how it will work out," Longacre acknowledged, "but I think we are building an audience in this part of the city who can and will support lot. It's a whole new ballgame down here since we opened up, with a lot of new places opening. Instead of an oddity, SPTR is now the standard. We were the first one, but we're no longer the only one."

Longacre also said that SPTR has a new chef, Michael Zulli, "who has a real feel for what we want to do with the menu" and that he is always looking for other locations for similar ventures. He noted that SPTR's third annual wheat beer festival on April 28 was a huge success and the cornerstone "of our best week ever, second only to Philly Beer Week, which was the high mark before that because we were packed every night. There had to be more than 1,000 people here, the pub was filled, the street outside was filled and the crowd stretch down the block. It was absolutely fantastic."--JACK CURTIN

June 28, 2008 - Boston Beer Officially Takes Over Lehigh Valley Brewery
Founder Jim Koch was on hand June 27 as Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams beers and the nation's largest craft brewer, official marked its arrival in the Lehigh Valley with an orientation and welcoming party for 232 employees and their families at the classic old brewery located at Routes 78 and 100 in Upper Macungie Township.

The party was held in a huge tent erected in front of the brewery and featured Koch tapping of the first keg of Samuel Adams Lager made there under the new ownership (Sam Adams products were contract brewed there from 1994 to 2001, when the brewery was owned by Pabst ); that initial keg came off the line at 11:13am on June 23.

The first kegs from the Lehigh Valley shipped out June 30 and the first bottles shipped on Tuesday, July 1.

Boston Beer actually took possession of the facilities on June 2 but last Friday marked the public celebration of the new ownership.

The brewery, which began as a Schaefer Beer facility in 1972, was purchased by Diageo in 2001 and used to make Smirnoff Ice, the beer-based, citrus-flavored "malternative." Boston Beer paid $55 million for it and will invest another $50 million in upgrades and renovations by the end of the year. All 21 Samuel Adams beers will eventually be brewed there for the Northeast market.

"This facility is one of the last of the great old traditional breweries built in this country," Koch said yesterday, "and it is perfect for making our beers. I am most happy for the people who work here, many of them from the beginning and many who returned after our acquisition. They took great care of the brewhouse when it was shut down because they believed somebody would come and make beer here again. And they were right."

Koch said that Boston Beer had looked at the site before but wasn't large enough at the time to buy it and had instead stayed in periodic contact with Diageo. The acquisition last summer came in lieu of building a brewery in Massachusetts for $200 million that would have had only half the capacity of this one.--JACK CURTIN

June 17, 2008 - Iron Hill To Revamp Original Newark Pub Under New 15-Year Lease
A lot of Pennsylvanians have probably long ago forgotten that Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, which has three locations in the Philadelphia suburbs and a fourth a bit farther west in Lancaster, is actually a Delaware-based company which had its origins in Newark.

Iron Hill hasn't.

The chain announced yesterday that it has renewed its lease at the original pub for the next 15 years and will do a major facelift on that flagship site.

"Newark is our home," says co-founder Kevin Finn. "We started out here and it’s been the foundation for all of our subsequent success. We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be staying here for a long time to come." The planned $100,000 renovation will bring a new host stand, flat-screen televisions and updates to the kitchen, he added. "With this renovation and the renewal of our lease, we remain committed to Newark, to this community which has been so good to us."

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has seven locations across Delaware and Pennsylvania, including one in Wilmington. The company was named "Large Brewpub of the Year" at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival and their hand-crafted beers have received a total 33 medals from the GABF, World Beer Cup and Real Ale Festival.--JACK CURTIN

June 05, 2008 - Mike Fava Takes Over From Scott Morrison in Dock Street Brewhouse
Scott "The Dude" Morrison, the GABF-award winning brewer who made a name for himself at McKenzie Brewhouse and has of late been brewing at the Dock Street Brewery in West Philadelphia, told The Beer Yard tonight that, while he is still "helping out," his assistant Mike Fava is now the head brewer at Dock Street.

Morrison says that he is turning his attention to his long-time dream of setting up his own production brewery and is currently investigating the possibilities in Chester, about five miles from his Swarthmore home. "I like the convenience and I like the town," he says. "I've talked to some of the local politicians and people involved in the city and there is some enterprise zone money and grants available. I going to try to pull off getting a building in the city which will be large enough to handle what I need now and for the foreseeable future. It's a high threshold, but my aim is to get to up and running and get to 10,000bbls as quickly as I can."

What finally got him in gear, Morrison said, was knowing that Fava was ready to step in at Dock Street. "If they haven't already announced he's taken over, they should. Mike is a good guy and I think he's really going to do well. For myself, I'm glad I went back for a while; it was the right move for me (Morrison helped Dock Street get off the ground by setting up their brewhouse and formulating and brewing the original beers, then returned after the first brewer hired by owner Rosemarie Certo didn't work out). The problem was I was getting too comfortable and that wasn't very helpful in trying to get this new thing going."

Another motivating factor is that he has a lot of money tied up in brewery equipment which "isn't doing me any good sitting in a warehouse," he explained. "I already have a brewhouse, grain mill, grist case, keg washer, four 34bbl fermenters, two bright tanks, a 16-head bottling line and maybe 100 each sixtels and half-kegs. I just need to get a boiler and a glycol chiller and that's pretty much it to start." Scott Morrison, the Once and Future Dude, paused and laughed. "Oh, and a building to put it all in."--JACK CURTIN

May 25, 2008 - InBev Taking Over A-B? Indications Are That the Prospect Is Heating Up [UPDATED]
Word in financial circles on Friday was that InBev, the huge Belgian beer company, intends to make a $46 Billion bid for Anheuser-Busch. FT Alphaville, a blog operating by the Financial Times, said the deal is still in the planning stages and that InBev had not yet approach A-B.

The takeover offer would be in the range of $46 Billion and, says the Alphaville posting, could" herald the long-awaited end-game in global drinks industry consolidation.'

InBev’s aim is to create the fifth largest consumer products group in the world, the report continued, explaining that "Putting the two companies...together would create a business capitalised at close to $100 Billion and would constitute the most ambitious piece of corporate consolidation since the onset of the credit crisis last summer. Anheuser and InBev together would be almost equally balanced between developed and emerging market operations across the globe, pumping out around 350m hectolitres of beer and other beverages annually. Annual revenues would be around $20 Billion, producing earnings of close to $6 Billion."

Similar stories have appeared in the past (interestingly, the original ones had A-B acquired InBev), but this time the reports appear to be more substantial and fact-based. Some analysts have consider A-B to be "trapped" in its domestic market, as opposed to SABMiller which has used acquistions to access new and growing foreign markets. The growing craft beer niche, while still a miniscule portion of the overall U.S. beer market, is cited as part of the reason for A-B's stagnation in recent years.

Anheuser-Busch representatives have so far refused to comment on the story.--JACK CURTIN

UPDATE: Further background on this story has been posted here.

May 15, 2008 - Weyerbacher To Debut Three Beers at Special June 13 Event
Weyerbacher Brewing Company will debut three new beers and a special new packaging for a current favorite at a Special Event at the brewery in Easton on Friday, June 13, making that unlucky day shine with promise for beer fanciers.

The three new beers are Thirteen, this year's Anniversary Ale, a Belgian style Imperial Stout; Riserva, an American Wild Ale fermented with Brettanomyces yeast and aged with red-raspberry puree in Oak barrels for over a year, then bottle conditioned in champagne bottles, and Alpha, a Belgian style Pale Ale which is the first beer in the brewery's Brewer's Choice series of one-off brews. The fourth beer will be a caged and corked release of Merry Monk's Ale in 750ml bottles.

Merry Monk's is shipping to wholesalers currently and Alpha made its debut at both Drafting Room locations on Thursday, May 15, but Thirteen and Riserva will be available for sampling and purchase for the first time. Bring your wallet if Riserva is you choice, as it will be sold only at the brewery at a price of $145 a case. The brewery also notes that only 20 cases of Alpha will be available.

The event runs from 5-8pm.--JACK CURTIN

May 13, 2008 - Bella Vista Beer Distributors To Expand in New Facility
Bella Vista Beer Distributors of Philadelphia plans to take a small journey across the street and a major one as a Delaware Valley wholesaler this fall.

The company, founded by Mario Fetfatzes in 1984 and currently operated by his sons, Jordan (31) and Chris (26), will move from its present location at 738 South 11th Street to 755 South Street in September, giving the 38,000 square feet for their combined operations, about triple the current size.

"We are basically going from a warehouse to a supermarket in both aspects of our operations," said Jordan Fetfatzes. "Philadelphia is a wonderful beer market and we believe it has been underserved to this point. We hope to rectify that by providing a full-service source for some of the world's best beers for both our wholesale customers and our retail ones."

Bella Vista began as a retail store and moved into wholesale distribution in 2004. "I think it's fair to say we might still be here today if it werent' for Matt Guyer and the Beer Yard," Jordan said. "Matt was our very first customer and got us on our way. He's one of the real pioneers of the beer scene."--JACK CURTIN

May 10, 2008 - St. James Gate Brewery in Ireland Will Stay Open
Those of us who treasure the history and tradition of the beer industry just dodged a bullet according to a posting at ProBrewer.com yesterday.

The historic St James's Gate site near the River Liffey where Arthur Guinness started brewing his stout beer in 1759 after purchasing the dormant brewery with 100 pounds he had been left in his godfather's will will continue to make beer, at least for now.

Diageo, which owns the Guinness brand, had talked of closing the downtown brewery and developing the sprawling site because Ireland's economic boom has increased the value of Dublin real estate, has announced that, while they will spend millions on a new brewery near Dublin, Guinness fans in Britain and Ireland will still get their dark beer from the historic brewery in the heart of the Irish capital.

"The London-based beer and spirits maker said today it will renovate its central Dublin brewery at St James's Gate to supply local and regional accounts, but will close two smaller sites by 2013 and cut its Irish brewery workforce by more than half," said the ProBrewer report.

"We did some research, we listened to our consumers, we heard what everybody said and we understand the importance of St James's Gate," David Gosnell, Diageo's global supply director, told a Dublin news conference.--JACK CURTIN

May 07, 2008 - Victory Brewing Opens Renovated Restaurant & Bar
Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown reopened its revamped restaurant and bar on Wednesday, May 7 at 11:30 am.

Victory began extensive renovations in February of this year and closed the bar area completely at the beginning of April for the final stages of the reconstruction.

The completely redone public area of the facility, which also houses the 50,000bbl brewery, includes a brand new kitchen and bar and extended seating, booths in the main dining area and a common room with long tables adjacent to the bar. The greatly expanded kitchen features an in-house smoker.

Victory will begin serving lunch and dinner daily as of the opening and will add a Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Hours will be from 11:30 to midnight on weekdays, 10:00 ti midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.--JACK CURTIN

May 05, 2008 - Jasper Wins Sly Fox Goat Race in Run-off; Record 42 Goats Competed
Jasper, owned by Chris & Alycia Eckerd of Skippack, running her first race ever, defeated perennial medal winner Entrekin in a two-goat run-off to win the annual Goat Race at the 2008 Sly Fox Bock Festival under sunny skies at Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville yesterday afternoon, earning the honor of having the brewery's 2008 Maibock, tapped at race's end, in her honor and winning a $75 gift card for her owner.

The finalists finished in a dead heat in the original championship heat, which featured the winners of the original six heats. A record 42 goats were entered in the competition this year with the races run before the largest crowd ever, estimated at 2,900 attendees by The Phoenix, the local daily newspaper.

Entrekin has taken a second and two thirds in previous races and last year’s winner, Sundae, took bronze with a third-place finish.

Chris Eckerd, who raced Jasper, said that he and his wife have five goats and had heard about the Sly Fox races for several years and finally decided to enter the competition. "We had a great time, the beer is wonderful and it was just an amazing afternoon," he said. Alycia Eckerd summed up the entire experience as "surreal."

The seventh annual bock fest featured two 30'X60' tents erected in front the brewpub for the first time due to the threat of rain in early forecasts. Instead they provided shelter against a blazing sun on one of the finest days of the year.--JACK CURTIN

May 02, 2008 - Sly Fox Announces Special Arrangements for Sunday Bock Fest & Goat Race
Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery this morning released the following statement on its website and in a special edition of its email Newsletter:

"BOCK FEST & GOAT RACE UPDATE
"The event will go on, rain or shine, and several last minute changes have been made to deal with possible bad weather and the parking situation.

"Two 30' X 601 tents have been rented and will be erected directly in front of Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery to provide a total of 3600 square feet under cover. Cover has also been provided for the band so that they can perform in comfort.

"Also, in a last minute arrangement made possible by the sale of the lot adjacent to the Pikeland Village Square parking lot, free parking will be available there as well as the Kimberton Fire Company Fair Grounds a mile west on Rt. 113 (with shuttle buses running from 10:30am until 6pm). Sly Fox extends its gratitude to STS Tire & Auto Centers, the new owners, for their cooperation and generosity.

The party will go on. See you there."--JACK CURTIN

April 30, 2008 - Weyerbacher Will Introduce Brewers Choice Beers in May
Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard this morning that Weyerbacher Brewing Company will introduce its new Brewers Choice series in mid-May with the release of Alpha, a "Belgian style Pale Ale brewed with Belgian yeast and American hops."

Brewers Choice beers, one-off brews produced every other month or perhaps even monthly as the brewing schedule permits, will be released on draught in the Pennsylvania market and in a limited number of bottles sold at the Easton brewery. "We have purchased a small in-house label printer and will bottle and label roughly 50 or 60 cases of each to be sold here at the brewery during Saturday Tour hours," Weirback said. He added that plans are being formulated for a Friday night launch event brewery to mark the release of each new beer.

The series concept, he said, "is to give our brewers a chance to experiment, be creative. Also, doing full batches is a good way to market test new products because it lets us see how they will really turn out. It's really hard to brew a prototype small batch and scale it up and be sure you'll get the results you want."

Alpha is based on a recipe by assistant brewer Jeff Musselman, according to Weyerbacher head brewer Chris Wilson, who stressed that the beer's name has "nothing to do with alpha acids or anything like that." He added that "the beer will be keg and bottle conditioned and should have a nice full body with a yeast character and a nice bitter complement. Jeff describes it as `a bitter pale ale brewed with Belgian yeast and a taste of heaven' and I kinda like that."--JACK CURTIN

April 20, 2008 - Stewart's, Iron Hill, Troegs, Dogfish Head & Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works Win World Cup Medals
Stewart's Brewing of Bear, Del. won a Gold medal in the Kolsch category for its Wind Blown Blonde to lead five local breweries to a total of seven medals in the 2008 Brewers Association World Beer Cup competition.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant's Vienna Red Lager, a recent addition to the chain's standard house beers at all seven locations, and Iron Hill Wee Heavy each won a Silver Medal.

Troegs Brewing Company of Harrisburg also won two medals, both Bronze, for its Troegenator and Sunshine Pils. Other regional medal winners were Dogfish Head Midas Touch and Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works Framboise, each with a Bronze.

Results were announced in San Diego last night at the close of the 2008 Craft Brewers Conference.

Bend Brewing Company of Oregon was named the Small Brewpub champion, making brewer Tonya Cornett the first woman to win in that category. Pelican Pub & Brewery and brewer Darron R. S. Welch won in the Large Brewpub judging; Tomme Arthur's Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey topped the Small Brewing Company list; Privatbrauerei Hoepfner GmbH and brewer Peter Bucher won the first ever championship for a German brewery in the Mid-Sized Brewery category and Blue Moon Brewing Company and brewer Warren Quilliam took Large Brewing Company honors.

Brewers from five continents earned awards in the seventh bi-annual World Cup competition, with medals going to brewers from 21 countries ranging from Australia and Italy to Bolivia and Japan. 644 breweries from 58 countries and 45 U.S. states vied for awards with 2,864 beers entered in 91 beer style categories. Brewers from the United States won 185 of the 268 style category awards and four of the five Champion Brewery/Brewer awards. --JACK CURTIN
NOTE: The original version of this story did not include the Stewart's Brewing Gold Medal which was inexplicably missed by our crack research team. Our apologies.

April 15, 2008 - Specialty Beers From Victory Brewing Featured at Craft Brewers Conference
Attendees at the annual Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego this week will be to enjoy three small batch specialty beers brewed by Victory Brewing company under commission from the German Hop Growers Association. The beers include Select Pils, Tettnanger Pils, and Sapphire Belgian Strong Ale. Each were brewed to showcase the high quality hops produced in Germany to potential American brewing clients.

The beers were a collaborative effort between Eric Toft, American-born, German-trained Brewmaster of Private Landbrauerei Schonram, and Victory's brewing team, with Toft formulating the recipe using hops provided by the Association and Victory doing the actual brew. Select Pils (5.3%) was crafted with a mix of Hallertau and Spalt Select Hops. Tettnanger Pils (5.3% abv) was brewed with only Tettnang Hops from German farmer Herr Georg Bentele, whom Victory Brewing founders Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet visited while touring Germany in 2007 with 23 thirsty Victory fans. Sapphire Belgian Strong Ale (10.5%) was brewed with a Hallertau-grown variety hop named Safir, using a Trappist yeast.

Barchet and Steve German, Victory Brewing national sales manager, will present the beers in San Diego.--JACK CURTIN

April 11, 2008 - Huge Crowds Force Sly Fox To Move Bock Festival Parking Off-Site
Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville's Pikeland Village Square announced yesterday that all parking for its annual Bock Festival & Goat Race on Sunday, May 4, will be off-site this year.

The change was necessitated, according to a news story posted on the Sly Fox Beer website, because of crowded conditions and traffic issues on Rt. 113 in front of Pikeland Village Square, and also to alleviate overflow parking in the Maple Lawn Shopping Center on the other side of that road.

Only short-term parking for customers of other businesses at Pikeland Village Square will be permitted. All those attending the popular and growing festival which marks the release of the brewery's annual Maibock (with the beer named in honor of the winning goat in the afternoon races at its tapping) will be redirected to the Kimberton Fire Company Fairgrounds, roughly one mile west of Pikeland Village Square on Rt. 113. There will be a $2 donation to the Kimberton Fire Company required. Shuttle buses will run throughout the day between there and the pub, starting at 10:30am.

The festival begins with a beer brunch, starting at 11am and runs throughout the afternoon, drawing a huge crowd, estimated at 2500 by the local newspaper last year. All of the Sly Fox bock beers are on draught, as well as the Maibock and a German band entertains throughout. Last year's winning goat was Sundae, owned by 12-year old Alyssa Zawislak, a member of the local 4-H Goat Club which has been a prominent supporter of the Sly Fox event from its beginning six years ago.--JACK CURTIN

April 11, 2008 - Washington Hops Growers Expanding Planting To Meet Demand
Call this one of those feel-good "the market works" stories, where demand inspires production.

Some Yakima Valley hop growers in Washington state are pulling other crops to plant hops and planting new acreage as well in response to the world-wide hops shortage, according to an Associated Press story on Wednesday.

After a decade of excess supply caused low prices and shrinking acreage and extraordinarily low crop yields in 2007 exacerbate the problem and sent prices rising to historic levels, growers are responding by reconditioning existing crop fields and adding news ones in the nation's leading hop-producing region (Washington is the nation's largest supplier of hops, followed by Oregon and Idaho), which produces as many as 30 different varieties.

"Northwest hop acreage, which expanded by about 2,000 acres last year as the lack of supply became apparent, could grow by another 5,000 acres this year," the AP story says. "Ralph Olson, general manager of grower-owned HopUnion of Yakima, a buyer who deals primarily with smaller craft brewers, thinks the figure may be closer to 8,000 acres by the time all is said and done. That would be a jump of nearly 25 percent in acreage in one year."

On the other hand, this is just in from the "behind every silver lining is a dark cloud" department:

New Zealand scientist and climate expert Dr Jim Salinger says a warmer, drier climate resulting from global warming could cause a significant decline in malting barley production. New barley varieties are in development to tray and keep pace with the changing climate, but a spokesman for South Australia's Joe White Malting, acknowledges that it's not a rapid process. "The process normally takes maybe seven, eight or nine years, and over that time you might start off with 10,000 to 30,000 different breeding lines," Dr. Doug Stewart said, "and end up with one winner."--JACK CURTIN

April 11, 2008 - American Craft Beer Week To Be Celebrated May 12-18
The annual celebration of American Craft Beer Week (May 12-18) is designed to highlight the industry and culture of craft beer and this year will also recognize the industry's collective charitable contributions.

The Brewers Association announced yesterday that U.S. craft breweries’ charitable contributions are estimated to be more than $20 million for 2007.

"In addition to being recognized for making world-class beer, independent craft brewers are amazing community citizens," said Julia Herz, a spokesperson for BA. “They donate to everything from fire departments, disaster relief efforts, local events, educational fundraisers and so much more.” --JACK CURTIN

April 07, 2008 - Dogfish Head, Victory & Yuengling Make Top 50 Brewery Lists for 2007
Dogfish Head Brewing Company of Milton, Del. ranks 25th among Craft Brewers and 38th among all brewers on the just released Brewers Association annual list of the top fifty brewing companies, which includes but both a Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies1 list and a list of the Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies. Statistics are based on sales in 2007.

The only other Delaware Vally brewer to make the craft list, Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown, Penna., is 35th among Craft Brewers and 50th among all brewers. D.C. Yuengling of Pottstown, Penna., is sixth among all brewers, just behind Boston Beer and ahead of Sierra Nevada and and New Belgium, ranked seventh and eighth.

The top five craft breweries are Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner) and Pyramid Breweries.--JACK CURTIN

April 07, 2008 - Anheuser-Busch Shifts Focus From New Brands To Extensions of Megabrands
Anheuser-Busch, which concentrated on introducing a bevy of new brands in 2007 to try and carve out a place in the craft beer segment of the market, will shift its strategy in 2008 to creating "extensions" or variations of its "megabrands," A-B marketing vice-president David Peacock says in a new interview with BrandWeek magazine.

Peacock told BrandWeek's Mike Beirne that nation's largest brewer "is moving away a little bit from creating brands to creating extensions of existing brands or megabrands. That's really what this whole thing is rooted in-a mega-brand strategy. We've got two megabrands in Bud and Bud Light, and we're seeing that we can go different directions with those megabrands because we can appeal to two different consumers. He specifically mentioned the new Bud Light Lime and Budweiser Ale as part of the strategy and promised new packaging and "a draught program where we'll be doing a lot to enhance the availability of Budweiser draught beer."

In other mainstream brewing news, analysts are noting a steady increase in both volume and market share for Coors Light and Bud Light, while Miller Lite remains flat.--JACK CURTIN

April 02, 2008 - Anheuser-Busch Spins Off Michelob as a Separate Unit
Hoping to jump-start its Michelob beers in an evolving marketplace with a craft beer focus, Anheuser-Busch will create Michelob Brewing Company, a new subsidiary which will allow the 112-year old brand to stand on its own for the first time. The news was broken by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday.

Michelob beer was created in 1896 as a "draught beer for connoisseurs" but has never really moved to the forefront of the A-B family. According to beer industry analysts, given that the Michelob beers became all-malt products last year and the manner in which the St. Louis brewery has been trying to position them within the craft segment, the move makes perfect sense from a marketing perspective.

In addition to basic Michelob and Michelob Light, The Michelob brand appears on a Porter, Marzen, Pale Ale, Wheat, Honey Lager and AmberBock. All of them, plus seasonals Sun Dog Amber Wheat, Beach Bum Blonde Ale and Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale will be part of the new division. Other styles, such as the already scheduled for release Michelob Dunkel Weisse and Michelob Pale Ale and several draught products which have already received brand approval (which does not mean they will actually see the light of day)---Michelob Brown Ale, Michelob Red Ale, Michelob Bohemian Pilsner--are also included.

The move is said to have begun with the reintroduction of Michelob's trademark teardrop bottle last year and A-B is making no secret of the fact that the approach is aimed squarely at the craft beer market and its demand for more variety and flavor than its standard lineup offers. That is probably why Michelob Ultra, a brand clearly aimed at the mainstream market, will not move to the new Michelob division.

The newspaper story, by reporter Jeremiah McWilliams, quoted Nathaniel Davis, brewmaster at Michelob Brewing, saying of A-B's Research Pilot Brewery in St. Louis, which will come under the purview of the new company, is "a very experimental place; it's a playful place," with both the description and the fact that someone would say it being a far cry from the buttoned-up corporate image that A-B has maintained for decades.--JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2008 - CAMRA Sues Joe Sixpack
In a suit filed yesterday in Federal Court, CAMRA (Crazed Angry Males Reacting Awfully), a newly formed activist group consisted of disgruntled beer drinkers who bonded together because of a mutual obsession for posting inane comments on the popular Beer Advocate website, claimed that a "betrayal" by former Philadelphia Daily News reporter Don Russell caused them serious emotional distress and made their daily beer consumption "less pleasurable." The newspaper was referred to as an "enabler" in the legal documents.

The suit also argued that members have been reduced to posting their beer reviews around the clock in order to "regain our mojo" and have lost all opportunities for sexual congress as a result. "And not just with congress, with governors too," CAMRA spokesperson Kenzo4life told the press.

Russell, whose Joe Sixpack's Philly Beer Guide was recently published to rave reviews, created the "Joe Sixpack" column for the Philadelphia Daily News in 1996 while still a staff reporter. After accepting a massive buyout package a few years ago which made him independently wealthy, he continued the column on a freelance basis, frequently winging his way around the world in his private jet, "Gotcha," to conduct interviews or sample hard-to-find brews.

The pseudonymous columnist acknowledged, in his own tearful press conference, that his fame actually is based upon a heinous act, but then argued that he has suffered enough for his transgressions. He said that he has been in a state of massive depression for almost a decade because the end result of what has been considered his greatest achievement as a beer writer, a 1998 expose about how beer vendors at the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia were shorting customers, resulted in larger quantities of bland American lagers and light beers being sold to those customers at lower prices.

"I keep arguing that Philadelphia is America's best beer-drinking city," said the choked-up newsman, "and yet I've always known that I did more than anyone to keep more bad beer flowing here. I am so ashamed."

In related news, Camino books, Russell's publisher, announced this morning that they would do a second printing which will feature a new chapter in which Russell will discussion consortium or the lack thereof and the proper beers for either situation. "Since those CAMRA guys brought sex into the conversation, we were also going to include a section about the best beers for trysts, based on Don's personal experiences," said a Camino spokesperson, "but we quickly realized nobody was gonna buy that for a minute."--ZACK HURTIN

April 01, 2008 - Weyerbacher & NIMBY Foundation Will Build a Brewpub in Victory's Downingtown Parking Lot
In an unexpected development which stunned the Downingtown Zoning Commission and turned local resident Richard Ruch into a raging maniac who had to be tasered by police (no reason for the elderly man's inchoate anger had been determined at press time), Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton, PA announced this weekend that, using a substantial loan from the Not In My Backyard Foundation (NIMBY), it has purchased a site in the parking lot immediately outside the front door of the long-established Victory Brewing Company and will build a brewpub there.

"Our interests and those of the foundation meshed on the big philosophical issue," explained brewery founder Dan Weirback, "which is the right to build things pretty much anywhere which isn't in our own neighborhoods. Given that, this just seemed like something we needed to do, especially since I was getting antsy because we weren't planning to brew and bottle a new beer this week. I hate it when that happens. We've purchased a really tacky pre-fab building and a brewhouse that the mysterious local brewery broker known only as `Larry H.' has been hawking and expect to begin production immediately."

Pressed on the reason for choosing the unusual site, Weirback became agitated and started screaming at interviewers. "This has nothing--Nothing!--to do with the fact that we keep reading stories in our local newspaper about a Victory brewpub coming to downtown Easton," he said, gesturing wildly. "We don't care about that! We don't take any notice of that kind of thing! Even when people keep coming in day after day, after day, after day, asking us about it! We! Just! Don't! Care!" Fearing that their founder would suffer a seizure or worse, his associates carefully led him away and had him consume several glasses of barrel-aged water.

Once calmed, Weirback, who will be working within a few yards of where he was inspired to create his popular Blithering Idiot Barleywine when he opens the new pub, also explained that, "since we are totally out of hops and have no hopes of ever getting any more, Dan's In-Your-Face Brew House will only produce a single beer which will be brewed without any hops whatsoever. We'll use lots of malt, tons of brett and, you know, whatever. We're counting a lot on ambiance, to tell you the truth. Hey, that worked in our original pub back in the day."

In other local brewing news, Flying Fish brewer Casey Hughes, questioned about his emergence as one of the most visible and popular brewing super-stars on the Philadelphia scene, explained that "when I tilt my head to the side ever so cutely the way I do, I am irresistible." Asked to substantiate his argument, Hughes smiled and replied cryptically , "Gene."--LACK CERTIN

April 01, 2008 - Mysterious Online Stalker Who Hounded Beer Scribe Lew Bryson Captured At Last
Cherchez la Hound.

After nearly a year of a multi-million dollar surveillance program designed to uncover the person behind an ongoing series of "mean and not nice" emails to local beer writer Lew Bryson had uncovered not a single clue, the Homeland Security Department finally found the culprit right under their noses when an agent entered the supposedly empty Bryson residence to use the bathroom.

The evil emailer turned out to be a year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been living with the Bryson family since last March. Because of his age, the accused's name is being withheld. It is not clear whether the Corgi, who apparently used Bryson's own computer to carry out his nefarious campaign when no one was home, was merely a friend of the family, a pet or filled some other function. "I am very sorry for what I did," he was quoted in an apologetic statement released by his lawyer, "but I was under incredible stress. You have no idea just how loud that man is and what it sounds like to my sensitive doggie ears."

Bryson, who is generally acknowledged to be the World's Loudest Beer Writer, has not made any public statements and is said to be distraught and under the care of sound management specialist. In a revelation sure to titillate the beer community, the Corgi's statement revealed that "[Bryson] actually practices that laugh of his in front of the mirror when nobody's around. Slaps his fedora on his head and just stands there posing while he laughs and laughs as loud as he can. That, and the madrigals he insisted on singing with lunch, were driving me mad."

In related news, a Lancaster area school teacher, John "Woody" Chandler, called a press conference to announce that he would claim the World's Loudest Beer Writer mantle if Bryson was too broken up to carry on, but nobody showed up. "That guy is really weird and dresses funny," explained a Wall Street Journal stringer.--HACK BURTIN

March 25, 2008 - Weyerbacher a Winner In Samuel Adams Hop Share Lottery
Easton's Weyerbacher Brewing Company was the only local brewer to come up a winner in the unique and highly praised Samuel Adams Hop Share program according to a report on the Boston Beer Company website, earning the right to purchase 264 lbs. of Tettnang Tettnanger hops at cost.

Boston Beer founder Jim Koch announced in February that his company, the largest craft brewer in the country, would make available at cost 20,000 pounds of hops, equally split between East Kent Goldings from Britain and Tettnang Tettnanger from Germany, to brewers who might need help in the Great Hops Crisis of 2008.

More than 300 requests for nearly 100,000 lbs. were received as of early March. The final day for filing a request was this past Saturday and a random drawing was held on Sunday, filling requests until all the hops were distributed. Brewers were able to request a maximum of six boxes, or 528 pounds, with an option of ordering less in 88 pound increments. The price for the Tettnangs was reported to be $5.42 per pound, plus $.75 per pound for shipping and handling. The hops, all part of the 2007 harvest and scheduled to arrive in the U.S. this month, would be worth three to five times those prices on the open market.

Winners should receive their shipments by the end of April.--JACK CURTIN

March 24, 2008 - LCB Allows Wegmans To Sell Beer At Six Locations
Wegmans Food Markets won permission from the state Liquor Control Board to sell beer at its Bethlehem, Dickson City, Erie, Lower Nazareth, State College, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport Township stores in a decision announced today. The PLCB had already approved beer, wine and liquor sales at a Wegmans in Erie on Feb. 13, but that approval was not part of this court action.

The Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania immediately filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court to have the decision voided or reverse the decision.

Wegmans applications are still pending to sell beer in Downingtown, Mechanicsburg and yet another Erie location. Presumably, a similar filing will be made for the Collegeville store currently under construction.

Because Pennsylvania's liquor laws impose conditions for certain categories of licenses, such as requiring food to be sold on the premises and minimum seating capacities, Supermarkets, with a few exceptions, have not sold beer. Wegmans' supermarkets,however, have cafes that qualify for "restaurant" licenses, allowing beer, wine and hard liquor to be sold for consumption inside the eating establishment, and the equivalent of 12 16-ounce containers of beer for takeout.--JACK CURTIN

March 22, 2008 - General Lafayette Inn To Lease Center City Location For New Gastropub [UPDATED]
Complying with legislation restricting the ownership of a liquor license by a brewpub owner for another restaurant/bar has resulted in a restructuring of the ownership of of what was announced as the General Lafayette Tiedhouse in center city in a story reported here earlier this month.

The new location will now be known simply as "The Tiedhouse" and will still carry, as originally announced, General Lafayette and other craft beers. General Lafayette owner Chris Leonard will no longer be part of the ownership team for the Tiedhouse. Original Story - 5 March 2008
"I have a draft lease agreement to open a new location in Center City in hand," General Lafayette Brewery and Inn owner and head brewer Chris Leonard told the Beer Yard exclusively today. "We are still negotiating, but we do now agree on the base terms. I have no reason to believe it will not happen."

The site is on the ground floor of the CityView Condominium at 2001 Hamilton St., "between 20th and 21st streets; between Spring Garden and Callowhill."

The General Lafayette Tiedhouse will open by this summer, perhaps earlier, and "will not be a brewpub," Leonard stressed. "The Tiedhouse will be an upscale gastropub specializing in General Lafayette beers (anywhere from 6-10 on tap and in bottles) - along with other craft beer - mostly local and draft. We will also continue our focus on fresh food made with as many local ingredients as possible. We will offer dinner, weekend brunch, and outdoor dining."--JACK CURTIN

March 20, 2008 - Weyerbacher Loads Up on Simcoe
Dan Weirback of Weyerbacher Brewing in Easton had some good news for nervous beer lovers in his monthly email newsletter this morning.

" We’ve been able to obtain 3000 lbs of Simcoe Hops," Weirback wrote. "After lengthy searches we were able to obtain this quantity, which added to our current inventory should last us ’til the end of 2008 or early 2009, at which time the 2008 crop will be in. It’s not yet certain that we’ll get all we asked for of the ’08 crop, but for now Double Simcoe keeps on pouring!"

The single varietal IPA is one of the brewery's, and the region's, most popular brews and Weyerbacher was left scrambling in the wake of the current hops shortage. Until now, that is.

Weirback also noted that his QUAD, }the only US beer to make the top 10 picks in a blind tasting by a NY Times panel of 40 Belgian-style and Belgian beers," is back in stores for a limited time and that the bourbon-aged version, Blasphemy!, is also hitting the shelves.

The new Weyerbacher bottling line is finally up and running and producing 200 cases an hour, just in time for the introduction of the brand into Florida this summer. The brewery will be installing additional fermenters in the near future, Weirback said.--JACK CURTIN

March 03, 2008 - Dock Street Revives Ale of Health and Strength of the Viscount St. Albans
Dock Street Brewery is recreating its Ale of Health and Strength of the Viscount St. Albans, first brewed in 1997 at the former Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant, based on a recipe found in The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, published in 1724.

The beer is one of the many throughout history which were considered appropriate for medicinal purposes, according to brewery owner Rosemarie Certo.

"We first brewed the Viscount’s Ale in 1997 at our 18th Street brewery," she said, "with the aim to faithfully reproducing the original ale rather than trying to adapt it to any contemporary expectations regarding taste or drinkability. Our intent is the same today."

A strong Ale is brewed as the basis for the recipe and the sweet wort is spiced with the herbs called for by the Viscount: Sarsaparilla, Sassafras Wood, China-Root, White Saunders, Chamomile, Mace, Cowslip Flowers, Hops, Wormwood, Sage, Oregano, Balm Melissa, Wood Betony, Rosemary and Mugwort, Certo said.

"China-Root we learned is wild yam, (Dioscrea Villosa) and White Saunders is Sandalwood," she explained. "Many of the herbs used in The Viscount’s Ale have long been believed to have curative properties. In the Middle Ages, Mugwort was considered a magical protective herb, a branch of it kept in the house would scare off witches and the devil, while a pillow filled with Mugwort would cause one to see their entire future in their dreams.

"Wormwood was a principal ingredient in the infamous drink Absinthe, long outlawed because of its supposed hallucinogenic qualities! Balm Melissa has been prized for its ability to soothe and calm the nerves. And many believe that Rosemary is able to strengthen the memory, repel evil spirits, induce a couple to fall in love and even ward off old age. A 17th century English botanist claimed that an assiduous use of Sage would render one immortal."

In recent years, brewers at Delaware's Dogfish head Brewing Company have taken a similar approach, collaborating with Dr. Patrick McGovern at the Penn Museum to recreate a series of unusual beers based on ancient recipes.--JACK CURTIN

February 28, 2008 - Craft Sales Continue To Boom, Increase by 12 Percent in 2007
The Brewers Association reported today that estimated sales by independent craft brewers were up 12 percent by volume and 16 percent in dollars for 2007. Craft brewers' share of the beer category is 3.8 percent of production and 5.9 percent of retail sales.

BA estimates were that the actual dollar sales figures from craft brewers were than $5.74 billion, up from $4.95 billion in 2006. Sales in barrels equaled 8,011,141, up from 7,147,050 barrels in 2006. The 2007 increase totals 864,091 barrels, the equivalent of 11.9 million cases or 285 million 12-ounce bottles of beer.

BA annually polls the country’s craft brewers to estimate the total volume of beer sold by brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional craft breweries in the United States, and uses scan data to estimate sales. Results show that the U.S. had 1,449 total breweries in operation in the U.S. during 2007, including 1,406 small, independent, and traditional craft brewers. Nearly 70 percent of craft breweries are brewpubs that sell most or all of their beer on-premises.

"Since 2004, dollar sales by craft brewers have increased 58 percent,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association. “The strength of this correlates with the American trend of buying local products and a preference for more flavorful foods and beers."

[ORIGINAL STORY, Earlier Today.]
While most of the news has been dire in the craft brewing world of late--rising prices for hops, malt, kegs and glass; shortages of most of the previous items; predictions that a struggling economy might cause beer drinkers to opt for cheaper brands over quality brands--the good news is Really Good.

Information Resources(IRI), the leading provider of enterprise market information, announced last week that craft beer sales in the off-premises segment rose 16.7 percent from $493 million in 2006 to $575 million in 2007, marking the second straight year of double-digit increases. The report also indicated that craft beer is also off to a strong start this year, with off-premises sales up almost 16 percent in the first four weeks of this year compared to the same period in 2007. IRI cautioned that price increases across the industry were mostly introduced in late January or early this month, so the February figures and especially March figures, will offer a clearer picture of how that factor is affecting sales.

A more extensive 2007 report, from the Brewers Association, which tracks sales across all retail sectors, will be released this week.

There is also hopeful news on the hops front. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, overall production in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in 2007 totaled 60.3 million pounds, up four percent from the 2006 crop of 57.7 million pounds and 14 percent above 2005 production of 52.9 million pounds. Acreage in 2007 was up in all three states with a five percent increase overall.

Washington growers produced 77 percent of the U.S. hop crop for 2007. Zeus, Columbus/Tomahawk, Willamette and Galena were the leading varieties in Washington, accounting for 71 percent of the State's hop crop. In Oregon, Willamette and Nugget were the major varieties, accounting for 79 percent of the State's hop production.--JACK CURTIN

February 28, 2008 - First Philadelphia Brewing Beers To Be Released March 5
"We will be rolling out all four of our beers on draught next Wednesday," Philadelphia Brewing Company-co-founder Nancy Barton told The Beer Yard this morning. " Kenzinger, Walt Wit, Newbold IPA and Rowhouse Red will be delivered to bars and taverns all over town."

Bill and Nancy Barton formed Philadelphia Brewing last fall after dissolving their partnership in Yards Brewing Company. Under the agreement, Yards retained use of the Kensington brewery until the end of the year. Yards is currently in the process of putting together a new brewery on Delaware Avenue and The new company began brewing at the old location earlier this month after a complete refurbishing of the building and brewhouse.

Philadelphia Brewing arrives just in time for Philly Beer Week and will be represented at The Brewers Plate on March 9 and will do " Meets & Greets" and promotional events at various venues during the 10-day beer extravaganza.

The four new beers will be available in bottles within a few weeks, Nancy Barton said.--JACK CURTIN

February 22, 2008 - General Lafayette Will Introduce Packaged Beers This Summer
General Lafayette Inn and Brewery in Lafayette Hill will begin offering beers in 12oz bottles this summer, owner/brewer Chris Leonard told the Beer Yard this afternoon. An Abbey Blonde and Abbey Brune will be the initial releases.

"We have the financing approved for a small bottling line and we expect its delivery in two or three months," Leonard said in an exclusive interview. "Our initial production is expected to be approximately 250 cases per month total, with the beers self-distributed in Montgomery and Chester counties and by Bella Vista in Philadelphia...and maybe montco/Chesco too, if we get too busy."

Should demand warrant it, Leonard acknowledged, "we might look at contract brewing or a facility expansion down the road, but, for the foreseeable future, our business model/plan is to bottle small quantities in house."

Leonard said that the public should start looking for General Lafayette on the shelves by June if all goes well.--JACK CURTIN

February 18, 2008 - Victory in Easton? The Chances Just Got Better
A long discussed brewpub to be operated by Victory Brewing Company in downtown Easton may finally be moving toward becoming a reality.

The pub would be on the first floor of a 30 condominium unit on Northampton Street, formerly home to Pomeroy's Department Store, part of long-stalled project by Bethlehem-based Ashley Development.

Reporter Edward Sieger's story in the Easton Express-Times last Friday said that a meeting between Ashley president Lou Pektor and Easton Mayor Sal Panto has resulted in an agreement with which will allow the developer to renovate the building's exterior and open the brewpub while building the condominiums as they are sold rather than having the entire project completed before opening.

Victory Square Brewing will be a partnership between Arthur Schmidt, owner of The Farmhouse restaurant in Emmaus, and the Downingtown brewery (which is itself currently undergoing major renovations of its restaurant area). The brewpub has already been received zoning approval.

Under a certificate for occupancy now issued for the first floor, Ashley can build two condominiums there and construct the brewpub. Plans call for another 26 two-bedroom condominiums on the second and third floors and four private lofts on floors four through seven.--JACK CURTIN

February 09, 2008 - Standard Tap's William Reed To Create "Standard Ale" for Philly Beer Week
William Reed, co-founder of both Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda's, two of the city's best-know beer/food/music venues, will return to his brewing roots on Friday, February 15 when he joins brewmaster Brian O'Reilly at Sly Fox Brewing's Royersford plant to create Standard Ale in celebration of Philly Beer Week in March.

Standard Ale will be a cask-conditioned ale which will be poured exclusively on a handpump at Standard Tap. "Exclusive" is a relative term in this instance, according to O'Reilly, who promises that a few kegs will also find their way to the handpumps at Sly Fox's Phoenixville pub.

"It will a copper color, cask-conditioned ale," O'Reilly says. "It will be neither American nor British in style, it will be its own beer. It will be...Standard."

Standard Ale will be officially released at Standard Tap on Friday, March 7, the first night of PBW, in ceremonies attended by both Reed and O'Reilly.

Many people are unaware that Reed was the brewer at the Samuel Adams Brew House on Sansom Street from around 1994 until its closing in the late '90s.

The Sam Adams pub had an extract brewery so this will be Reed's first opportunity to brew in a full-scale brewhouse. He says that before landing that professional gig, he learning about homebrewing on the cheap at Home Sweet Homebrew, the city's best known homebrew shop.

"I used to go there, never buying anything, and just sitting on sacks of malts and hops and reading all their books," Reed recalls, laughing. "George (Hummel) and Nancy (Rigberg) were very nice to me and I eventually bought my first homebrew supplies from them."--JACK CURTIN

February 09, 2008 - Sly Fox Reports 29% Growth in 2007, Plans for 2008
In a news story posted today on its website, Sly Fox Brewing Company said it grew by over 29% last year and that while the 2008 focus will be on expanding and strengthening existing markets in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, the long-term goal is to reach the 10,000bbl production level by 2010.

"A big key to our performance was the change in wholesalers to Origlio here in the Philadelphia market and Manhattan in the New York City market, two of the largest and best wholesalers in the East," said managing partner John Giannopoulos, adding that "we have no plans to enter any new markets in 2008...we want to do it right and not overreach our capabilities to meet demand. Our long term goal is to be at 10,000 barrels by 2010, which means maintaining about the same rate of growth we had this year."

Brewmaster Brian O'Reilly and director of brewing operations Tim Ohst confirmed that approach, noting that the brewery, with the addition of two 40bbl fermenters and three 40bbl brite tanks, has grown to include nine 40bbl fermenters and six 20bbl fermenters along with the three brites. They said that often cramped brewery space will be alleviated greatly by a new off-site 7,000 sq. ft. warehouse which includes a large cold box, a used unit which the company purchased and refurbished.

The popular year-long IPA Project will continue, despite the hops shortage plaguing the industry, Ohst said, and it will even involve more bars and taverns in New York even though the same amount of beer will be brewed as in 2007. "We've switched from half kegs to sixtels to allow more rotations to participate," he said.

O'Reilly acknowledged that testing has begun for packaging Sly Fox's flagship O'Reilly's Stout in 16oz nitro cans, adding that bringing such a project to fruition is a good way down the road. "The big issue is getting the amount of nitrogen in equal proportions into every can using our canning line. Even if we can achieve that, it would take a really large investment of funds. I'd say this year would be a long shot for that project, but we want to do it if we can pull it off."

The complete story can be read here. --JACK CURTIN

February 09, 2008 - Ludwig's Bites The Dust
As was expected, based upon the recent sale of the property, the abounding rumors and, sad to say, the condition of the restaurant in recent weeks, Ludwig's Garten has shut its doors.

Kirsten Henri reported officially at Foobooz yesterday that Vintage owner Jason Evenchik will take over the site and operate it as a new restaurant called Time. Vintage is a wine bar and bistro so it's likelh the new place will not be beer-oriented.

Given the lager and German-style beer tradition of the region, the fact that there is no longer a Bavarian focused beer bar within Philadelphia city limits seems an unlikely situation indeed and a business opportunity to be taken advantage of by a creative restaurateur. --JACK CURTIN

January 31, 2008 - Weyerbacher Hires Sales Manager, Prepares For New Bottling Line
Despite the hops shortage, things are, well, hopping in Easton, where Weyerbacher Brewing has just hired its first Sales Manager, is about to incorporate a new bottling line into its production operation and has some new beers planned for 2008. All that is happening, Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard today, coming off a record sales year in terms of both barrelage and dollars in 2007.

"Our barrelage was up 34% last year," Weirback said. "We brewed over 5300 barrels of beer, up from 4002 in 2006. That's pretty impressive, considering that the only new territory we added was Maine. And we had $1.7 million in sales, a nice jump from $1.2 million in 2006, the first time we topped the $1 million mark."

The new sales manager is Bob Fauteaux, who held the same title at Kunda Beverage for the five-county Philadelphia area. "Bob brings a depth of knowledge and experience in both beer and sales management to the company," Weirback noted. "Up to this point, our marketing effort has been me on the phone with our wholesalers, and Dick [Lampe, one of Weirback's partners} contacting retail accounts. And none of that will change, really. Bob's primary task will be working with our wholesalers to help their sales reps achieve better distribution of Weyerbacher in all our existing markets. On an immediate basis, he'll spent some extra time with Origlio to help smooth our transition into their system."

A new Krones bottling line, purchased last November, is just about set up and should be operating at full-scale by mid-February; a Krones rep is flying in from Germany next week to help with the first run. This line can handle almost 300 cases per hour at top speed and will not only increase bottle capacity significantly but also reduce oxygen uptake levelsm which should mean higher quality and longer shelf life for Weyerbacher bottled products, Weirback said.

Other new equipment which has just arrived are a corker and cager for use with 750ml bottles in which Weyerbacher plans to release its Merry Monk's Abbey Tripel and its new Brett beer later in the year. The latter is "still maturing," Weirback explained, and will be a small release of only about 100 cases. He add that "numerous experimental beers, specialty beers and exotic one-offs," will be released in the 750ml format.

One of the new beers promised for 2008 will be the 13th Anniversary brew, style still undecided. Another will be Slam Dunkel Ale, a 7% Double Dunkelweizen which was a draught-only one-off last year, will be released in June in both bottles and draft.--JACK CURTIN

January 29, 2008 - Philly Beer Week Real Ale Festival Moved to March 16
With construction still going on at the new Yards Brewery plant on Delaware Avenue, a decision was made this week to move the Real Ale Festival, one of the many activities scheduled for Philly Beer Week, March 7-16, from there to Triumph Brewing Company's brewpub at 117 Chestnut Street in Olde City.

The event will feature firkins of cask ale from local (and perhaps so not-so-local) breweries and will run from 1-4PM. Ticket prices and other details not yet available.

This event has been updated on the Beer Yard March Calendar, your most up-to-date source for Philly Beer Week event news.--JACK CURTIN

January 29, 2008 - Origlio Acquires Spaz Beverage in Chester County
Tim Donnelly, Vice President Sales & Marketing for Origlio Beverage, has confirmed to The Beer Yard that Origlio has completed the long-rumored acquisition of West Chester's Spaz Beverage and all its wholesale contracts in Chester County in a deal that will become final on March 29,

"This allows us to add additional distribution coverage for brands we don't have in all five counties," said Donnelly. "For example, we now have the Sam Adams brand in all the counties and Heineken in four of the five. We will be in a better position to serve our customers and our brands as a result."

Industry insiders have been awaiting this next logical step since Origlio acquired Kunda Beverage late last year, a deal that went into effect January 1.--JACK CURTIN

January 21, 2008 - One Guy Brewing Company To Open Saturday
One Guy Brewing Company, a unique one-man operation, will hold it's long awaited Grand Opening in Berwick, Penna. on Saturday January.

The first keg' a traditional German wood barrel, will be tapped at 1:00pm at the brewery location on 328 W. Front St. It is a former bakery which has been turned into a tiny brewpub with 2-barrel system.

One Guy Brewing was founded by beer industry veteran Guy Hagner, who is the enterprise's sole employee. Hagner was brewmaster at The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, Dixie Brewing in New Orleans and his own Franconia Brewing in Mt.. Pocono over th years.

"This business is a dream come true," Hagner says.

All brewery sales initially will be conducted at the brewery’s on-site taproom. Customers will be able to purchase growlers as well as enjoy a pint or two in the pub.--JACK CURTIN

January 07, 2008 - IPA Project Lives
Tim Ohst, brewery operations manager for Sly Fox Brewing Company in Royersford, confirmed to the Beer Yard this morning that the brewery has, as of Friday, commitments and contracts for enough hops varieties to continue its IPA Project in 2008.

The IPA Project is a series of monthly single hop IPAs which are released on the second Friday, February through November. It culminates in IPA Project Day each December at which all the varietals are on draught and Odyssey Imperial IPA, made with all the hops, is released. Sly Fox claims it is the world's largest IPA event featuring the beers of a single brewery.

"We don't have all the hops in house yet, but our suppliers have contracts for them and we in turn have contracts with them," said Ohst. "Unlike previous years, we won't be able to list in advance which beers will be released which months, but we fully expect to be able to produce ten varietals in 2008."

Sly Fox had hoped to double production this year in order to meet the demand from new accounts in the New York City market, but that is impossible given the amount of hops they were able to purchase, he explained. "I've suggested that, while we can only give our NY distributor the same amount of beer as last year, we could possibly break it down to sixtels instead of halves so that more accounts can still participate. We'll see if that flies."

The first varietal will be released on February 8 at Sly Fox's Phoenixville location, Ohst said. --JACK CURTIN

January 03, 2008 - Victory Announces Schedule, Details For Revamped Brewpub
Victory Brewing Company has announced the schedule and some details about its brewpub revamp which is currently underway and is expect to be completed by the end of May.

The official statement:

"Please pardon appearance as we bring you a bigger and better Victory.

"It's our goal to minimize any inconvenience to our customers during this transition. For a portion of our construction time we will be reducing seating by 80% and offering an abbreviated menu. The pool tables and video games will not be available during this period. Partial shutdown is anticipated to be from February until April. The retail center will be open during this time.

"Total shutdown is anticipated to be from April until May. We expect to re-open in May.

"Some of our new features will be: a brand new kitchen with an authentic wood smoked barbeque pit (can you smoked Rainbow Trout), copious booth seating, a 15-ft projection TV, two 60-inch LCD TVs, a state of the art tap beer system and full size pool tables that will be available free to the public Monday thru Thursdays."--JACK CURTIN

December 26, 2007 - Patrick Mullin To Leave Drafting Room At Year's End
Patrick Mullin, who has been the bar manager at Drafting Room Exton for nearly a decade and whose support of local and national craft beers and general influence have been so significant that he was once termed "the Tom Peters of the suburbs," will leave his post on December 31 to take a new sales position with Sierra Nevada.

In an email, Mullin cited a desire for new challenges and a job that would allow him to spend more time with his wife as reasons for the change, saying that "my last 9 1/2 years at The Drafting Room have been joyous and rewarding."

More details are available here.

December 18, 2007 - Stockertown Beverage Brings Bear Republic to Pennsylvania
Bear Republic, one of the California's best known and most popular labels, will have five beers on Pennsylvania retail shelves by year's end, a development which is sure to win the approval of craft beef aficionados and which is something of a coup for Stockertown Beverage Co., the Lehigh Valley wholesaler.

When retailers John Beljan and Chuck Greenstreet decided to take the wholesale leap into what they perceived as an under-served craft and high-end import beer segment just about four years ago, they told anyone who asked that their philosophy was that "putting a human face on the beer makes it a lot more special." That hands-on approach has been the driving force behind the growth of Stockertown Beverage Co. into an increasingly important player in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The wholesaler now represents 20 craft and nearly 150 import brands (most of the latter from the eclectic Shelton Brothers portfolio) and serves accounts in 26 counties, extending as far west as Harrisburg. Stockertown has added craft brands like Breckenridge (Colorado), Founders (Michigan) and Hopping Frog (Ohio) this year, to go along with Lancaster (their flagship local craft), Thomas Hooker (Connecticut), Middle Agesand Southampton (both New York). They will be adding a full-time Philadelphia sales representative in January.

The Bear Republic contract is for nine counties in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley markets with plans to expand as sales warrant. The California brewery is also expected to sign with Pittsburgh wholesaler in the near future to establish a firm foothold in the Commonwealth.

Getting the brand was a long-term project. "I talked to them for two years," says Beljan. "The way we work is we research the best brands, not necessarily household name brands, but beers of good quality from a great brewer. We search online and in the beer magazines, and we look to our retail customers for guidance about which beers they can't get and want to get. Matt [Beer Yard owner Matt Guyer] has been fantastic in that regard and pointed us in several directions.I contacted Bear Republic and made us part of their thinking as they were getting ready to come into Pennsylvania. After that, it was a lot of hard work and personal contact because there's a lot of competition for speciality beers these days. I was out at GABF this year and was standing right there when they won a Silver medal for the Big Bear Black Stout."

Stockertown's size and commitment make them an increasingly viable choice for newcomers into the market, Greenstreet argues. "Specialty beers don't generally lend themselves to being part of the broad sales approaches employed by big, national brand wholesalers," he suggests. "They need to be hand sold, to be given individual attention and care. The kind of personal representation we offer is needed more than ever these days."

The folks at Bear Republic obviously agree.--JACK CURTIN

December 17, 2007 - Forbes Article Cites Beer Yard Website As "Brilliant" Model For The Future
When writer Eric K. Clemons of Forbes.com set out to write a story about the incredible variety of products available to consumers in the marketplace today and the "word of mouse" methods we use to sort them all out and find the best quality, price or special enhancement which most appeals to each of us individually, his research took him to many online venues, including The Beer Yard.

That link is to an online sub-feature to Clemons' story, a slide show presentation called "Web Selling--What's Smart, What's Dumb<" and is in the "Smart" category. Clemons is taken with the fact that each beer listing on this site has a link to RateBeer site and links his readers to the The Beer Yard so they can see what he means.

He writes:

The relationship between the Beer Yard and Ratebeer is nothing short of brilliant...it is probably a harbinger of relationships between sellers and independent, user-generated content, reviewing sites.
According to inside sources, the Beer Yard is considering changing its unofficial motto from "Beer in the Rear" (reflecting its location behind the Wayne Starbucks store) to "Harbinger of Good Brew."--JACK CURTIN
December 13, 2007 - Brewers Guild Asks Public Support For Sixpack Packaging Reform
Pending legislation in Harrisburg would make the six-pack the minimum size allowable for sale by Pennsylvania beer retailers and the Pennsylvania Brewers Guild is asking for the public's help in keeping it that way by contacting their legislators in support of an existing amendment to House Bill 606 which is scheduled to be voted on in early January.

HB 606 currently has an amendment attached which specifies a 66oz package as the minimum size for beer packages in the state. That 66oz figure is to accommodate some import beers, primarily Belgian, which come in 11oz bottles; the basic 720z sixpack fits under that guideline but would be excluded under proposals making larger sizes the smallest allowable package.

According to Dan Weirback of Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Easton, speaking to The Beer Yard on behalf of the Guild, "some other interests out there" are pressuring legislators to raise the minimum size to 12 packs or larger because it would be exclusively to their benefit were that to happen.

"Making a six-pack the minimum package would bring Pennsylvania into line with every other state in the union," Weirback said this morning. "In all 49 other states, that is the basic package for beer. Making 12, 15 and 18 packs the norm would only benefit the large mainstream brewers, who are poised at our borders to bring those packages into the market. And it would place a serious burden on in-state craft brewers who would have to invest in additional packaging options and maintain an inventory of additional packaging sizes in order to compete and would not be able to respond quickly to a changed landscape.

"More importantly, surveys have shown that Pennsylvania consumers, up to 85 percent of them in one survey, prefer and want the six-pack size available to them. The six-pack is the most consumer-friendly option because it allows buyers to try new beers at less cost-an important factor with beer prices rising because of the hops and malt crunch-and to enjoy a wider variety of beers within their budgets. The size also benefits retailers, allowing them to display more brands in less space and appeal to a wider range of customers. And even Mothers Against Drunk Driving has come out in support of the six-pack option in Pennsylvania because it limits the amount of beer a consumer is required to purchase.

"Understand, a six-pack minimum would not preclude the 12-pack or other larger packages for craft brewers or anyone else; it would just insure that Pennsylvania will enjoy a full range of packaging options for beer which is consistent with what exists everywhere else in the United States."

HB 606 is a Liquor Control Enforcement bill and not the massive legislation which was much discussed in the press last summer and which provided for not only new options for current beer retailers but also expanded sales to additional venues outside the existing distribution system. That legislation has been tabled, apparently permanently, according to Harrisburg insiders. The new six-pack amendment was one of several added to 606 on December 4 by the Senate Law and Justice Committee, presumably because it was least controversial aspect of the proposed changes in the earlier bill and enjoys strong public support. From public reports, Anheuser-Busch, the nation's largest brewer, appears to favor the six-pack minimum, while Miller Brewing and Coors Brewing are supporting the larger packages.

In an emergency meeting held in Harrisburg on Wednesday, the Brewers Guild drafted a letter to legislators arguing that a sudden influx of additional packaging options will be an unfair burden to in-state breweries because "our businesses have been forced to compete in packages of cases (264 fl. oz.) and sixpacks (72 oz.) since the inception of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code" and that adopting the six-pack minimum would mean that "Pennsylvania retailers will avoid the burden of new product deluge as the 24 count carton that they currently stock can be divided, as their option, into more consumer friendly retail packages."

"We need consumers to push for this amendment to go through as it is currently written, immediately and loudly, by calling their state senators and assemblymen," says Weirback, "so that we can offset the lobbying efforts of the other side. If they don't, it very likely won't get through. The Brewers Guild by itself doesn't have enough clout compared to the other lobbyists. We want to mobilize everybody we can in support of six-pack legislation."

Consumers can go the Pennsylvania General Assembly online and enter their zip codes to get the names of their senate and house representatives. Clicking on the representative's name brings up telephone, mail and email contact options. "Tell them that you support the amendment to HB 606 which makes a six-pack the minimum size for beer in Pennsylvania," Weirback stresses. "Make it clear that you want package reform to go to six-packs, not 12, 15 or 18. Be clear and be firm."

The Brewers Guild was reformed roughly 18 months ago to represent the state's craft brewers and brewpubs in the area of legal reform. Artie Tafoya of Appalachian Brewing is president, serving with an executive committee which includes Bill Covaleski of Victory Brewing (vice-president), Sean Casey of Church Brew Works (secretary) and John Trogner of Troegs Brewing (treasurer).-JACK CURTIN

December 11, 2007 - Five Local Breweries Will Pour Their Beers At SAVOR
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Legacy Brewing Co, Stoudt's Brewing Co. and Troegs Brewing Co. were the local breweries among 40 chosen by lottery to pour their beers at SAVOR: an American Craft Beer & Experience in Washington,DC next May 16-17.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery was one of eight "Brewery Supporters" of the Brewers Association's new event which will also be pouring, for a total of 48 breweries.

Winning breweries were contacted by email yesterday and a press release sent out today.

Breweries had to sign up for the lottery to have chance and the were randomly chosen from eight regions across the nation. were entered into the drawing - 40 breweries from 8 regions were randomly selected for participation. Additionally, eight spots were reserved for Brewery Supporters (sponsors), for a total of 48 breweries participating at the event.

Tickets for each of three sessions will be limited to the first 700 purchasers. The $85 ticket will include a commemorative tasting glass, souvenir program and Craft Beer Taster's Commemorative Journal, food and craft beer pairings, seminars and two-ounce samples of specially selected craft beer.--JACK CURTIN

December 11, 2007 - John Harvard's Main Line Location Closed
A local broker for used brewery equipment acknowledged to the Beer Yard today that he has been in the process of marketing the brewhouse at the now closed John Harvard's in Wayne for the past month.

He and another informed beer industry observer, both of whom choose to remain anonymous, also agreed that they expect Harvard's Pittsburgh pub to suffer the same fate in the near future.

"In fact, I suspect that the Boston Culinary Group (which bought the John Harvard chain in 2005) will eventually close all the pubs except the original one in Cambridge, Ma., which is hugely successful, and do so sooner rather than later," said one.

Most employees appear not to have been forewarned of the closing, but brewer Brad Basile, who was an assistant brewer at Manayunk Brewing for the past year-and a-half and stepped into the brewer’s post at the closed location at the end of October, was apparently given a head's up by one of our sources a week ago.

ORIGINAL STORY No one is answering the phones for the location as of this evening and the location has disappeared from the Harvard's website as a Pennsylvania location.

The Wayne John Harvard's opened with a big splash in in February 1997 and proved to be the first of several tenants to make a go of it at what would appear to be a very desirable location which was originally home to a classic old Main Line watering hole and dining spot.

The Harvard's location in Springfield closed nearly two years ago and other sites around the country have been shuttered in recent years, so a closing would not be a major surprise.

Further information as it becomes available. --JACK CURTIN

December 07, 2007 - Former Heavyweight Owners Sign Lease in Mt. Airy
Tom Baker goes online with more details on his new brewpub, along with a shout-out to another great beer destination already established in the area.

ORIGINAL STORY 12-6-2007
Tom Baker told The Beer Yard this morning that the brewpub he and wife/[partner Peggy Zwerver promised to open when they shut down Heavyweight Brewing last year will be located on Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia and that he hopes to open the doors by the end of March 2008.

"We have a signed lease and will be moving our equipment into place as soon as possible," Baker said. "We also plan to relocate our residence to the area and hope to become a part of the neighborhood and a destination site for beer lovers."

The new pub, to be named Earth. Bread & Brewery will feature flatbread and Baker's beers, along with guest craft beers. "We have a full liquor license but won't use that right off the bat. We'll take things slow and get them right."

Earth, Bread & Brewery will be located at 7136 Germantown Avenue, a few blocks south of McMenamin's Tavern.

More details to come.--JACK CURTIN

December 06, 2007 - Yards Distribution Rights Go To Muller Inc.
Ed Friedland, who was a principle in the legal wrangle over Yards Brewing distribution rights confirmed to the Beer Yard this morning that those rights have formally been acquired by Muller Inc.

It's all been worked out," Friedland said. "Yards is happy, Kunda is happy, Origlio is happy, Muller is happy and I'm happy. In fact, the next time you see me, I'll probably be drinking a pint of Yards at the bar."

ORIGINAL STORY 12-5-2007
The distribution rights for Yards Brewing Company now belong to Muller, Inc., a reliable source told The Beer Yard late tonight.

Muller is a Miller Brewing affiliated wholesaler located in Northeast Philadelphia. The story is still unconfirmed but it is an arrangement which had been widely anticipated in local beer circles in recent weeks as the likely next shoe to drop in the series of distribution shakeups in the local market over the past two years.

Yards has been self-distributing since the acquisition of its original wholesaler, Edward I. Friedland, by Kunda Beverage of King of Prussia in 2006. Yards refused to accept the transfer of its rights and claimed that it had always designated first distribution rights to itself. The matter has been in the courts ever since, with Yards winning at each level.

In a deal announced in November, Kunda Beverage's wholesale contracts have all been acquired by Origlio Beverage, the region's largest wholesaler and a Coors house, as of this January.

Yards itself underwent a major change this past summer when co-founder Tom Kehoe split with his partners and set in motion a process which will see the brewery moved from its Kensington plant to a new location on the Delaware River waterfront in January.

How all of this sorts out and whether this move resolves the legal and related issues is not clear at this point. More details will be posted here as they become available.--JACK CURTIN

November 29, 2007 - Legacy Will Bottle Euphoria & Hoptimus Prime in 22oz Size
"We will be brewing and bottling Euphoria and Hoptimus Prime.in the Legacy Brewery on Canal St. in Reading. We are anticipating the 3rd week of December for the bottles to be ready right and are now waiting on the ATF to approve the labels," Legacy office manager Kim Golembiewski told The Beer Yard this morning in answer to an inquiry occasioned by a brewery newsletter earlier in the week which announced the new packaged products. The beers will be the first products packaged on a new 22oz. bottling line.

Hoptimus Prime this beer is a Double IPA brewed with seven different hops and then dry hopped to boot. Euphoria is a cult-favorite Belgian-style Strong Ale. Both beers have only been available on draught to date.

The newsletter also said that Legacy Nor'Easter Oatmeal Stout, just out in draught,will be also available in 22oz. bottles sometime in January and that the brewing staff is formulating a new Belgian-style Dubbel.--JACK CURTIN

November 21, 2007 - Iron Hill Lancaster Will Open November 28
Owners Kevin Finn, Kevin Davies and Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will celebrate the opening of their newest location on the 781 Block of Harrisburg Pike, across from Franklin & Marshall College’s campus, with a festive "First Pour" at 4pm on Wednesday, November 28.

Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Baldrige, Franklin & Marshall Vice President for Administrative Services and External Affairs Keith Orris and James Street Improvement District Deputy Director Marshall Snively will join the Iron foundes in pouring the first beer from the award-winning brewery.

The restaurant will then open for business at 5 pm.--JACK CURTIN

November 21, 2007 - Prima Pils Take European Beerstar Silver Medal
Victory Brewing Company's Prima Pils won the 2007 Silver Medal at European Beerstar Competition in the Bohemian Pilsner category, the results were announced at Brau Nuremberg on Nov. 15.

"Prima won the Bronze medal there in 2004 and we didn't enter in 2005 or 2006, " Victory's Bill Covaleski told The Beer Yard. "And our Storm King Imperial Stout took a Bronze in that category the first time it was entered."

The Beerstar medal topped off a productive fall awards season for the brewery's flagship pilsner, which also garnered the Silver Medal in its category at the Great American Beer Festival in October.--JACK CURTIN

November 19, 2007 - SABMiller Will Acquire Grolsch
SABMiller, the world's third largest brewer, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the nearly 400-year old Dutch brewer Royal Grolsch NV in a deal valued at $1.2 billion.

"SABMiller sees significant potential across Africa and Latin America, where the premium segment is still in its infancy, and in the more developed markets of Central and Eastern Europe," said a corporate press release. "South Africa represents a key opportunity and with the addition of Grolsch, SABMiller will have a particularly strong portfolio of highly differentiated premium brands in that market." No changes to existing distribution arrangements in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States are anticipated at this time, although SABMiller Chief Financial Officer Malcolm Wyman said at news conference that the new owners would "seek to enter into discussions with Anheuser-Busch after the deal is closed." A-B acquired distribution rights for Grolsch in the US last year.--JACK CURTIN

November 18, 2007 - Redhook and Widmer Brothers Will Merge in 2008
Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery will merge in 2008, creating a new company to be called the Craft Brewers Alliance which will be the third largest craft brewery in the nation, behind Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) and Sierra Nevada.

In effect, Redhook is buying the privately held Widmer Brothers, issuing 8 million new shares and paying about $50 million. Anheuser-Busch, which currently owns roughly one-third of each of the two merging companies, will hold the same ownership in the Craft Brewers Alliance. That entity already exists as a sales and marketing joint venture between Redhook and Widmer and has a distribution agreement with A-B.

In addition to the Redhook and Widmer brands, the new alliance will include the Kona and Goose Island brands, based on minority ownerships in both currently held by Redhook. It will have annual shipments in the 600,000 barrel range according to The Seattle Times. Beer Marketer's Insights reports that Widmer shipped 269,000 barrels and Redhook 168,000 in 2006, for a total of 467,000 barrels.

Kurt Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers, will be chairman of the combined Pacific Northwest companies, while Redhook founder Paul Shipman will be chairman emeritus.

The deal had been rumored for some time and the two brewers acknowledged last January that they might merge.--JACK CURTIN

November 13, 2007 - Southampton Signs Marketing & Distribution Agreement With Pabst
The announcement last week that Pabst Brewing Company "has entered into a strategic alliance with Southampton Bottling, LLC to market and distribute its award-winning line of craft-brewed ales and lagers" created some confusion in the craft brewing world.

Did this mean that Pabst had acquired some or all equity in the respected Long Island brewpub? Would the beers be mass brewed at one or more of the various contract breweries which produce the Pabst brands? What would become of Phil Markowski, the award-winning Southampton brewer who is considered one of the nation's best?

Not to worry, said Southampton owner Donald Sullivan in an email to beer writer Stan Hieronymus which was published on the latter's AppellationBeer website yesterday: "Pabst has not bought any percentage of SHB. Southampton stays independent. The strategic alignment is affording SHB a well established distribution network with full sales and marketing and marketing support while allowing PBC to begin to offer it’s distributors a specialty brand that has legitimacy in terms of quality and reputation. SHB receives economies of scale with market penetration equal to most or all of regional/national competitors while PBC is able to access and offer the myriad of styles available through the SHB license agreement."

In an earlier posting, Hieronymus (who was all over this story) reported that Markowski would remain the man in charge of overseeing all Southampton beers which will continue to be brewed at three locations; the brewpub itself (mostly for on-premise consumption though a few batches are sometimes bottled); Sly Fox Brewing in Royersford (750ml corked bottles) and, replacing Old Saratoga Brewing in Saratoga Springs, NY, The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre (year-round and seasonal beers in 12oz bottles).

"I have the intention of being totally hands on,' Markowski told Hieronymus. "There is no thought of changing the product or the integrity of the product," noting that the lines between "craft" and "contract" beers are blurring as the industry matures. "Some of subjectivity is coming out of it," he argued. "It’s more, ‘How does it taste?’"

Southampton is one of the most-honored craft brewers of the last 10 years and was awarded a Silver medal for Double White Ale and a Bronze medal for Saison farmhouse-style ale at the recently concluded 2007 Great American Beer Festival® in Denver, CO. Since opening in 1996, Southampton has won 14 GABF medals.

The agreement with Pabst is expected to take effect by year's end with shipments to commence in the second quarter of 2008.--JACK CURTIN

November 06, 2007 - The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre Sold To Former Coca-Cola Bottling Executives [UPDATED]
Two former Coca-Cola bottling senior executives have purchased The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre.

News of the sale, which has been rumored since August, was first broken on Seen Through a Glass, Lew Bryson's website, early yesterday.

Ohio-based Blue Point Capital Partners is backing Ron Hammond, who will be CEO ,and Cliff Risell, will be president.

According to the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, Hammond said today that employees should not be affected by the change in ownership and that former owners Chuck Lawson and Patrick Belardi would continue to be involved.

While The Lion itself came into existence in 1901, it can trace its heritage to pre-Civil War days because it absorbed the Stegmaier Brewery in 1974 and that establishment was founded in 1857. The Lion was operated by the Smulowitz family from 1933-1993, when it was sold to a group of private investors. Lawson and Belardi, members of that investment team, then purchased the business in 1999.

The Lion is a Wilkes-Barre landmark which brews both Stegmaier and its own line of Pocono Lager beers along with contract and private label beers, as well as a variety of sodas. Beginning in 2005, it has produced a quarterly Stegmaier special release aimed at the craft beer market. The Winter 2007 release, just out, is Stegmaier Winter Warmer Olde World Ale. The brewery celebrated Stegmaier's 150th anniversary this year with the new Steg 150, a Vienna lager which proved to be so popular that it has been added to the brand's year-round portfolio. --JACK CURTIN

November 04, 2007 - Dixie Brewing Celebrates 100th Anniversary, Vows To Rise From Katrina Devastation
With a grand costume party and celebration in the ruins of their Dixie Brewing Company in New Orleans on Halloween night, owners Joe and Kendra Bruno promised the world that the 100-year old brewery will live again and had Dixie Lager, Blackened Voodoo and Jazz Amber Light flowing for their guests to prove it.

Dixie’s brewery was filled with up to nine feet of water during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and severely looted in the weeks thereafter. All the copper piping and a classic old copper kettle, along with 50 or more ancient wooden tanks make of cypress, were cut up and taken by looters, making one of the few remaining regional breweries and the only remaining privately held regional brewery in the South a disaster area.

Dixie opened its doors on October 31, 1907, 100 years to the day from last week's celebration.

In an unpublished interview with The Beer Yard from October 2006, just over a year after Katrina, Joe Bruno extended an invitation to “our 100th Anniversary Celebration next year…it will happen and it will happen right here in New Orleans at the brewery.” Last Wednesday night, he and his wife made good on that promise as costumed revelers enjoyed mini-Muffalos and other local cuisine, danced to New Orleans jazz and quaffed Dixie’s three flagship beers, which are currently being contract brewed by Huber Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin. Long-time Dixie brewmaster Kevin Stuart treks up to Wisconsin for each brewing cycle.

“It took me six months to get back here to New Orleans after Katrina,” Stuart said. “We had 17 feet of water at our home in Mississippi and I was living in a tent with my wife and five dogs, trying to get things together. But I knew I’d come back and I knew I wanted to help Joe and Kendra in whatever they chose to do. I’m glad they want to try and bring Dixie back and I want to be part of it.” As for doing the beers at Huber for now, Stuart said “we did have to tweak things a bit because of a different brewing system and differences in the water used, but I think we’ve captured the original flavors.”

The original Dixie rollout has put the beers into Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Colorado and Massachusetts as well as Louisiana at this point. A second rollout is planned for this month to Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Expectations are that the three beers will be nationwide in time for Mardi Gras 2008 in February. If sales warrant, Joe Bruno said, the popular Crimson Voodoo may also return during the contract brewing phase.

Reconstruction plans call for installing a state-of-the-art 50bbl brewhouse in the first level of the existing building and the creation of an “authentic old-world beer garden” on the roof in the shadow of the famous silver dome which will offer panoramic views of the city, with a target date of 2010 for completion.

That will be a daunting task with the odds stacked against it happening. Then again, a 100th birthday party this year was a real long shot too.—JACK CURTIN

October 23, 2007 - Appalachian Root Beer Gets Slot In Giant Food Store Chain
Harrisburg's Appalachian Brewing Company has made a name for itself with its gourmet-style Root Beer as well as its beers. And now it's paying off.

Appalachian Root Beer is specially brewed with a "unique blend of honey, vanilla, pure cane sugar and a whole lotta fun," according to brewery press release, and now, under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture's PA Preferred Program, Appalachian Root Beer will some be coming to the shelves of a Giant Food Store in your area.

If the brand shows a solid sales trend, it is likely to be given a permanent slot at Giant and open the doors to other venues.--JACK CURTIN

October 22, 2007 - Penn Brewing a Grand Champion, Victory, Sly Fox & General Layette Regional Winners in Summer USBTC
Pittsburgh's Penn Brewing was selected one of 11 Grand Champions in the 13th annual United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC) summer session, winning in the Wheat Beer category for Penn Weizen.

Three other Pennsylvania breweries, all local, took various honors in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast regional judging in the competition.

Victory Brewing of Downingtown took two firsts and an honorable mention in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast region, Sly Fox Brewing of Royersford earned a first and an honorable mention, General Lafayette Inn of Lafayette Hill won a first and McKenzie Brew House of Malvern won two honorable mentions.

Victory's two championships were for Prima Pils and HopDevil India Pale Ale, while Victory Saison was the honorable mention beer behind the top-ranked Sly Fox Saison Vos in that category. Sly Fox's honorable mention was for Phoenix Pale Ale. General Lafayette won in the Fruit Beer category for Lafayette Biere de Framboises. McKenzie's honorable mentions were for Unicorn Amber Ale and Shane's Gold, a pilsner.

Victory, Sly Fox and McKenzie were also multiple medal winners at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in Denver this month.

USBTC examined a total of 421 beers from 169 breweries across 12 different beer categories. Within each category, the USBTC determined both a Grand Champion and the best entry from each of six U.S. regions: Northeast, id-Atlantic/Southeast, Midwest, Rockies/Southwest, California and Northwest/Pacific, along with an honorable mention beer when merited.--JACK CURTIN

October 18, 2007 - Scott Morrison Back At Dock Street [REVISED & UPDATED]
Scott Morrison returned to Philadelphia's Dock Street Brewpub on an interim basis today, immediately after reaching an agreement with owner Rosemarie Certo.

The return engagement was first reported here yesterday in story which also noted that recently hired head brewer Julius Hummer was let go by Dock Street Saturday night after less than two months on the job.

Morrison, who set up the Dock Street brewhouse and brewed the pub's first beers, is returning for an indeterminate stay. "It will be at least a month," Certo told The Beer Yard today, "or maybe longer. Six months or so would be ideal. Scott still wants to do his own thing, but he's with us for now and he's welcome to stay as long as he wants to. It's a good relationship. He's happy and we're happy. We had a major reunion this morning and it was like he never left."

Morrison will be assisted by Mike Fava, who is sort of the "Jack of all trades" for Dock Street. "Mike has been with us for two years and he's a very key person," Certo said. "He has his hands in everything around here. He does managing, he does wholesale sales from the brewery and he brews. he helped set up the brewhouse and did a lot of brewing with Scott the first time around. Scott will be both directing and training Michael as part of his job, but Michael already knows a lot. He transferred beer yesterday without Scott being here, for example. We'll obviously still be looking for a brewer, but if Scott is here for an extended period of time, it's certainly possible that Michael could be ready to take over after he leaves."

Morrison says that training Fava to perhaps follow in his footsteps is something he figures is right up his alley. "Hey, I did okay with the last guy I trained, didn't I?" he asked, laughing. Ryan Michaels, Morrison's assistant brewer before he was let go by McKenzie Brew House, won two medals, including a Gold, at GABF 2007 last week.--JACK CURTIN

October 17, 2007 - Yards Leases Delaware Avenue Property, Will Move Brewery There In January
Yards Brewing Company has signed a 10-year lease for 28,000 square feet of space in a building at 901 Delaware Avenue, a block off of Spring Garden St., and will move its brewery there by the end of the year, company founder and president Tom Kehoe told The Beer Yard late this afternoon.

"We just signed the papers,"a relieved Kehoe said in a telephone call. "I've been working on this deal for over a month. Now we have a lot of work to do and that starts right away. We will clean the place up and move the brewhouse in next week and begin building platforms and doing the plumbing work to turn it into a brewery."

The new location has been empty for the past few years after having been a skateboarding facility in its previous incarnation. It has an interior loading dock which is accessible from a side street, Kehoe said, simplifying the process of loading and unloading trucks in that busy section of the riverfront.

Kehoe and former partners Bill and Nancy Barton split up this past summer. He has continued to operate Yards out of their Kensington plant under a lease which runs until the end of the year. The Bartons are in the process of creating Philadelphia Brewing Company, which will begin producing beer at the site after Kehoe and Yards leave.

Kehoe says that, as far as he is concerned, brewing positions at the new facility "belong to the Yards brewers, the guys who are producing the beer now. They've said that they want to stay with me and I've told them the jobs are theirs, but I will need a formal commitment soon."

That conflicts with what Bartons told The Beer Yard last month, that the brewing team would all be joining their new company. If that should happen, Kehoe said, "I have plenty of applications from people wanting to brew for Yards, more than I can handle, in fact."

"We'll no longer be hidden away in a dark corner of the city," Kehoe added, laughing, "but right out there on the Delaware River with great exposure to the public. We'll have a lot of architectural work to do, a lot of construction and plumbing, but I believe we will at least be in position to brew at some level by January, assuming we've gotten all the permits. I'd guess we'll be very heavy on draught when we start up, then move back into regular bottling schedules."

To the extent possible, he added, he will try to stockpile as much packaged beer as he can through the rest of 2007 to keep as strong a Yards presence in the market as possible through the changeover.--JACK CURTIN

October 16, 2007 - Origlio Beverage Acquires Kunda Distribution Operations
In a move which sent shock waves throughout the regional beer community and directly affect the fortunes of several craft breweries, Origlio Beverage, the largest wholesaler in the five-county Philadelphia market, has closed a deal with Kunda Beverage in King of Prussia to acquire its distribution operations by January 2008.

Multiple sources have confirmed the broad outlines of the apparent sale for The Beer Yard Monday evening. The deal was the subject of countless telephone calls in local beer circles after it broke late yesterday, continuing well into the evening and early morning hours.

Insiders say that Origlio is also expected to make at least two more wholesaler acquisitions in the next few months. Conjecture is that these would be businesses located in the western and northern suburbs.

The move will add most of the major local and U.S. craft beer brands currently in the five-county market and an impressive array of high-end Belgian imports to the wholesaler's portfolio.

Origlio signaled its interest in becoming involved in the craft beer segment last year when it sought and acquired the rights to the Sly Fox brand from Kunda. The presence of some of the company's key sales personnel at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last week added further evidence of that interest.

Local craft brands currently distributed by Kunda in addition to Sly Fox include Dock Street, Dogfish Head, Legacy, Stoudt's and Weyerbacher. Major West Coast brands such as Port, Stone and Russian River are also in its portfolio, as are several other well known crafts from across the county and many of the best known and highly prized Belgian and German labels.

A source familiar with the negotiations said that Kunda, which pulled off a major acquisition of its own in 2006 by purchasing Edward I. Friedland, Philadelphia's major distributor of craft and Belgian beers, pulled the trigger on the sale at this time to insure that its personnel would have seniority in the event of any future takeovers by Origlio.

Kunda will keep its retail outlet in King of Prussia and its importing subsidiary.

Whether Origlio will choose to keep all the Kunda brands or whether any of the breweries might object to the shift of its brand to a new wholesaler is unknown at this point.

The impact on the overall wholesale picture for the five-county region will be, at the very least, one less distribution option for breweries seeking to enter the market. In addition, an eventual shuffling and swapping of brands among wholesalers is not unusual following a restructuring as major as this one will be.--JACK CURTIN

October 15, 2007 - A-B's "The American Brew," Beer Writers & Craft Wholesalers Also Celebrated In Denver
It wasn't just "all about the beer" at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in Denver last week. The media and craft beer wholesalers enjoyed a share of reflected glory as well.

Award-winning filmmakers Roger Sherman and Jesse Sweet were honored by the Brewers Association (BA) as recipients of the Beer Journalism Award in the Electronic Media category for "The American Brew," an hour-long film commissioned by Anheuser-Busch’s "Here’s To Beer" industry-development campaign. It first aired in April on the A&E channel and is now available on DVD. The film celebrates the rich history of "America's favorite beverage of moderation" and chronicles the evolution of beer throughout the centuries and up to the present day.

Writers Julie Johnson Bradford and Marnie Old were given Beer Journalism awards for their work in print. Bradford, editor of All About Beer, was the Trade and Specialty Beer Media winner for "The Men in the Tall Rubber Boots," which appeared in the magazine's May issue. Old won in the Consumer Print Media category for "Beer Takes the High Road," published in Santé magazine in June 2007.

BA was joined by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) in presenting three new awards to wholesalers. The Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award, which recognizes the beer distributor in America who does the most to market, sell and promote craft beer in its market, went to Monarch Beverage Co. of Indiana. The Craft Beer Distributor Achievement Award went to Louis Glunz Beer Co. of Illinois, and the Craft Beer Distributor Recognition Award went to Cavalier Distributing of Ohio.--JACK CURTIN

October 14, 2007 - Pennsylvania's 12 Medals, Including Six Gold, Lead East Coast GABF Wins
An impressive performance by seven Pennsylvania breweries accounted for more than a third of the total medals and more than half the Gold medals brought home by East Coast breweries from Denver and the 2007 Great American Beer Festival this weekend.

Victory Brewing, Sly Fox Beer and McKenzie Brew House each won two medals, including a Gold each, and Troegs Brewing and Rock Bottom King of Prussia accounted for the other two Golds in the standard beer judging. Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works received a Gold in the Pro-Am competition. In addition, Stoudt Brewing Company won two medals and Iron Hill one, for a state total of six Golds and 12 overall wins. Pennsylvania finished fourth among the states in total wins, behind California (46), Colorado (28) and, just barely, Wisconsin (13). Oregon was fifth with 11 wins; even if the Allentown/Bethlehem Gold in the Pro-Am competition is discounted by purists, the state was at worst tied for the fourth slot.

Overall, East Coast breweries won 32 medals, three less than in 2006, but they outperformed last year by 11 Gold Medals to seven. In addition to the Pennsylvania wins and two in Delaware (details on both states' medals can be found in our story posted yesterday), medals were garnered by breweries in New York (6), Maryland (5), Maine (2), Massachusetts (2), Virginia (2) and New Hampshire (1).

In New York, Captain Lawrence took a Gold for Cuvee de Castleton, Southampton Publick House won a Silver for Double White Ale and Bronze for McHenry Lager, Blue Point won Silver for Toasted Lager, and Chelsea Brewing (Hop Angel IPA) and Olde Saratoga Brewing (Kingfisher Premium Lager Beer) each won Bronze. The Olde Saratoga win gave the region a clean sweep in the German-Style Pilsner category, behind Gold for Sly Fox Pilsner and Silver for Victory Prima Pils.

In Maryland,Rock Bottom-Bethesda had a trifecta--Gold for Brown Bear Brown, Silver for Firechief Ale and Bronze for Right On Rye and Clipper City Brewing won Gold for BaltoMärzHon and Bronze for McHenry Lager. A bit further south in Northern Virginia, Great American Restaurants won Gold for Crazy Jackass Ale and Capitol City Brewing Co. received Bronze for Milkman Stout.

Boston Beer Company won the only Gold in the New England states, for Samuel Adams Double Bock (in a category when Sly Fox Instigator was the Bronze); a second Massachusetts win came from Cambridge Brewing Co., a silver for Cambridge Amber. Allagash Brewing Co. took a pair of Bronze Medals for Maine, winning with beers named Victor and Four. And Portsmith Brewery of New Hampshire won Silver for Wheat Wine to round out the East Coast totals.

In the brewery and brewpub awards, Pabst Brewing and brewer Bob Newman were the Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, Firestone Walker Brewing and brewer Matthew Brynildson were the Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing and Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey and Tomme Arthur were the Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. The Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year were Redrock Brewing Company and Kevin Templin; the Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year were Montana Brewing Company and Travis Zeilstra.

GABF sold out completely for 2007 and a record-breaking attendance figure topping last year's 41,000 is expected to be reported when everything is tallied up. This year, 107 certified judges from seven countries tasted 2832 beers which were entered by 474 breweries in 75 style categories and 222 medals were awarded. There were 408 breweries on the festival floor, pouring 1884 beers, an estimated 25,000 gallons in all.--JACK CURTIN

GABF results by state were calculated based upon statistical data organized by Bryan Kolesar, proprietor of The Brew Lounge.
October 13, 2007 - Victory, Sly Fox, McKenzie, Troegs, Rock Bottom & Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works Win GABF Gold Medals
In an impressive showing for the Delaware Valley, ten local breweries won 14 Medals in the beer judging at the 26th Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony in Denver, Colo.

The medal total included six Gold Medals and two medals each for Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown, Sly Fox Beer of Royersford and Phoenixville, McKenzie Brew House in Chadds Ford and Malvern, and Stoudt's Brewing of Adamstown.

Victory took Gold for Victory Festbier and Silver for Prima Pils, behind Sly Fox's Gold for Pikeland Pils. Sly Fox also won Bronze for Instigator Doppelbock. McKenzie won Gold for Saison Vautour and Bronze for Wee Heavy. Troegs Brewing Company of Harrisburg won a Gold in the Doppelbock category for Troegenator Doppelbock and the Rock Bottom Brewery location in King of Prussia won Gold for its Broad Street Barleywine.

Allentown/Bethlehem Brew Works received a Gold Medal in the Pro-Am Beer Competition, along with AHA member Chris Bowen. Pro-Am entries are brewed by professional craft brewers based on award winning homebrew recipes from American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members.

Stoudt's Brewing Company of Adamstown won Silver for its Weizen and Bronze for its Ofest. Iron Hill Media won Bronze for its Kriek de Hill. Stewart's Brewing of Bear, Del., earned a Silver for its Oktoberfest and Dogfish Head of Milton, Del., won Silver for Midas Touch.

Additionally, Philadelphia writer Marnie Old won the Beer Writer of the Year award in the Consumer Print Media Category in the Brewers Association Beer Journalism Awards competition.

Storylines for the event including Victory's first ever GABF medal, McKenzie Brew House winning a Gold and a Bronze the year after the dismissal of perennial medal winning brewer Scott Morrison and Troegs winning medals two years in a row for Troegenator (Silver in 2006).

Here are the winners by category:

Category: 9 Specialty Honey Lager or Ale - 39 Entries
Silver: Midas Touch, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE

Category: 17 Aged Beer (Ale or Lager) - 30 Entries
Gold: Broad Street Barleywine, Rock Bottom Brewery - King of Prussia, King of Prussia, PA

Category: 21 German-Style Pilsener - 47 Entries
Gold: Pikeland Pils, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Royersford, PA
Silver: Prima Pils, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA

Category: 28 Vienna Style Lager - 37 Entries
Bronze: Stoudts Ofest, Stoudts Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA

Category: 29 German Style Märzen - 58 Entries
Gold: Victory Festbier, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA
Silver: Stewart’s Oktoberfest, Stewart’s Brewing Co., Bear, DE

Category: 34 Bock - 23 Entries
Gold: Troegenator, Tröegs Brewing Co., Harrisburg, PA

Category: 35 German Style Strong Bock - 22 Entries
Bronze: Instigator, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Royersford, PA

Category: 55 South German Style - 60 Entries
Silver: Stoudts Weizen, Stoudts Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA

Category: 58 French- and Belgian Style Saison - 35 Entries
Gold: Saison Vautour, McKenzie Brew House, Malvern, PA

Category: 60 Belgian-Style Sour Ale - 28 Entries
Bronze: Kriek de Hill, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Media, Media, PA

Category: 71 Strong Scotch Ale - 28 Entries
Bronze: McKenzie Wee Heavy, McKenzie Brew House, Malvern, PA

More Beer Yard GABF Coverage will be posted Sunday or Monday.--JACK CURTIN

NOTE: An earlier Flash News Report said that Stoudt's Brewing also won a Gold Medal and did not include either Rock Bottom or Dogfish Head as medal winners. We apologize for the errors.
October 12, 2007 - Pliny the Elder Takes 2007 Alpha King Title in Denver
Russian River's Pliny the Elder and brewer Vinnie Cilurzo were crowned the 2007 "Alpha King" champions at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver today at Falling Rock Tap House, in Denver. The annual competition is held in conjunction with the Great American Beer Festival.

Pliny the Elder, arguably the nation's most popular and sought-after double IPA ,comes in at 100 IBUs and registers 8.0% alcohol by volume.

The Alpha King competition is sponsored and was created, by Hop Union, Yakima, WA, a major supplier of hops to craft brewers; the Northwest edition of the national Brewing News chain and White Labs, San Diego, a supplier of yeast to craft brewers.

The 2006 winner was Boundary Bay Imperial IPA brewed by Ed Bennett.--JACK CURTIN

October 09, 2007 - SABMiller and Coors Combine US Operations Into A Joint Venture
SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company announced this morning that they have signed a letter of intent to combine their U.S. and Puerto Rico operations. The transaction is expected to generate approximately $500 million in annual cost savings by the end of the third full year of combined financial operations, according to a press release.

The closing transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2007 and MillerCoors is expected to have have combined net revenues of approximately $6.6 billion and beer sales of 69 million U.S. barrels (81 million hectoliters). SABMiller and Molson Coors will have a 50% voting interest in the joint venture and five representatives each on its Board of Directors. SABMiller will have 58% economic interest and Molson Coors will have 42% economic interest.

The new company, MillerCoors, will be headed by Molson Coors Vice Chairman Pete Coors as chairman and SABMiller CEO Graham McKay as vice chairman. Molson Coors chief executive Leo Kiely will be the CEO of the joint venture, and Tom Long, Miller CEO will serve as president and chief commercial officer.

From the press release: "MillerCoors will build on the unique attributes of both Miller Lite and Coors Light to ensure compelling differentiation. The new company will also be better positioned to meet the increasingly diverse demands of U.S. beverage alcohol consumers through imports like Peroni, Molson and Pilsner Urquell; craft varieties including Leinenkugel’s, Blue Moon and Henry Weinhard’s; and specialty beers like Miller Chill, Killian’s and Sparks. MillerCoors will have more flexibility and resources for brand-building initiatives and increased levels of innovation in taste, product attributes and packaging."--JACK CURTIN

October 09, 2007 - Kennett Brew Fest Will Cut Ticket Sales By 1000 in 2008
Jeffrey Norman, chairperson for the annual Kennett Square Brew Fest, told The Beer Yard yesterday evening that his committee would limit sales for the popular event by "at least 1000 tickets" next year.

The action, which is only part of what Norman said he hopes will be "a major announcement" in coming weeks, will be taken because long lines at brewery stands this past weekend led some attendees to offer complaints at the BeerAdvocate website yesterday. Norman replied almost immediately with his own posting, writing that "I hear you all loud and clear and can assure you that my committee has as well in an email I sent this morning at 8 am."

Including 300 tickets for the limited attendance Connoisseur Tasting before the four-hour main event, more than 3000 tickets were sold for this year's festival, which featured the beers of 47 breweries. Everyone who purchased tickets online will receive a follow-up email explaining the restriction on sales for 2008, Norman said.

"With nine more breweries this year we spread the site out and I thought we had enough space. Actually, I guess we did, but I obviously miscalculated for the brewery lines. I’ve fired the first shot across my committee’s bow and, in no uncertain terms, have guaranteed that this won’t happen again," he stressed.

The ten-year old festival, which has grown into one of the region's largest and most popular, attracts brewery participation from as far away as California and attendees from several surrounding states. Norman said that it is the "financial life blood" of Historic Kennett Square, a non-profit organization "whose mission is to actively support and enrich the community vitality and pride, to help preserve the historic district and small-town atmosphere of downtown Kennett Square."

Norman had some words of praise for attendees at the event. "I think most people had a great time and that the crowd was well behaved even with the heat. Everyone who made a comment about the lines has been civil and I’m hoping that's because we’ve earned that over the years. I think it's fair to say too that the Connoisseur portion was was great and that the bathroom situation, which we'd had some problems with last year, was good, because we added additional facilities. I’d appreciate it if you focus on those two aspects of the event," he laughed.

Overall response in the BeerAdvocate thread was indeed favorable. In addition, several posters praised the Connoisseur session in particular and some of those pouring the beers as well as attendees made a point of commending the festival staff for its help and good humor.--JACK CURTIN

October 09, 2007 - Release of Victory Brewing's Baltic Thunder Postponed
The release of Victory Brewing Company's long-awaited Baltic Thunder has been postponed as a result of production difficulties, according a news release received this evening from Patrick Mullin, bar manager at The Drafting Room in Exton.

Mullin wrote that he was told by Victory sales director Steve German that the originally planned 750ml bottles arrived "3mm out of spec and cannot be run on the bottling line with the same crowns. [A]decision was made to switch to 22oz bottles, change labels and change boxes." The latter two items have, fortunately, not yet been printed.

No new release date has been set, Mullin said.

Baltic Thunder is Victory's reformulated version of Heavyweight Brewing Company's Perkuno's Hammer, a Baltic Porter which was one of the favorite releases of the closed New Jersey brewery. The brewery was closed by Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver in 2006 so that they could pursue other ventures. Victory founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski were such fans of the brew that they licenses the rights to recreate it from the Heavyweight founders. The name change resulted from a legal conflict over distribution rights to the brand name.

The Drafting Room's "One Final Victory for Heavyweight" event on Saturday, October 20 has been canceled for now. It was to have featured the draught release of Baltic Thunder and "the last known keg" of the original Perkuno's Hammer. along with bottles of several other Heavyweight beers and an appearance by Baker and Zwerver.--JACK CURTIN

October 08, 2007 - Garrett Oliver Will Edit Forthcoming Oxford Companion To Beer
Brooklyn Brewing's Garrett Oliver has signed on as the Editor-In-Chief and leading author of The Oxford Companion to Beer, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2011. The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, published in 2003, has been widely acclaimed. It won the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Book Award and a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Book Award.

The Oxford Press volume will be similar to Jancis Robinson's The Oxford Companion to Wine considered a seminal book on wines. It will offer thousands of entries on every beer-related topic imaginable, from history to styles, detailed methods of production, ingredients and their varieties, politics of beer, topics of debate, yeasts, climate change, wild fermentations, innovations and more.

"It will be unlike any beer book ever published and we couldn't be more happy to be adding this title to our Oxford Food Reference list," said Christian Purdy, director of publicity for Oxford University Press-USA.

Oxford University Press is the world's largest university press, publishing more than 4,500 new books a year. It has become familiar to millions through a diverse publishing program that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, bibles, music, school and college textbooks, children's books, materials for teaching English as a foreign language, business books, dictionaries (including the Oxford English Dictionary) and reference books, and journals. Oxford University Press is a division of Oxford University, England.--JACK CURTIN

October 07, 2007 - First Off-Premises Dock Street Beers Ship to Wholesaler
When the new Dock Street Brewpub opened in West Philadelphia in August, owner Rosemarie Certo promised that the brewery would be sending some of its beers to off-premises accounts as well as pouring them onsite.

That promise will be validated on Monday, October 8, with the release of kegs of Dock Street RYPA (a Rye IPA) and Dock Street Pumpkin Ale to wholesaler Kunda Beverage.

The beers are slated for The Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda's.

Brewer Julius Hummer told the Beer Yard during yesterday's Kennett Square Brewfest, where he was pouring his new Satellite Espresso Stout, that the IPA, created by interim brewer Scott Morrison, will remain part of his menu because of its popularity with the pub's customers, as will Morrison's Kolsch.

Hummer has already added his own Left Coast Red Ale and an Imperial Oatmeal Stout to the mix and promises more new brews shortly.--JACK CURTIN

October 01, 2007 - Anheuser-Busch Apparently Not Purchasing Budvar After All...At Least Not Now
The purchase of the Czech Republic's Budejovicky Budvar by Anheuser-Busch, the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, seems to have turned into a non-event.

According to the Prague Daily Monitor last Thursday, told the country’s Chamber of Deputies that the Czech government is not going to privatize the Budejovicky Budvar brewery at this time. "This is no privatization," he said, adding that a tender will be issued for the transformation of state-owned Budvar in October and the transformation of the brewery into a joint-stock company would take about 12-18 months. Topolanek also dismissed speculations that his adviser Marek Dalik is in talks with A-B.

The two brewers have been locked in trademark disputes around the world over the use of the name "Budweiser" for decades. By buying Budvar, A-B, which took over US distribution of Budvar under the Czechvar brand name, could put an end to the expensive litigation.--JACK CURTIN

October 01, 2007 - Texas Businessman Offers Beer Tasting and Hop Appreciation Kit
Brian Lewis thinks big like a Texan should, and the result for the Houston businessman is TasteYourBeer.com, a new website which offers the world's first-ever beer tasting kit, "designed to train all levels of enthusiasts how to better taste and appreciate beer."

The Beer Tasting and Hop Appreciation Kit has as its main component thirteen different hop samples and a Beer Appreciation Guide to teach the user how to properly appreciate beer, along with a color chart of "12 different shades of beer." A "scent refresher" is provided to "help reduce scent fatigue after repeated sniffs of hops and tastes of beer."

The kit also includes access to two online databases, a Hop Database which pairs hundreds of commercial beers with the hops used in brewing them and a Terms Database which offers extensive list of terms used to describe beers and their characteristics.

"While the concept of a wine tasting kit has been around for a long time to help train the palates of wine drinkers, the concept of a beer tasting kit is new," Lewis said in announcing the product, adding that his inspiration came as the result of using allergy medication for the first time "after having no real sense of smell my whole life, a result of living in Houston.

"I was brewing a batch of homebrew and trying to explain to my wife how hops affect the beer's flavor. In frustration I pulled the remaining bits of hops out of my fridge and told her to take a sniff and taste the beer. She complied and looked at me with a somewhat exasperated look on her face and said 'Why didn't you just say to do this to begin with?' I then took a smell myself and realized that the essence of the beer had never come through so clearly to me before because I could finally smell for the first time in my life. That's when I realized that everyone should be able to experience what I was experiencing."

Lewis claims that the kit was designed with "all levels of beer enthusiasts in mind, from the most seasoned home brewer to the certified beer judge. There is always something more to learn about beer, which is the beauty of this tasting kit, something for every level of beer connoisseur. After all, is there anyone out there that can identify thirteen different hops by name? I sure as heck can't, but with this kit I can."--JACK CURTIN

September 25, 2007 - National Toast to Michael Jackson, Sunday, Sept. 30
Lovers of good beer (hopefully many Beer Yard customers among them) will raise a glass to Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter, at 9pm EDT this Sunday as part of a national Toast. The event will raise money for the Parkinson Foundation in Jackson's name.

The famed beer and spirits writer died unexpectedly at his home in London earlier this month. He had been battling Parkinson's Disease for two decades.

The Toast will be celebrated in this area at these locations:

Monk's Café
Nodding Head
Grace Tavern
The Belgian Café
Tria
Standard Tap
Johnny Brenda's
Grey Lodge Pub
The Drafting Room Taproom & Grill
(both locations)
Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery
Union Jack's Inn on the Manatawny
Stewart's Brewing Company
Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats

Participating establishments will donate some or all of their proceeds for the evening, pass the hat, have auctions and raffles and and offer various other activities to raise money for the Parkinson Foundation. --JACK CURTIN

September 19, 2007 - Investors Take Over Pittsburgh Brewing, Rename It Iron City Brewing
Can an infusion of money and management from new owners and a name change to reflect its most popular product turn around the nearly two year bankruptcy disaster that was Pittsburgh Brewing Company?

A group of investors headed by Connecticut businessman John N. Milne believe it can happen. They formally took control of the 146-year-old Lawrenceville brewery late yesterday afternoon, "promising to invest $4.1 million to modernize the plant and renew the appeal of Iron City and two affiliated brands, IC Light and Augustiner," according to Pittsburgh Brewing was forced into bankruptcy in December 2005 when the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority threatened to terminate service because of more than $2 million in unpaid bills. It had posted operating losses of $1.2 million over the three years prior to bankruptcy, losses continued during its bankruptcy, with the brewery losing $3 million last year on sales of $24.5 million.--JACK CURTIN

September 14, 2007 - Budweiser To Buy Budweiser? It Seems More Likely Than Ever
The rumors have been floating for some time, ever since the government of the Czech Republic announced that it wanted to privatize Budejovicky Budvar, the brewers of Budweiser, the European version.

Now London's Financial Times reports that those rumors are more likely to be true than ever and that the American Budweiser is in talks with the Czech government about making a deal.

"Anheuser-Busch is the most likely buyer for state-owned Czech brewer...if the latter is privatized, according to two sector bankers," The Times wrote last week. "Heineken of the Netherlands is also likely to make an offer...+both bankers said, but would probably not accept the same high multiples as A-B would on a deal."

Some estimates are the A-B would pay in excess of $550 million for the Czech company. That's a premium price but part of the reason A-B might go so high is that it would save an estimated $25 million annually in legal costs in the two brewers' ongoing battle over trademark rights to the name "Budweiser" around the world. That $25 million figure is "more than the net income of Budejovicky Budvar." according to some financial analysts.

Heineken's interest, in addition to thwarting A-B's exclusive claim to its brand name around the world, stems from the company's desire to expand its presence in Eastern Europe and fill out its portfolio. The Czech Budweiser brand has about 7% of the nation's market and has proven export potential.

A third major suitor, Belgian brewer InBev, has said that it is unlikely to enter the bidding. One of the two bankers around whose opinions the Times' story was built, said that Budvar is "a nice company, but rather small" for the world's largest brewer.

Budvar is currently being converted into a joint-stock company under a privatization process overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture rather than brewery management. Company sources had no comments on the potential purchasers but brewmaster Joseph Tovar acknowledged that "Anheuser-Busch has a strong interest in Budvar."

Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch acquired the distribution rights to Budvar ("Czechvar") in the U.S., sparking the first stories that the two companies might settle their decades long dispute the old-fashioned way, with one of them acquiring the other.--JACK CURTIN

September 13, 2007 - EU Agrees To Allow British Pint To Remain
A man has got to be able to get his pint. That's almost a religious conviction in England and Ireland.

On Tuesday, the staid and officious European Commission agreed. The body ,which had previously said that milk in returnable bottles and beer and cider on draught would have to be sold in metric units as of 2009, reversed its position in response to "public hostility."

The revised decision "honors the culture and traditions of Great Britain and Ireland, which are important to the European Commission," EU Enterprise Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said in a statement.--JACK CURTIN

September 05, 2007 - Sunday Bike Race In Allentown Will Run Right Through New BrewWorks Pub
You've probably heard a lot of things in brewpubs over the years, everything from "What's your sign?" " to "Want to come back to my place and see my maltings?"

One thing you probably never heard was "Look out! Bikers coming through!"

Visit Allentown BrewWorks this Sunday for Brunch and you just might be able to remove that small blight from your "things I heard" record.

From a story by Tim Blangger in this morning's Morning Call:

In what might be one of the more unusual firsts in bicycle racing, the inaugural edition of the Tour de Brew, one of the nine races Sunday in downtown Allentown, includes a mountain bike-only event where the course flows through the new Allentown Brew Works, a brew pub and restaurant.

The eight other races, including a series of fun street sprints for children, take place on the streets outside the Brew Works, and are designed for road bicycles.

But for the day's final race, the Fat Tire Crit (short for "criterium," a multi-lap race on a closed course) nine of the 15 laps will pass through the brewery, from back to front, past the brewery's bar area.

"I think this is probably the coolest idea that anyone has come up with yet," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski at a news conference held at the restaurant Tuesday.

During one of the preliminary meetings, the organizing committee, which included representatives of the brew pub, an early sponsor of the race, spoke of a legendary mountain bike race in Colorado where the riders descend a set of outdoor stairs. Someone else jokingly suggested running the race through the brew pub, because the main circuit was already outside the business's front door.

"It was really serendipitous," said Michael Fegley, whose family owns and operates the pub and whose initial reaction to the idea was that it was crazy. "I looked at my brother Jeffrey and we said, 'Let's do it.'"

[ ... ]

The race will take place on the east side of the pub, Michael Fegley said. Spectators can sit on the west side of the restaurant, as well as in booths along the east wall, he said.

If Allentown BrewWorks is going to liven up the downtown section of the city as it's expected to do, it would appear that tthey are off to a great start.--JACK CURTIN
September 03, 2007 - Plans Underway for a "Toast To Michael Jackson" to Raise Funds To Fight Parkinson's Disease
A revamped Beer Hunter website has the most up-to-date information on the Michael Jackson Toast and will continue to be updated as the event moves toward reality.

[UPDATE 1- 1 Sep 07] It appears that the planners for a national "Toast to Michael Jackson" will most likely push things back from the original September 12 date, probably to September 30, to allow them more time to organize the event.

The new date would be one month from Jackson's death in London on this past Thursday.

[ORIGINAL STORY- 31 Aug 07]

Tom Peters of Monk’s Café has started a campaign to “raise a glass to our good friend Michael and raise some cash for the National Parkinson Foundation” with an email sent out last night to several beer industry movers and shakers. The proposal calls for “a national toast” on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 9PM Eastern Time (6pm West Coast) in honor of Michael Jackson, who died at his home in London yesterday.

Details are still in flux but the idea is to use that event and possibly some activity or a both during the Great American Beer Festival in Denver October 11-13 to raise funds for a major donation in Jackson’s name to the National Parkinson Foundation. Jackson announced last year that he was suffering from Parkinson’s but there is no indication yet as whether that contributed to his death.

More details as they become available.—JACK CURTIN

August 31, 2007 - Michael Jackson, 1942-2007
The death of British writer Michael Jackson early yesterday morning in his London home sent shockwaves through the beer community around the globe. The man who became known as "The Beer Hunter" was arguably the most important and surely the most influential individual in the modern day history of brewing.

Michael Jackson was born in Leeds, Yorkshire County, England on March 27, 1942. He always proudly referred to himself as "a Yorkshireman" and took great pride in his blue collar background. He had no formal training in journalism (nor brewing, for that matter) but began writing for the local newspaper at age 16 and "covered every type of story you can imagine." He moved on to the Independent and Observer in London as his career developed and began writing a beer column in the 1960s. "In the old days, journalists use to drink a huge amount of beer and that made us all experts," he once explained to a USA Today reporter.

Inspired by the development of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) in England, he began to treat writing about beer more seriously. He published his first book on the subject in 1976 and took on the mission of helping to revive or save beer styles that were disappearing and to inspire brewers and beer drinkers to learn and experiment. In the process, he developed a language for beer (patterned, he said, after what he'd seen his friend Hugh Johnson do for wine) which provided for describing the styles, flavors and basic characteristics of the beverage in all its manifestations.

Michael was de facto the first "beer writer," although he never used the term himself, always describing himself as "a journalist who writes about beer." At his 60th birthday party at the Brickskeller in Washington DC in 2002, he told this writer that "Expert on beer? There are people in this room who know more about the microbiology and biochemistry of brewing than I will ever know. I don't have the head to comprehend all sort of stuff. I'm just a writer."

"Just a writer" he most definitely was not. In fact, it is fair to say that not only all the writers who have (thanking him every step of the way) following in his footsteps, but also a myriad brewers, publicans and those enjoy the fruits of their labor owe an unmeasurable debt to the man.

He was a frequent visitor to the Philadelphia area (he came here 18 straight years to conduct his famed and hugely successful tutored tastings at the University of Pennsylvania Museum) and praised the city's beer scene effusively everywhere he went. The most accessible of celebrities, he happily met, chatted with and signed books for anyone who was interested and was readily approachable at beer events.

Michael's talks on beer were famous for his "digressions," wherein something he said or noticed keyed a recollection from his vast memory and he'd wander off topic during a presentation of Czech lagers to explain at great length true history of Good King Wenceslas or to recount a humorous personal anecdote. He turned that tendency into part of his persona. "I do tend to digress a lot," he explained more than once. "It's one of the benefits of beverage alcohol."

In a classic moment at a beer dinner at the Penn Museum a few years back, Michael was asked by a member of the crowd what the particular beer he was discussing might cost if purchased at retail. He held his glass up before his face and stared at it curiously. "You can pay for beer?" he said at last as the crowd broke out into uproarious laughter. It's a good bet that Michael Jackson hadn't paid for many beers over the past 30 years.

One last favorite story of this writer was one he told at a Monk's Cafe dinner, possibly even the most recent, and sadly last, one. He talked of being in Scotland and suddenly finding himself surrounded by a large group of young toughs, split equally between Catholics and Protestants. Each side was used to regularly whomping on the other and now they wanted to know where he fit in so that it could be determined which group would whomp him. "But I am Jewish," Michael protested. The lads were nonplussed until one finally brightened and asked, "Yes, but are you Catholic Jewish or Protestant Jewish?"

There's a good, brief obituary by Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell to be found here and one from the UK here. There is also a Brewers Association Memorial Page online. Reminiscences of Michael Jackson by local beer writers are here and here.--JACK CURTIN

August 28, 2007 - Jose Pistolas, a Tex-Mex Craft Beer Bar, To Open In Philadelphia Tomorrow
Jose Pistolas, a new center city bar which will feature a Tex-Mex menu and craft beers, is opening in the former location of Copa Too! at 263 South 15th Street in Philadelphia tomorrow evening.

Following a "friends & family" session from 3 - 8pm, the bar will be opened to the pub from 8pm - 2am.

Jose Pistolas is named for one of the partners, Joe Gun, and is owned by Gun and Casey Parker, both of whom worked at Fergie's Pub for several years. Casey also worked at the Khyber and was the bar manager at Royal Tavern.

Jose Pistolas will have 12 taps and the opening lineup will include Sly Fox Oktoberfest (on the handpump!) along with several other local favorites. There will be 100 bottles in stock for the opening, with a strong focus on Belgians. The owners say that all the staff has gone through beer training.

A "kitchen-crafted" menu will feature burritos, tacos, nachos and other traditional Tex-Mex items.

The former Copa Too! holds a notable place in the history modern day Philadelphia craft beer. It was where bar manager Tom Peters poured the first Belgian draft beer in the United States, 18 kegs of Kwak in the summer of 1995, and where he and beer promoter Jim Anderson conducted a major festival with 14 Belgians on tap, many for the first time ever, in the spring of 1996.

Peters and Fergus Carey, who was a bartender next door at McGlinchy's first met at Copa Too! as well. Carey created Fergie's Pub soon thereafter and the pair went on to create Monk's Cafe in 1997 as well as the soon-to-open Belgian Cafe in the Art Museum area and Grace Tavern in Grey's Ferry. They also helped open Nodding Head, the popular center city brewpub, and have ownership in The Anderson, a hotel in Scotland noted for its collection of Belgian brews.--JACK CURTIN

August 26, 2007 - At Victory, Fresh Hops And A Hammer Turning To Thunder
For the third straight year, Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company has acquired freshly-harvested hops from the Pederson Farm in upstate New York to brew its seasonal Harvest Pils and Harvest Ale. A refrigerated truck filled with fresh Mt. Hood, Hallertau and Cascade hops arrived at brewery at 5pm this past Friday.

Fresh-hop "Harvest" ales were, for the most part, only a West Coast tradition until Victory first made arrangements with the Pederson folks to bring in their crop for a new Harvest Pils in 2005. Last year, the Harvest Ale was added.

According to a report circulated on the internet by Victory insider Richard Ruch, "one 25-bbl batch of Harvest Ale was brewed with the Cascade hops. The Mt Hood and Hallertau hops were used to make one 50-bbl batch of the Harvest Pils. Ron [Barchet]was hoping to make at least to two 50-bbl batches of the Harvest Pils and one 50-bbl batch of the Harvest Ale, but the overall hop harvest this year was smaller than expected due to an extended dry period this summer."

The beers are draught-only products and the Harvest Ale should be available at the Victory brewpub on or before the September 29 Victory Fall Fest, Ruch said, while the The Harvest Pils will be ready by mid-October, perhaps a bit earlier.

Earlier last week, local beer writer Lew Bryson announced at his blog, Seen Through a Glass, that the popular Baltic Porter from the now closed Heavyweight Brewing Company in New Jersey which was known as "Perkuno's Hammer" has been reinterpreted and reformulated by Victory and will be released on October 15 in a under the name "Baltic Thunder."

Perkuno's Hammer was created by Heavyweight founder and brewer Tom Baker with Bryson's participation. After Baker and wife/partner Peggy Zwerver shut down their brewery last summer to pursue plans to open a brewpub, Baker was approached by Victory about their bringing it back under an agreement with him. The beer was scheduled to be released this last spring but has been detained because of a legal squabble over the rights to distribute that label. The renaming and reformulation solved that issue.

Baltic Thunder will be packaged in 750ml bottles and available on draught at the Victory brewpub year-round. --JACK CURTIN

August 15, 2007 - Victory Brewing Signs Six-Year Contract With German Hops Farmer
Downingtown's Victory Brewing Co. appears to be a step ahead of the pack in facing up to the hops issues confronting craft brewers as a result of a poor growing season in Europe last year and the fire in a Yakima, Wash, warehouse which destroyed four percent of the U.S. crop.

Greg Kitsock's biweekly beer column in the Washington Post reports this morning that Victory has signed a contract with a German hops farmer to buy one-third of his annual crop of Tettnang hops for the next six years.

Victory brewmaster and CEO Ron Barchet told Kitsock that Tettnang hops are a key ingredient in the brewery's flagship Prima Pils and will also be used to make its draught only, single-hop Braumeister Pils now and again. The story also said that Victory will once again brew its Harvest Pils and Harvest Ale this fall using unprocessed, fresh from the fields hops from Pederson Farm in upstate New York.

On a less happy note, Barchet acknowledged that the long-term trend is for hops prices to continue to rise, making quality beers more expensive to produce, a trend that will ultimately affect the cost of a pint at the bar or a case off the retail shelves. ""Hop brokers are making brewers sign five-year contracts at higher prices," he told Kitsock. "Add to that the possible effects of global warming on the hop crop, and you can see why we're all over a barrel."--JACK CURTIN

August 15, 2007 - Craft Beer Surge Continues In First Six Months of 2007
The Brewers Association released a report today which shows that the volume of craft beer sold in the first half of 2007 rose 11% compared to this same period in 2006 and dollar growth increased 14%. For the first time ever craft beer has exceeded more than a 5% dollar share of total beer sales.

"Overall," the report said, "the U.S. beer industry sold one million more barrels in the first half of 2007 compared to 2006, with 400,000 of these new barrels produced by craft breweries. This equates to 3.768 million barrels of craft beer sold in the first two quarters of 2007 compared to 3.368 million barrels sold in the first half of 2006."

Scan data from Information Resources, Inc. provide additional data points showing the strength of the craft segment. Sales in supermarkets channel through mid-July showed a 17.4% increase in dollar sales compared to the same period in 2006, a higher growth rate than shown in any other beverage alcohol category.

BA also made note of strong media coverage for craft beers in the first half of 2007 and the latest Gallup poll on alcohol beverages, which showed that beer beat out wine for America's beverage of choice for the second straight year.

Graphs based on information in the report can be seen here.--JACK CURTIN

August 14, 2007 - Investors Agree To purchase River Horse Brewing
River Horse Brewing Company of Lambertville, NJ, is being bought by a Philadelphia-based private investment group led by Glenn Bernabeo and Chris Walsh, both former Directors and Partners at SSG Capital Advisors, L.P. with 10-plus years of capital markets experience including mergers and acquisitions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bernabeo and Walsh will assume control of the company and expand operations. River Horse founders Tim and Jim Bryan will remain with the company. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals from the State of New Jersey and both parties expect that it will be finalized in the next few months.

"This agreement is all about expansion," said Bernabeo in the news release. "We have been watching the brewing sector closely for some time now and the landscape has fundamentally changed. Consumer tastes and preferences are rapidly shifting toward premium beer products much like they have in the wine and spirits market several years ago. The timing couldn't be better for us to get involved and help take River Horse to the next level."

Tim Bryan was quoted as saying "this is a great positive step forward for River Horse that helps to safeguard our future and realize our full potential. Glenn and Chris have a strong track record for building strong and successful companies, so we couldn't be happier to have them join us in our ongoing quest to produce the perfect glass of beer."

River Horse Brewing Company is located in a former cracker factory along the banks of the Delaware River in Lambertville and was founded in 1996 by Jim, John and Tim Bryan. River Horse beer is distributed in nine states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia and Massachusetts.--JACK CURTIN

August 14, 2007 - Shuttered Independence Brew Pub Is Gone For Good
When a "closed temporarily" sign went up on the doors of the Independence Brew Pub in center city Philadelphia last Friday, beer industry insiders were quick to tell anyone who asked that they could ignore the second word on that notice.

In his "Dan About Town" column in this morning's Philadelphia Daily News, Dan Gross confirmed that the shuttering is permanent, as had been reported on several beer-oriented website over the weekend. The closing was originally reported by beer writer Don Russell on joesixpack.net on Friday and appears to be a combination of severe delinquency in rent payments ("the rent dispute dates back nearly five years," Gross wrote) and the possibility of a new tenant.

The brewpub's site at the Reading Terminal Market, right across from the Convention Center, has had, at best, a checkered past. The pub was originally built by Red Bell Brewing Company, which never got to operate due to a dispute with its financial partner, GS Capital. A new partnership team comprised of some of the people who had purchased the Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant in 1998 moved into the site in 2000 beginning a weird process which involved both the defunct Independence Brewing Company the soon-to-be defunct Poor Henry's/Ortlieb Brewing Company and a proposed but never implemented name change to the Reading Chop House in 2002.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that there is at least one potential tenant interested in the site at present, one who will most likely not run the business as a brewpub. In fact, the small brewhouse in the current setup is not adequate for the site and the large tourist crowd it potentially attracts, a built-in design flaw resulting from Red Bell's original plan to bring in most of the beer from its Brewerytown brewery.--JACK CURTIN

August 13, 2007 - Charlie Papazian Receives Strauss Award From The Museum of Beer & Brewing
Charlie Papazian, President of the Brewers Association and the father figure of contemporary American homebrewing, received the Karl M. Strauss award for Outstanding Achievement in the Beer and Brewing Industry on Friday, August 10, from the Museum of Beer and Brewing. The award is presented annually to recognize a person's outstanding and significant deeds in the brewing industry.

The award was presented to Papazian at the annual Karl M. Strauss Banquet held Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin by Beer and Brewing Museum President Jim Haertel. 80 brewers, beer enthusiasts and members of the allied trade gathered attended. The presentation was part of the kickoff for the Great Taste of the Midwest, a national beer festival held each year in Wisconsin.

"I feel very fortunate to have known Karl Strauss, whom I met for the first time in 1984 while giving a homebrewing and microbrewing presentation to Master Brewers Association of the Americas District Milwaukee. He will always be remembered as a friend to brewers, beer and brewing," Papazian said upon receiving the award. "To receive the Karl M. Strauss award is an experience I will always remember. It inspires me to pursue the values which were so important to Karl."

The award is named in honor of the late Karl Strauss of Karl Strauss Brewing Company in San Diego. Strauss was known not only as an exceptional master brewer, but as an inspirational teacher, leader and enthusiast of everything beer. Over his life Strauss brewed more than seven billion servings of beer. He was a founder the Museum of Beer and Brewing and is a past president of the Master Brewers Association of America.

Papazian founded the Association of Brewers in 1978 to serve the needs of both homebrewers and professional brewers. AOB merged into the Brewers Association in 2005. He is the author of five books on homebrewing and beer, including the million-copy selling The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.--JACK CURTIN

August 08, 2007 - Philadelphia Superior Court Vacates Order Denying Kunda Watson Injunction Against Yards Brewing
In a 3-2 decision released today, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania vacated and remanded an earlier Trial Court judgment which denied a Watson-Kunda request to obtain a preliminary injunction to stop Yards Brewing Company from self-distributing its beers and acknowledge the sale of the rights to distribute the brand as part of the acquisition of Edward I. Friedland Distribution Inc. last year.

The decision remands the dispute to the Trial Court and instructs it to conduct "proceedings consistent with this memorandum."

The court held that the agreement signed between Friedland and Yards in 1995 which "named Friedland as the exclusive distributor in certain Pennsylvania counties for beer manufactured by Yards" remained in effect at the time of the sale.

When Friedland informed Yards of the intended sale in 2005, and following meetings among Friedland, Yards and Kunda, the decision notes that

Eventually, before the consummation of the sale, Yards sent a letter to Friedland purporting to cancel Friedland’s distributorship in thirty days. Before the thirty-day period expired, Friedland and Kunda closed on their agreement of sale.

Kunda notified Yards that Kunda had completed the acquisition of Friedland’s assets. Moreover, Kunda placed its first order with Yards. Yards refused to fill the order, maintaining it had terminated Friedland’s distributorship before the sale to Kunda.

Thereafter, Kunda, as successor to Friedland, filed an action against Yards and sought a preliminary injunction to stop Yards’ purported termination of the distributorship.

The trial court blocked that injunction but today's decision remands that decision and reinstates Kunda's request for an injunction.

In his dissent, Judge Lalley-Green wrote that

While the majority sets forth a persuasive rationale for its result, I respectfully dissent. As the majority's memorandum makes clear, we must affirm the trial court's denial of an injunction so long as the record reflects “apparently reasonable grounds” in support of that decision.... The majority concludes that the word "exclusive" is sufficiently clear to demonstrate that Yards intended to designate Friedland as its "primary or original" distributor within the meaning of § 4-431(d)(5), and that the parties' conduct to the contrary does not trump the contractual language.

While I believe that this case presents a close question, I am unable to conclude that no "apparently reasonable grounds" exist to support the trial court’s decision....Since the conduct of Yards and Friedland seemingly evinces a lack of intent to designate Friedland as a "primary or original distributor," I would conclude that the record reflects reasonable grounds in support of the trial court's decision.

The decision comes on the heels of the split between Yards founder and president Tom Kehoe and partners Nancy & Bill Barton which was formalized last Thursday.

Kehoe received sole ownership of the Yards brand and recipes under that agreement while the Bartons kept the Kensington brewery and announced they were forming a new company, Philadelphia Brewing, to make beer there after Yards leaves at the end of the year, or soon. Kehoe has said has said he will build a new brewery, "hopefully in Philadelphia."

Whether this decision will have any impact on the split remains to be seen. Based upon the facts that the Bartons are no longer involved with Yards, the court battle now appears to be Kehoe's problem exclusively.

The court papers were emailed to this writer this evening in accord with an earlier request made to one of the parties involved.--JACK CURTIN

August 08, 2007 - Julius Hummer Is New Dock Street Brewer
Rosemarie Certo, owner of the new Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant in West Philadelphia, told the Beer Yard this morning that a brewmaster has been chosen after a long search.

"His name is Julius Hummer. He's scheduled to arrive this afternoon after driving cross country from Boulder, Colorado," she said early this morning.

Hummer, whose father created Boulder Brewing in 1978, has brewed at several breweries on the West coast, including Fish Brewing in Olympia, Wash. and Newport Beach Brewing in Newport Beach Brewing Co. in Newport, Cal. He holds a M.S. in brewing science from the British School of Malting & Brewing, University of Birmingham.

"Its the East meets West thing that we are excited about," said Certo, "We're looking for Julius to both carry on our great tradition and to bring a new dimension to what we do. The original Dock Street was cutting edge back in '80s and '90s and we want to continue to push the boundaries in this new century."

Scott Morrison, formerly the head brewer at the local McKenzie Brew House chain, built the brewhouse for the new pub and brewed their first round of beers this summer. Dock Street is scheduled to open later this month.--JACK CURTIN

August 06, 2007 - Bartons Formally Announce Yards Separation, Formation of Philadelphia Brewing Company
In a news release sent out late tonight, Nancy and Bill Barton, who resigned from Yards Brewing in July and formalized their separation from the company on August 2, formalized their intentions of creating Philadelphia Brewing Company and continuing to make beer at their Kensington Brewery, together with "long-time partner Jim McBride."

"}We sold the name 'Yards",' not the heart and soul of the operation," Bill Barton was quoted as saying in the release.. "We'll continue to do what we did with Yards, with new brand names. We remain devoted to serving our food and beverage industry customers and beer lovers everywhere."

Nancy Barton was quoted as saying that "we remain committed to quality beer, our employees, and to making Philadelphia a great city through community involvement."

The Barton release confirmed the basic arrangement which had been earlier released by Tom Kehoe, founder and president of the Yard brand, saying "Yards Brewing Co. will rent the Kensington brewery from the Bartons and McBride until it relocates. Once Philadelphia Brewing Co. is licensed, full brewing, bottling, and distribution operations will commence under the new name."

Over the weekend, Kehoe posted a message on BeerAdvocate.com which read, in part

The official separation happened on August 2nd and all "three" parties got what they wanted. The details are details. The big picture is Yards will be leaving It's lease early and moving to a new location (which I can't disclose now). And a new brewery will be formed at the former location. Philadelphia gets TWO breweries and we need more. Philly needs to take back the reputation it once had as the brewing center of the country.

Yards will be making it's fourth move in the city since it was a small 3 barrel brewery in Manayunk. We increased the size of the brewhouse to 30 barrels when we moved to Roxborough and kept it the same when we moved to Kensington but expanded the amount of fermentation to increase capacity. Each one of these brewhouses was designed by me to brew Yards. Now I am working on a new larger Brewhouse -- one that will be designed by brewery engineers to my specifications to produce Yards Beers. Yards brews (and the Yards drinking public) will benefit from the move by having Yards produce a better product and an increase in availability.

It is not clear at this time whether Kehoe's emphasis on "three" was a reference to McBride, who has not been mentioned in stories about the brewery separation previously, or some other party or parties.

The Barton news release goes on to say that

When the Bartons joined Tom Kehoe as partners in Yards in 1999, the company was struggling financially. The Bartons stabilized the business, quadrupled production, and anchored the community revival in Kensington with their restoration of the Weisbrod and Hess brewery complex.

"When we joined Yards, the company lacked direction and infrastructure," said Bill Barton. "We're extremely proud of the company's nine-year record of progress and growth. We could not have done it without our brewers, bottlers, drivers, and administrators. Over the years this team, along with valued friends of our operation, made engaging beer lovers in new ways and serving our bar and restaurant clientele a great pleasure for us."

There is no clear indication whether the current brewing, warehouse and delivery staffs will work for one party or the other, or both.

If all goes as planned and promised, it appears that Philadelphia, which has seen Yards as its only full-production brewery in the modern era, may have two breweries up and running in the relatively near future.--JACK CURTIN

August 04, 2007 - Rutherford Named Brewer At Iron Hill Lancaster, November Opening Planned
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant announced this week, as expected, that Paul Rutherford will be head brewer at its new restaurant in Lancaster.

The Lancaster site, which will open in November at 781 Harrisburg Pike, on Franklin and Marshall College’s campus, is the seventh Iron Hill location in the Delaware Valley. The others are in Newark and Wilmington, Del., and Media, West Chester, North Wales and Phoenixville, Penna.

Rutherford has worked with Iron Hill for the past three years and is currently an assistant to head brewer Larry Horwitz at North Wales. "Paul has a natural talent for brewing and has consistently delivered superb products since joining the company. We are lucky to have him on our team," says Mark Edelson, one of Iron Hill’s founding partners and Director of Brewing Operations.

Rutherford started out as a homebrewer in the late 1990 and decided to take what he learned as an amateur and parlay it into a career in 2003. He studied at Chicago’s Seibel Institute of Technology, including a stint at the institute's sister school in Munich, Germany, before joining Iron Hill at North Wales.

Built from the ground up, the Lancaster location will accommodate 300 guests and mirror the existing and very successful Iron Hill facilities. The restaurant section will feature rich mahogany paneling, corrugated copper walls, gray slate floors and wrought iron accents and serve an extensive menu of innovative American cuisine. The bar area will have alarge mahogany bar which will serve Iron Hill's beers, select wines by the glass and cocktails. Diners be able to watch Rutherford and his team create Iron Hill’s award-winning beers through a large plate glass wall.--JACK CURTIN

August 03, 2007 - Potential Victory Brewing Brewpub In Easton Gets Tentative Approval
The Easton city planning commission approved the plans for "Victory Square Brewing Co." to brew beer at the former Pomeroy's building on the 300 block of Northampton Street this week.

The approval on Wednesday night is only a recommendation to the city's zoning hearing board, which has the final power to decide if the brewpub will actually be permitted.

According to a story by Jimmy P. Miller in yesterday's Easton Express-Times, "Victory Square co-owner Arthur Schmidt, who also co-owns the Farmhouse restaurant in Emmaus, got the planning commission's recommendation to use up to 1,500 square feet of space for the actual brewing -- not the serving or consuming -- of the beer.

Earlier news reports said that developer Lou Pektor and his Ashley Development Corporation are negotiating with Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company to operate the brewpub (See story below).

[ORIGINAL STORY - July 16, 2007]
Victory Brewing spokesperson Jacob Burns told the Beer Yard this morning that a story in yesterday's Easton Express-Times about negotiations in process for Downingtown's Victory Brewing Company to open a brewpub in that city are somewhat premature.

"Although the opportunity is still intriguing, we need to solidify a number of details before the project progresses," Burns said.

Express-Times staff writer Edward Sieger reported Sunday that developer Lou Pektor and his Ashley Development Corporation, which is converting the former Pomeroy's Department Store at 322-326 Northampton Street into condominiums and a brewpub, indicated in a zoning application approved earlier this month that the first floor will contain an 18,000 square-foot restaurant and pub. The story added that a sketch plan for the site which accompanied the zoning application referred to a "Victory Square" and quoted Pektor as saying "it's a great name for the Downtown."

"Arthur Schmidt, owner of The Farmhouse restaurant [site] in Emmaus, signed a lease with Ashley in February and is negotiating with Chester County-based Victory Brewing to operate the brewpub," Sieger wrote. Schmidt will appear before the Easton planning commission on August 1 to ask for a special exception to operate a brewpub on the premises and, if he is successful, will then have to appear before the zoning board.

Schmidt and his brother lease the Farmhouse restaurant site to award-winning owner/chef Michael Adams who is well-known in beer circles for his an annual series acclaimed beer dinners held there.

An inside source tells the Beer Yard that the negotiations have been going on for some time and that Pennsylvania LCB regulations could complicate the matter considerably. Schmidt and his brother have been interested in opening a brewpub in Easton "for years," the source said.

The second and third floors of the Easton site will include 26 condominiums, according to Sieger's story, with four lofts in a tower above its Pine Street entrance. The project is scheduled to be completed by spring of next year.--JACK CURTIN

August 02, 2007 - Boston Beer To Buy Brewery Outside Allentown Rather Than Build In Massachusetts
Boston Beer Company will not be building that new brewery in Freetown Mass, after all.

Instead, Boston Beer has come to an agreement with Diageo to buy the the brewery plant in Breinigsville which Diego has been using to make Smirnoff Ice for $55 million in deal set to close next spring and brewing to begin in the third or fourth quarter of 2008. The brewery is in the Lehigh Valley, about 60 miles from Philadelphia outside Allentown, and was a brew site for the Schaefer (who built in the 1970s), Pabst and Stroh brands in the past. Some Boston Beer beers were made there from 1994-2001 under the Pabst regime.

Boston Beer, makes of Samuel Adams, already has breweries in Boston and Cincinnati and this purchase will increase it's brewing capacity by approximately 1.6 million barrels of beer annually and thee is potential for expansion to over 2 million barrels at a minimum additional investment. "This agreement is a great opportunity to revitalize a classic brewery and restore its capability to brew our craft beers, which are increasingly in demand among beer drinkers nationwide," said Martin Roper, President & CEO of The Boston Beer Company, in a press release.

The agreement with Diageo provides that, upon the satisfactory completion of the due diligence, Boston Beer may begin work to upgrade the facility to brew Samuel Adams beers using the company's traditional four-vessel brewing process, extended aging times, proprietary yeasts and the world's finest, all- natural ingredients. The facility will remain in operation during this transition.

Boston Beer entered into an agreement last year which gave them an option to purchase a parcel of land in Freetown, Massachusetts as a site for the construction of a new brewery. Over the course of the last year, the company invested over $4 million in an exhaustive evaluation of the cost of constructing a new brewery. "Our decision to purchase this brewery, rather than build a new brewery in Freetown, was a difficult and complex one," said Roper. "A combination of rapidly escalating steel and copper costs, increased costs of European brewing equipment caused by the reduced value of the dollar, as well as other construction and production costs and our own growth, recently led us to look again at other existing breweries that we might be able to buy. Comparing the projected construction costs of a new brewery against the price of buying and renovating the Pennsylvania brewery, leads us to believe that this is the better long-term strategic decision for the Company." --JACK CURTIN

August 01, 2007 - New Tria Cafe Opens On Spruce Street
A second Tria location has opened at 1137 Spruce Street.

"We are extremely excited about opening Tria here," said owner Jon Myerow. "This neighborhood is home to a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene and is in close proximity to the city’s best theaters and hotels. Our philosophy is as straightforward as our menu. Without the distractions of cocktails or any hard liquor, we can focus on truly exceptional fermented products that are crafted by passionate artisans."

The original Tria opened at 123 South 18th Street in 2004, introducing itself as a locale dedicated to "the fermentation trio of wine, cheese and beer." The restaurant does so by presenting guests with an array of extraordinary wines from around the world, hand-crafted beers and exquisite artisanal cheeses. At the new location, that same approach will e followed and Makana Iqhilika, an herbal blossom mead from South Africa’s premier Meadery, has been added to the menu. Tria is the first restaurant in Pennsylvania to feature the one-of-a-kind beverage.

Similar to its predecessor, the new Tria, a 45-seat cafe, is open seven days a week from 4pm until midnight, In warmer weather, outdoor seating will be available for al fresco dining. --JACK CURTIN

July 30, 2007 - Yards Partners Split; Kehoe Keeps Yards Brand & Bartons To Form Philadelphia Brewing Co. [UPDATED]
Bill and Nancy Barton have established a website for Philadelphia Brewing Company where they write that they will begin making beer at the Kensington brewery once they have received all the necessary permits. The permit process is underway at the present time.

There is no word currently available about how this will affect Yards production; Tom Kehoe has said (see below) that he has a lease on the Amber Street facility through the end of this year.

The Bartons will leave Yards officially on Thursday as a final "split" agreement is signed.

[ORIGINAL STORY - 7/23/2007]
It has long been an open secret in Philadelphia beer circles that the operating partners involved in Yards Brewing, the city's only full-service brewery, have not been seeing eye-to-eye.

That matter has finally come to a head.

This is what founding brewer Tom Kehoe told The Beer Yard on July 17: "Rather than keep bumping heads, we've come to an agreement. Bill and Nancy {Barton] have left Yards Brewing Company as part of an arrangement which will close on August 2. I will keep the Yards name and the beers and they have given me a lease on the current building through the end of the year. At that time, I expect to have a new and better brewery set up, hopefully here in Philadelphia, and will move Yards there. Bill and Nancy will, as I understand it, then use the current building and brewing equipment to operate a brewery of their own."

All of the current brewing staff remain in place and the current self-distribution policy will continue, Kehoe said. Self-distribution began in 2006 when Yards refused to accept the transfer of the rights to its brands to Kunda Beverage, which had acquired Edward I. Friedland, the distributor from the summer of 1995 on. The brewery argued that it had always specified itself as its primary distributor. There is still a court case pending over that issue.

Yards Brewing was formed by Kehoe and then partner Jon Bovit in late 1994 and released its first beers in 1995. The debut of Yards ESA (Extra Special Ale) at the Philadelphia Craft Brew Festival in April of that year has been called the "ground zero" moment of Philadelphia craft brewing because of the excitement it created. Due to the limited supply the very small original brewery could produce, ESA became the city's cult favorite beer by summer. As publicans scrambled to get it for their customers, ESA became the primary impetus for a renewed popularity of handpumps and cask beers in the city and environs.

Bill and Nancy Barton became involved as co-owners in 2001 when financial problems developed after the brewery moved from its original Manyunk location into a larger site in the same section of the city and began packaging several of its beers. The move to the current Kensington site, once home to the historic Weisbrod & Hess brewery, occurred in early 2002.

ESA remains Yards flagship beer and a staple on handpumps in the region, but the brewery is probably just as well known today for its very popular Philadelphia Pale Ale and its "Beers of the Revolution," George Washington Tavern Porter. Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale and Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce, classic brews reproduced in partnership with City Tavern, the city's historic Colonial restaurant. Other packaged products include India Pale Ale, Love Stout and Saison.

The Beer Yard spoke with both Tom Kehoe and Bill Barton this afternoon. Kehoe confirms what he said as reported above; Barton says he will have no official comment until "the papers are all signed next Thursday. There is a signed agreement but the lawyers still have a lot of work to do."--JACK CURTIN

July 19, 2007 - Wisconsin Brewers Stage "Boston Tea Party" To Stall New Legislation
Wisconsin craft brewers’ version of the Boston Tea Party seems to have worked, at least for now.

A group of brewers blasted open barrels of beer on the docks of the Milwaukee last week to protest a proposed bill they said would create complications for startup breweries.

The measure would divide small breweries into two licensed classes - those who want to serve food as brewpubs and those who seek to bottle and distribute their product on a larger scale. Startups would have to immediately declare which class they were in.

The day after the protest, the bill was tabled by the Senate Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance.

"Every business takes on a life of its own," said Jim McCabe, proprietor of the Milwaukee Ale House. "For the guy that wants to start a brewery tomorrow, he's got to make decisions early in his business life that aren't possible." –JACK CURTIN

July 19, 2007 - Sierra Nevada To Release Its Anniversary Ale In Bottles For First Time
For the first time in its 27-year history, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will release its Anniversary Ale in bottles for distribution around the nation. For years, Anniversary Ale, produced intermittently when the brewing schedule permitted, has been available only at the brewery pub in Chico, California during the fall season when the company celebrates the anniversary of its founding in 1980.

"Ever since we put out our 25th Anniversary Ale in 2005, the demand to make this an annual beer has increased," said Sierra Grossman, the company's brand manager and daughter of founder and owner Ken Grossman. "Since we don't offer growlers at the brewery, people have been pretty frustrated over the years that they haven't been able to take any Anniversary Ale home."

The 2007 Anniversary Ale, according to a company news release, is an American style Pale Ale which features “prominent usage of Cascade hops”, the signature hop used in the flagship Sierra Pale Ale.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was founded in 1980 and is one of America's first microbreweries. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has been the number one selling craft beer brand in America for the past five years according to IRI scan data. Other beers the company makes include a Wheat, Porter and Stout year-round, a host of draft-only specialty beers and five seasonal beers.—JACK CURTIN

July 15, 2007 - Origlio Beverage Teams With Software Firm To Develop 4-Tier Distribution Model
Philadelphia's Origlio Beverage and Intervolve, Inc., a Raleigh, NC-based pioneer in providing on demand supply chain software using web and mobile technologies, have established a partnership to enhance Intervolve’s DistributionSuite program to support a 4-tier distribution model. The new web and mobile solution enables beverage wholesalers to gain a true picture of their distribution at retail across all channels, claimed an Intervolve press release last week.

Origlio Beverage is the largest wholesaler in the five-county Philadelphia area and one of the largest single-site beer wholesalers in the US.Grant Barrett, director of Brand Management & Business Development, said that "we sell as much as five million cases of beer per year indirectly. DistributionSuite is a great solution for us because it quickly provides us with retail intelligence that we can turn into actionable objectives, regardless of distribution channel. Intervolve simplifies a very complex problem for us and provides us with the flexibility we need in our market."

In a 4-tier distribution model, product is delivered from suppliers to distributors to sub-distributors to retailers. Distributing through sub-distributors, referred to as "indirect sales," is common in Pennsylvania and New York where malt beverage distributors sell a range of product volumes indirectly. Origlio Beverage distributes over 12 million cases of beer annually, with as much as 40% of their business being indirect. Many of the distributor’s transactions are with the sub-distributor and the company loses visibility into its true distribution. DistributionSuite reportedly solves this problem by, for example, combining invoice-level sales data with retail surveys on package distribution to create market intelligence quickly and accurately. Chris Newton, Intervolve Chairman and EVP, said, "By partnering with wholesalers such as Origlio, we continuously improve our software to solve wholesalers' most difficult business challenges. The 4-tier distribution model is exceptionally challenging for wholesalers since it obscures the complete distribution picture. Our new application makes it possible to follow product all the way through to retail, regardless of distribution, and is very easy to use."--JACK CURTIN

July 03, 2007 - Most U.S. Drinkers Say They Drink Responsibly In A New Survey
According to a new survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Anheuser-Busch which was released last week, 98 percent of Americans who drink (168 million adults) say they drink responsibly and in moderation.

This survey was conducted online between May 4-6, 2007 among 1,950 U.S. adults aged 21 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

The results of the study were posted online at Alcoholstats.com, websit of the Alcohol Awareness Research Library which highlights "research on drunk driving, underage drinking, alcohol abuse and responsible consumption, including independent university and government research."

Other data posted on the site indicates that 83 percent of adolescents (ages 12-17) and 72 percent of underage youth (ages 12-20) do not drink and that the percentage of college freshmen who reported drinking beer frequently or occasionally is at the lowest level since tracking began in 1966, 12 percent lower than in 2000 and down 43 percent since its peak in 1982. Additionally, the number of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes has declined 3 percent since 2000 and 39 percent since 1982 and t he drunk-driving fatality rate per billion vehicle miles traveled is at a record-low level - down 10 percent since 2000 and down 67 percent since 1982.--JACK CURTIN

July 03, 2007 - Weyerbacher Twelve, A Rye BarleyWine, To Ship Next Week
"Could it really be that Weyerbacher has gone where no brewer has gone before?" asked Dan Weirback early this morning, which means, of course, that he believes the answer is "yes."

He may be right.

In an exclusive interview with The Beer Yard, Weirback revealed that Weyerbacher Twelve, the Easton brewery's annual anniversary brew, is a Rye Barleywine with 50 percent of the mash being rye rather than the ten to 12 percent common to rye beers.

"Twelve is anything but ordinary," he said proudly. "Its been a real bitch to run-off and constantly gives us a stuck mash, but intelligence and perseverance have paid off. From the not so subtle tanginess the rye imparts, to the incredibly viscous body---it is perhaps the most viscous beer ever--to bubble-play and head retention that must be seen to be believed."

The anniversary brew, which will ship next week (12oz in Pennsylvania, 22oz in New Jersey, sixtels only for draught) is golden in color, "something of a surprise for a beer this rich in body," said Weirback.--JACK CURTIN

June 28, 2007 - Zymurgy Magazine Names DFH 90 Minute IPA Nation's "Best Commercial Beer"
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA has been named the "Best Commercial Beers in America" by Zymurgy, the journal of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), base on its annual reader survey. The Delaware brewery's 60 Minute IPA was in a six-way tie for fourth while Raison d'Etre and Worldwide Stout were among seven beers in the 27th position.

Victory Prima Pils finished in a tie with three other beers for 12th place in the voting and Troegs Nugget Nectar was in an 11-beer tie for 16th. One of those latter was Victory HopDevil and Victory Storm King was in an 11-beer grouping at 34. There were 61 beers in the total list, which can be found here.

All three breweries also made the top brewery rankings (26 breweries in all, with placement depending on the totals received by each beer in the rankings) with DFH ranked first, Victory tied with Rogue Ales for fifth place and Troegs tied for 19th with Unibroue and Great Lakes Brewing.

In the beer rankings, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stone Arrogant Bastard both tied for second. The six-way tie for fourth, in addition to the DFH 60 Minute, included Alaskan Smoked Porter, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Guinness Draught, North Coast Old Rasputin, Schneider Aventinus and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

Zymurgy has been conducting the annual survey for five years, inviting readers to send in a list of their twenty favorite commercially available beers in the U.S. More than 1,100 votes for 618 beers from 293 brewers around the world were received.--JACK CURTIN

June 17, 2007 - Brewers Association & National Beer Wholesalers Assoc. Will Honor Craft Beer Distributor Of The Year
The Brewers Association (BA) and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) announced the creation of the Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award on June 11.

The award will recognize the beer distributor in America who does the most to market, sell and promote craft beer in their market. A Craft Beer Distributor Achievement Award and Craft Beer Distributor Recognition Award will also be presented.

Nominations can be submitted between now and August 15 by craft brewers, beer distributors or representatives of NBWA and the BA. Winners will be announced on Saturday afternoon, October 13 at the Great American Beer Festival, hosted by the BA in Denver, Colorado, October 11-13, 2007.

NBWA President Craig Purser said that “beer distributors take great pride in is providing choice and variety in the marketplace. Craft beers have seen double-digit growth in sales each of the past several years. One reason for this is the quality of product they are offering the consumer; a second reason for their success is the first class distribution network America’s beer distributors provide their products. I am glad we will be recognizing some of the distributors who have gone above and beyond to help strengthen the craft beer segment.”

BA President Charlie Papazian noted that dedicated and educated distributors are essential to the continued success of the craft beer industry. "The availability of craft beers in America has created unprecedented added value for beer drinkers. Without the valuable service which beer distributors contribute to access to craft beer we wouldn’t be seeing the enthusiasm for the flavor and diversity of American beer."--JACK CURTIN

June 12, 2007 - Allentown Brew Works To Open Friday
Allentown Brew Works, a sister brewpub to Bethlehem Brew Works, will hold its grand opening celebration this Friday, June 16.

The four-year long project by the Fegley family, founders of BBW, is located at 8th and Hamilton in the heart of the Allentown business district and will serve as the corporate headquarters for both brewpubs. The pub's opening is expected to be a major step in the revitalization of the downtown area.

The 32,000 square foot site consists of three conjoined buildings with four floors of seating and two kitchens. The brewhouse is located in the front window on Hamilton Street, the area which also holds the manager and corporate offices. Behind the brewhouse is a 1,500 square foot courtyard for summer seating and to accommodate smokers (the entire facility is smoke free).

The first floor has the main bar with 12 taps which will pour house-brewed beers and two kitchens. The basement is home to the Silk lounge which will carry will over 100 bottled beers from around the world. The second floor, High Gravity, has a smaller bar and will specialize in high gravity bottled beers. There is a mezzanine overlooking the main bar and seven serving tanks and an atrium offers a view of the seven fermenters in the second floor windows.

A banquet facility with seating for up to 200 guests is located on the third floor. Called the Hamilton Room, it will be the site of a new beer festival this November.--JACK CURTIN

June 08, 2007 - And You Thought Gas Prices Were Giving You Agita....
In yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, it appears beer drinkers are about to discover that pints for their good spirits will be joining gallons for their automobiles as a strain on the old pocketbook. Oddly enough, the former issue is occurring as a direct result of the latter one.

In an interview which will appear in the craft beer industry trade magazine American Brewer this summer, professional futurist Eric Garland paints a startling scenario for the years ahead:

"Do concerns about global warming and emerging cafe fuel emissions standards have any effect on the beer industry? Well, in a global market, they certainly do...Grain prices are being affected by the increasing interest in ethanol, in the American grain belt, in Brazil, in Canada, everywhere. It may turn out to be more profitable for farmers to sell their wheat and barley crops to ethanol manufacturers than to the brewing industry. Candy manufacturers are already being hit with the rising cost of corn syrup as a result of ethanol's impact on the corn market...If the car industry decides every fuel must involve 14-25 percent ethanol by next year and 50 percent by the year 2017, the demand for grains will be immense..."

If you think that's just "the sky is falling!" rhetoric, think again: it's already happening in Germany.

According Associated Press reports, German farmers are abandoning barley to plant other crops subsidized for sale as environmentally-friendly biofuels. Over last two years, the price of barley doubled to $271 per ton as farmers planted more crops such as rapeseed and corn which can be turned into ethanol or biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil. Overall, the production of corn more than doubled while barley went down by 5.5 percent. Last year, the resultant meager barley harvest was compounded by crop diseases resulted in the doubling of the price of barley, which meant in turn that the price of barley malt has soared by more than 40 percent, according to the Bavarian Brewers' Association.

American brewers are starting to take notice. "Of course we are affected by the focus on ethanol production," Summit Brewing Co. President Mark Stutrud acknowledged to KARE 11 News in St. Paul last weekend. "Being in the brewing industry is becoming a little more expensive than what we thought of three years ago."

Not only did the price of barley malt increase 30 percent, Stutrud noted, but rising grain prices are just part of a large picture, pointing out that the price of hops jumped 40 percent and the cost of kegs has gone up 40 percent (for more on keg prices, see this Beer Yard news story).

Talk to the people [in South Dakota] and they'll tell you they want to be the Saudi Arabia of bio-fuels in another 30 years," Garland told American Brewer. "That suggests that one of the things that brewers need to be thinking about is finding some way to not be so dependent on raw material fluctuations or, longer term, to begin developing some acceptable substitutes for their basic ingredients."--JACK CURTIN

June 06, 2007 - Local Brewery Owner's New Company Will Manufacture Kegs For U.S. Market In China
Rising prices being paid for scrap metal--they're at an all-time high--have exacerbated a perennial problem for U.S. craft brewers: customers not returning kegs for which they have paid, at best, a minimal deposit. These days, they're selling them for scrap at an average cost of $22, more than double the average $10 deposit they originally paid.

Missing or stolen kegs add to the pressure created by the steady growth of craft brewing over the last four years, which has resulting in a particular need for the 1/6 keg size, both by the breweries themselves and from bars and restaurants which are adding larger draught capacity and want quicker turn-over. And, smaller breweries move into new and more distant markets, the number of kegs they own which are in distribution means they must purchase more to maintain current markets. Some estimates suggest that every keg shipped out requires at least one, and probably two, in inventory to avoid running short.

Cooperage costs for U.S. brewers have also been affected by the withdrawal of Spartanburg Stainless, the South Carolina-based keg manufacturer which was the country's largest supplier, from the market in 2006, in order to concentrate its efforts on its core business. That loss was only temporary--the Spartanburg keg division was acquired by the Franke Group last November and will return to the market this summer--but did mean that most kegs for the U.S. market had to be imported from Europe for the last several months.

Considering that current prices for new kegs run somewhere around $110 for sixtels up to $150 or more for halves, all this is no small matter, for both the large national breweries as well as the crafts.

Some craft brewers have tried to deal with the problem by raising the deposit required for direct rental at the brewery as high as $100 per keg, an increase not met with great delight by consumers. And it is only a partial solution at best, since kegs sold through retail outlets are still sold at no more than $30 deposit rates, and usually at the standard $10, an amount not large enough to deter theft, whether to sell as scrap or use as a college dorm room coffee table.

One local brewery owner has decided to take matters into his own hands. John Giannopoulos, managing partner of Sly Fox Brewing, with a brewpub in Phoenixville and a production brewery and restaurant in Royersford, has formed a partnership which will begin manufacturing 1/6, tall quarter and half kegs (with a promise of firkins in the future) in China this summer, with the first products expected by Fall.

"I have 12 years experience as a manufacturer's rep sourcing both plastic and metal component parts and products out of China," Giannopoulos said in a story posted on the Sly Fox website. "We see ourselves as an alternative source for both the mainstream brewers and for smaller craft breweries, for whom we will offer the opportunity to purchase smaller quantities at fair and reasonable prices."

The new company, Geemacher LLC, was launched at the Craft Brewers Conference held in Austin, Texas, in April and is a partnership between Giannopoulos and Christian Messmacher. Kegs will be produced at an ISO-9200 certified stainless steel manufacturer in Penglai, located in northern China. Geemacher will maintain an inventory of unembossed kegs in the U.S. to handle lower minimum orders and is developing a processing for embossing those locally.--JACK CURTIN

May 29, 2007 - Local Beer Icon Vince Rapinesi Dead At 82
Vince Rapinesi, whose Springfield Beer Parts was something close to the Holy Grail for local brewers and publicans for decades, died this weekend. He was 82.

The news was reported today on the website of Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, the award-winning beer columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

"Vince was a real, living, breathing icon," said Beer Yard owner Matt Guyer. "Everybody knew him and he was responsible for repairs and maintenance for most of the beer lines in the area, public and private."

Amazingly, as Russell reported in a 2001 column, Rapinesi never tasted a single drop of beer in his long life devoted to making it taste right for the rest of us. That column began like this:

Vince Rapinesi is responsible for more good-tasting beer in this town than anyone else alive, and get this: He's never had even a single sip.

He's been in the beer business since the mid-'40s, when he worked at his parents' distributorship at 59th and Springfield in Southwest Philadelphia. Those were the days before forklifts, when men hoisted wooden kegs on their backs and finished off the day with nickel mugs.

Or, as Vince says, "When men were men, and kegs were full barrels, not these half-kegs they've got today. "

But this story is not about hauling kegs. It's about fixing 'em.

Vince Rapinesi is the city's best keg repairman.

You can read the entire column here.

There will be a Viewing for Rapinesi on Thursday between 7-9pm Thursday at Donohue Funeral Home, 8401 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby. There will be an 11am Mass on Friday at St. Katherine of Sienna, 9700 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia.--JACK CURTIN

May 26, 2007 - House Small Brewers Caucus Formed By Congress
A new Congressional Caucus for America's small brewers held its inaugural meeting Tuesday, May 15 in Washington, DC, just prior to the official American Craft Beer Week reception held on Capitol Hill by the Brewers Association.

The Caucus is co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Greg Walden (R-Oregon) and is ccomposed of 34 Members of Congress who share an interest in the issues of importance to America's small brewers. Congressman Walden stated that the primary mission of the Caucus is to provide an interactive opportunity to learn about the dynamics of running a small business as a brewery, the brewing process itself and the quality and value of the beer and brewing activities. Several other attendees spoke briefly, among them Congressman DeFazio, a homebrewer and a primary sponsor and leader in the successful effort to pass House Resolution 753 of 2006 commending American craft brewers and recognizing the first American Craft Beer Week.

Immediately following the Caucus meeting, the doors of the House Agriculture Committee Hearing Room were thrown open to welcome Members of Congress, Congressional staffers and specially invited guests to the second annual American Craft Beer Week Reception. Attendees (more than double the number in 2006) were provided with a program of suggested beer and food pairings. Twenty-three Ba member breweries provided beer for the reception, allowing attendees to choose between 19 distinct styles, all complementing a selection of artisan cheeses and chocolates on-hand.

Members of the House Small Brewers Caucus from this region are Rep. Charles Dent (R-Pa), Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-NY), Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa), Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-NY), Rep.Phil English (R-Pa), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.)and Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).--JACK CURTIN

May 25, 2007 - The Lion Creates All-Malt Steg 150 To Mark Stegmaier's 150th Anniversary
The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre will mark its Stegmaier brand's 150th Celebration on June 2 with the introduction of Steg 150, "a classic Vienna lager in the tradition of Charles Stegmaier yet suited for the discriminating tastes of today." The anniversary event will take place at the brewery on June 2.

Steg 150 is, according to a brewery release, "a 100% Natural All-Malt Lager made with only malt, hops, yeast and water and containing no adjuncts whatsoever." The reddish-amber beer is brewed with Vienna and Munich malts and German noble hops. "Steg 150 is by far one of the best all-malt lagers ever brewed," claimed Chuck Lawson, president and CEO of The Lion. "It is bound to become a staple in not only local establishments, but households, gatherings and social events as well."

The classic Stegmaier Crest has been modified "to illustrate innovation and progression emerging from tradition," a brewery spokesperson said. "The evolution of the Steg 150 logo symbolizes the evolution of the Stegmaier brand and a dedication to the proud traditions based on the foundation laid by Charles Stegmaier in 1857." The brewery noted that Stegmaier's evolution is also seen in the Stegmaier line of Rotating Seasonal Beers: Stegmaier Brewhouse Bock, Stegmaier Midsummer White, Stegmaier Oktoberfest and Stegmaier Holiday Warmer.

Steg 150 will be available year round in 6-packs and 24 count cases and on draught.--JACK CURTIN

May 23, 2007 - Former Rolling Rock Brewery Begins Producing Samuel Adams Beers
The former Latrobe Brewing Co. plant in western Pennsylvania began making beer again this week, following nearly a year of inactivity after the building, which produced Rolling Rock for more than 65 years, stood silent after Anheuser-Busch purchased the brand and moved its production to Newark, NJ.

City Brewing Co. of Lacrosse, Wis., purchased the plant last year and signed a deal with Boston Beer Co. of Massachusetts in April to brew its Samuel Adams beers for East Coast distribution. On Monday, the first steps were taken in a four-week process before the first batch of those beers will flow into kegs. When everything is up and running fully, the plant will produce about 2,000 half barrels of Samuel Adams beer daily, according to plant manager Kevin Morgan. He added that the bottling line will start up in June and that the brewery plans to bottle about one-and-a-half times as much beer as it sell in barrels.

Boston Beer will invest $3 million to $7 million to upgrade the plant, to accommodate its brewing processes, proprietary yeasts and extended aging time of its beer. The brewery, located in Westmoreland County about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, has the capacity to produce 1.2 million barrels annually. There are currently 47 employees on site; that number will increase to between 60 and 80 when bottling begins.--JACK CURTIN

May 17, 2007 - Craft Beers Maintain Steady Growth In Supermarkets
More evidence of the strength of craft beer sales across the board came in the form in beer sales statistics released by Nielsen this week.

The craft segment picked up sixth-tenths of a point of case share in supermarkets during the four weeks ending May 5. More importantly, craft brands continued a supermarket growth trend that has been maintained for more than three years.

The increase was let by Boston Beer, the biggest craft brewer, which gained a tenth of a point during the period.

Import share, which grew the most last year due in large part to the launch of Heineken Premium Light, was static during the period, according to the Nielsen figures, and the the two biggest imports, Corona Extra and Heineken, either lost ground or stayed flat.--JACK CURTIN

May 17, 2007 - American Craft Brewers Win 55 Medals Down Under
Deschutes Brewery of Bend,Oregon won the International Malting Company Trophy for Champion Large International Brewery and its Obsibian Stoout took the Veolia Environmental Services Trophy for Champion Stout to lead 19 American craft brewers to an impressive performance at the 2007 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).

The ABIA is held in Melbourne each year and is Australia's most prestigious beer event. This year there were 941 entries from 39 countries, including the US entries as part of the Brewers Association Export Development Program.

American craft breweries brought home 9 gold medals, 24 silver medals and 22 bronze medals. Both Deschutes and Sprecher Brewery were acknowledged as the highest gold medal winners by class — Deschutes for Obsidian and their Black Butte Porter and Sprecher Brewing Company for Sprecher Imperial Stout. Deschutes won a total of 11 medals overall.

A complete list of medal winners is available here.

May 17, 2007 - Three Maine Breweries Earn Top Honors On West Coast
"Go West, young man" was the advice for adventuresome Americans who wanted to make their marks in the 19th century and on May 19, three Maine breweries will receive tangible proof that such wisdom also has its place in the modern world.

Sea Dog Brewing Company, Shipyard Brewing Company and Allagash Brewing Company all won top awards in the prestigious 7th annual West Coast Brew Fest Commercial Craft Competition and will receive their ribbons this weekend in Sacramento.

Sea Dog won first place for its Hazelnut Porter in the Porter category and third place with Sea Dog Apricot among Fruit Beers, while Shipyard earned three prizes, a first for Chamberlain Pale Ale and a second for Old Thumper in the English Pale Ale category (which Old Thumper won in 2004) and third for Shipyard Winter Ale (Red Ale). Alan Pugsley oversees the brewing for both companies.

Allagash took first for Allagash White in the Witbier competition.

A complete list of winners is here.--JACK CURTIN

May 09, 2007 - The Lion Will Celebrate Stegmaier's 150th Anniversary on June 2
All those ten and twenty year anniversary celebrations that the craft beer industry has been celebrating over the last 18 months or so?

Not all that big a deal from the perspective of The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre.

The Lion will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its Stegmaier brand on Saturday, June 2, from 11am to 9pm, Chuck Lawson, Lion Brewery president and CEO announced last week. "It’s pretty fascinating that 150 years later, we’re still making the Stegmaier brand," Lawson told a press conference. "We’re probably only a handful of beer brands that lasted 150 years."

Charles Stegmaier began his brewing career in Germany and established the Stegmaier Brewery in Wilkes-Barre in 1857 and personally delivered beer to local bars and taverns from a goat-drawn cart. When he died at age 85, the Stegmaier Brewing Co. was the largest in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

When the Stegmaier Brewery announced that it would close in 1974, The Lion obtained rights to produce Stegmaier beers. The Lion is located just down the street from the site of the original Stegmaier facility, which has been refurbished as a modern office building.

The Stegmaier 150th celebration will include a ceremonial tapping of the first keg at 11am, musical entertainment from noon to 9pm and brewery tours and tasting from noon to 4pm. More details are available on the Lion Brewery website.--JACK CURTIN

May 03, 2007 - Appalachian Will Mark 10th Anniversary With Dramatically Larger Brewery
When Appalachian Brewing Company officially celebrates its 10th anniversary with a blowout party at its Harrisburg brewery and pub on Saturday, May 12, it will do so with a newly expanded brewery in place, with more to come in early June.

Brewmaster/Director of Operations Artie Tafoya told The Beer Yard today that"we're more than doubling our capacity in the brewery will all new fermenters and a new bright tank. We've removed the four original fermenters and are replacing them with eight brand new fermenters. Four of those and the new bright tank are already in place and the other four will go in the first part of June." The old fermenters were 4,000 gallon units, but "we only used them for 3,000 barrel batches, because our system work better with that size," Tafoya said. "The eight new tanks are 3,000bbl units--3255 actually, or 105bbls per batch."

The Harrisburg brewery, which also provides the core beers for the Gettysburg (opened August 2003) and Camp Hill (opened August 2006) pubs, currently produces about 5,000bbl annually. The two smaller pubs make their own specialty brews onsite in 10bbl and 5bbl systems respectively.

A long-awaited fourth location, in Lancaster, is still in limbo. "We do now have a new site and we're working on it," Tafoya acknowledged, "but all the stars have to be in alignment and they aren't as yet. If things happen quickly, we could open anywhere from three months to a year from now."

The second-floor Abbey Bar at Harrisburg, which opened in February 2006, has been a "tremendous success for us," Tafoya acknowledged. "The entertainment there is incredible and the Belgian beers are a real attraction. The greatest thing is that we are selling more of our own beers there than we ever have before as well.

Tafoya said that while Appalachian is performing strongly in its local market, the brewery would like to increase its efforts outside the immediately area through its packaged products. Appalachian currently packages its five flagship beers (Water Gap Wheat, Mountain Lager, Jolly Scot Scottish Ale, Purist Pale Ale and Hoppy Trails IPA) and one seasonal each quarter. "We are looking at doing some new things this year," he admitted. "I think it will be exciting, something you haven't seen much around here before this."

Appalachian's 10th Anniversary Party in Harrisburg will begin at noon on May 12 in the side parking lot and on Walnut Street. Features will include a keg olympics and outhouse races, live music inside and outside all day and night and beer specials. For more information: 717.221.1080.--JACK CURTIN  . . . edited by matt

May 03, 2007 - Tröegs Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Unique "Scratch Beer" Series
With all the tenth anniversary celebrations for area breweries and brewpubs which occurred last year and this, finding some different way to mark the occasion has become a real conundrum. Tröegs Brewery has risen to the challenge and come up with the most unusual and intriguing solution so far.

The Scratch Beer Series.

"Scratch Beer is our celebration of ten years in the beer business," say the brothers Trogner, who created the highly-regarded Harrisburg brewery in 1997. "It delves deep into our past and combines it with what we’ve learned about brewing beer over the past ten years. While we’ve talked at length about our current brewery expansion in terms of new fermentation space, a larger tasting room and expanded warehouse space, the project also included relocating the brewery offices. Because of this, we went through a lot of boxes that had been untouched for years.

Imagine our surprise when we came across some old scratch pads—notebooks where we would jot down tasting notes. Along with those tasting notes, were detailed logs on pilot batches brewed on the back patio of our Colorado apartment several years before the brewery opened, along with numerous recipes that were never brewed. None of those pilot batches or early recipes ever became a Tröegs Brewery beer, but those tasting notes and early recipes served as inspiration and research for the beers we finally bottled."

The Scratch Beer Series will consist of four beers done over four months, reviving those old recipes in small, one-time batches to create brews to be sold only at the Tröegs Brewery Tasting Room. Approximately 200 cases of each batch will be bottled, while the remainder will be kegged for growler and "extremely-limited" keg sales. The series will culminate in a special 10th Anniversary Scratch Beer that will be released in early August. Thereafter, "we plan on making several Scratch Beers each year as tank space allows," said the Trogners.

The first Scratch Beer is the just-released California Common Beer (5% abv), a beer which was the inspiration for Tröegs Pale Ale. It is a hybrid beer, which the brewery defines as "the brewer forcing a lager to do something it doesn’t want to do. [This beer uses] lager yeast fermented at a warmer temperature. The fermented malt gives an exaggerated fruity undertone to the beer which combines nicely with the citrus flavors of Cascade hops. Balancing out the taste are spicy, earthy flavors derived from Brewer’s Gold hops. Slightly aggressive hops in the front of the mouth give way to a clean, subtle grape-like finish. This beer recipe was tweaked many times on the back patio during our years in Colorado."

The remaining beers in the 2007 series will be a Porter (mid-May release), a Belgian-style Abbey Beer (July) and a Barleywine (August).--JACK CURTIN

May 02, 2007 - 2007 “Art of Drinking Tröegs” contest Now Underway
Tröegs Brewing of Harrisburg is conducting its unique "The Art of Drinking Tröegs" competition for fans and customers for the second year. The concept is simple: collect Tröegs bottle caps and use them make art.

Photos of the artwork must be submitted to the brewery no later than June 1, 2007, either by email or via USPS to The Art of Drinking Tröegs Contest, Tröegs Brewing Company, 800 Paxton St. Harrisburg, PA 17104. Submission must include the artist's name, address and phone number or they will not be valid. The winning entry will receive "bragging rights" and a Sudsbuddy.™ portable thermoelectric-cooled beer keg cooler.

Grand prize winner awarded by Tröegs Brewing Company and Neiman Group (their advertising agency) on or about June 20, 2007. The finalists will be asked to participate in an event by bringing their submissions to the Tröegs Brewery in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, June 30. All artwork becomes the property of Tröegs Brewery. Selected artwork will be displayed at the Harrisburg Brewers Festival on Saturday, June 16. There will be a drawing box for a "Peoples Choice" Award from festival goers.

You can see last year's winning entry and two finalists here.--JACK CURTIN

May 02, 2007 - Flying Fish Farmhouse Ale Awarded "Best of Show" at Manayunk Brewfest
Flying Fish Farmhouse Ale was awarded "Best of Show" by a panel of certified beer judges at the Manayunk Brew Fest Extravaganza on Saturday, April 28.

Each local brewery was allowed to enter a beer of its choice in the first-ever judging at the event and the beers were evaluated on standard judging forms by the six-person panel. Farmhouse Ale was submitted as an "English Summer Ale." Second and third places when to Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale ("American Pale Ale") and Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot ("English Barleywine").

The judges were beer writer Lew Bryson, Home Sweet Homebrew's George Hummel and homebrewers Tim Ackerson, Suzanne McMurphy, Dave Houseman and Chris Clair. Twenty-one beers were submitted and were split up among two groups of three judges. Each judging group choose three beers for the final rounds based on standards of quality and whether it was reasonably close to the entered style. All six judges tasted the six finalists again, "rejected two pretty quickly," according to Bryson, then deliberated on the three winners.--JACK CURTIN

April 29, 2007 - McAuliffe, Brynildson, Hancock Honored at 2007 Craft Brewers Conference
As is the custom, three members of the brewing industry were recgonized for their dedication and service to the cause of craft beer during the The Brewers Association's 2007 Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America which was held April 18-21 in Austin, Texas.

The Brewers Association Recognition Award went to Jack McAuliffe, who founded California's New Albion Brewing Company in 1976, an event which many people consider the beginning of craft brewing in America (others opt for the purchase and reinvention of Anchor Brewing by Fritz Maytag in the late '60s; Maytag won the Recognition Award in 1988. McAuliff has been a recluse in recent years and the aware was accepted for him by Mendocino Brewing's Don Barkley, who began is professional career at at New Albion in the summer of 1978 while a student at UC-Davis and became the head brewer there in 1981 after graduation.

The Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing went to Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing Co. for demonstrating creativity, excellence in brewing and substantial contributions to the craft brewing community. This award was first given in 1997 to honor Russell Schehrer, who died in 1996 at age 38. Schehrer was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado’s first brewpub Wynkoop Brewing Co. He was also one of the first brewers to produce mead, doppel alt, cream stout and chili beer.

The F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry award to George Hancock, Chair of Pyramid Brewing Co. and past President of the Washington Brewers Guild. This award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt (1933-2001), president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and Chairman from 1989-2001.

The BA Conference drew a record 1,600 attendees and was welcomed to town by Texas populist Jim Hightower. Keynote speaker Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company emphasizing that innovation is the cornerstone of the craft brewing industry. The event wrapped up Saturday, April 21, with a craft beer dinner at which Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily spoke to a sold out crowd of 450.

The 2008 Craft Brewers Conference will be held in San Diego, California on April 16 – 19. Conference registration opens in early 2008.--JACK CURTIN

April 16, 2007 - Dogfish Head, Victory Brewing On Top 50 Craft Brewers List For 2006
Delaware's Dogfish Head Craft Brewery finished 27th and Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown came in at #35 in a list of the top 50 American craft breweries for 2006 which was released by the Brewers Association last week.

The top five craft producers, based upon sales, were Boston Beer Co;, Boston, Massachusetts; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California; New Belgium Brewing Company Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado; Pyramid Breweries Inc., Seattle, Washington, and Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY.

The BA reported that 77.7% of the craft beer produced last year was made from the top 50 craft brewing companies. Additionally, 34 out of the top 50 brewing companies in the U.S meet the Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewer. “Beer made by small, independent and traditional breweries is definitely an American success story,” states Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association. "There’s a change in lifestyle going on. People are trading up and that is what is creating such strong demand for craft beer."

In related news, the BA also released scan data from Information Resources Inc. which showed that craft beer recorded a 17.8% increase in supermarket sales for 2006, more growth than any other alcohol beverage category in the supermarket sales channel.

With just under 1400 small breweries the segment eclipsed 6.7 million barrels in 2006. The fastest growing craft beer sector in 2006 was microbreweries (those under 15,000 barrels a year). Sales were up 16%, showing customer support for local breweries. Total craft beer industry sales have grown 31.5% over the last 3 years and early 2007 indicators point toward accelerating sales growth.

Twenty-two states are represented in the top 50 craft brewing companies list. California hosts (7) top breweries. Colorado has (5) and Oregon and Wisconsin each host (4) top producers.

D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc. of Pottsville, Pennsylvania finished sixth on the top 50 overall brewing companies list, following Anheuser-Busch Inc. Miller Brewing Co., Coors Brewing Co., Pabst Brewing Co. and Boston beer. Pittsburgh Brewing Co. came in at #13 (despite being in bankruptcy, while Dogfish Head was at 42 and the Straub Brewery of Saint Mary's, Pennsylvania was 43rd.

The complete list of the top 50 craft brewers and the accompanying BA press release can be found here (PDF file).--JACK CURTIN

April 06, 2007 - Triumph Philadelphia Finally Opens
"I feel like I got run over by a train and plan to just sit on the beach today and recover," Triumph Brewing's Jay Misson told the Beer Yard when he announced that the company's long awaited Philadelphia location on Chestnut Street in Olde City would officially open its doors on Thursday, April 5.

"We did a series of soft openings this weekend, one for VIPs on Friday night and one for friends and family Saturday and will do another friends and family thing tonight," Misson said on April 2. "We'll take a couple of days to evaluate things and then open officially."

There are currently eight beers on draught: Honey Wheat, Amber, IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Keller Pils, Dunkel, Chico Ale and Porter. Former New Hope brewer Patrick Jones, who has garnered several GABF medals, is the Philadelphia brewer.

Misson is director of brewing operations for Triumph, which currently has pubs in Princeton, NJ and New Hope, PA and is developing a second New Jersey location in Red Bank. The Philadelphia location was originally schedule to be ready this past January. --JACK CURTIN

April 02, 2007 - Stoudt's Old Abominable Barley Wine Ale Will Reappear, But Not For A While
Fans of Stoudt Brewing's limited-release Old Abominable Barley Wine Ale this past winter--and even those who never had a chance to try it--can take heart: the beer will be brewed again, although not for several months, Stoudt head brewer John Matson told The Beer Yard today.

Matson has been with Stoudt's since 1996 and his title, he says, "is just something Ed [Stoudt] threw out there. All of us all have our own responsibilities in the brewery. I handle production schedules, Brett Kintzer does a fair amount of the brewing and overall maintenance, and Joe McMonagle takes care of the lab."

Old Abominable was Matson's creation. "We have an old 15bbl fermenter from the original JV brewhouse which is our little 'play' tank," he explains. "That original batch was a one-off which was received so well that we've decided that we'll take turns putting different special brews into that tank as seasonal releases. Long term, we'd like to do mostly champagne bottles of each one, with just a limited amount of draught release. I'm trying to find a good price on a low gravity filler and corker but haven't found it yet."

The barleywine, which was brewed with 80% Marris Otter malt and a single variety of Domestic hops in attempt to blend the English and American versions of the style, will hopefully be brewed again in the fall for release in December or January, Matson said, while cautioning that the next release would probably be somewhat different from the original. "That original batch was aged for a really long time, some of it in whiskey barrels for almost a year, so this will be the same recipe but probably not the exact same beer."

Matson added that McMonagle will do the next beer in the series "and I think it will probably be a saison or something along those lines. I know Brett wants to play around with the Scotch Ale again, that was one of the beers that he originally formulated and people who have been asking for it. That would be another fall beer."

Stoudt spokesperson Jodi Andrews also announced today in her monthly email update to the industry that Old Abominable has received a Gold Medal from the Beverage Tasting Institute for 2007. BTI's annual The World Beer Championships, founded in 1994, is a medal-based competition that awards its medals based on proprietary blind tasting methodology.--JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2007 - Bengel Leaves Beer Yard Position, Teams Up With "The Dude" In New Brewing Venture (April Fool)
Dan Bengel, a Pottstown painter whose part-time gig as a correspondent for the Beer Yard News Section lasted but a single day--this one--broke his final story early this morning when he resigned and announced that he and award-winning brewer Scott "The Dude" Morrison are teaming up to start the region's first brewery devoted exclusively to smoked beers.

"Smoke 'em if you got them," will be the as-yet unnamed brewery's motto, Bengel said. "Smoke On The Water will be our first release, a clear beer packaged to look like a bong (water pipe). We figure that will make it popular with several other brewers, at the very least."

Bengel originally found fame and fortune as "The Big One," a lovable and goofy sidekick to the highly respected local executive Steve "The Other One" Rubeo; during that era, his "watch me jump this two-foot wall...whoops!" bit became a comedy classic. He had faded from view in recent months before resurfacing as an unpaid advisor and go-to guy in local beer writer Lew Bryson's Session Beer campaign in March. "Being that close to greatness inspired me to re-think my whole life," he admits.

Morrison, who was fired by the local McKenzie Brewhouse chain for "making good beers and screwing up our ambiance and business plan," has been looking for a new venture. He explains he was convinced to take the leap after Bengel promised him "my sweetie will finance the whole thing, even if she has to get a second job." "I respect that sort of vision," Morrison said. "Plus, I'm bored."

Bengel's "sweetie," who has--for obvious reasons--asked not to be identified, offered a terse comment when contacted. "The Hand will have its revenge," she said and hung up.

In keeping with the commitment to never again subject his precious body to a smoking environment which he announced several months back, Bengel will be unable to actually do any work at the brewery, he admitted. "I don't think it will be a problem," he said. "It's the same approach I've used for years as a painter and that's worked out pretty well."--DAN BENGEL/JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2007 - Bryson Finds The Apple Of His Eye (April Fool)
Lew Bryson, the acclaimed drinks writer who has taken the nation by storm with his "Reamed with a Glass" website celebrating the session-ness of session beers, told Beer Yard correspondent Dan Bengel this weekthat he has found a new calling. "I think the world is ready to hear me expound on session cider," Bryson announced. "I really believe I can become the Johnny Appleseed of my generation."

Bengel had has become close to the writer in recent weeks by functioning as his "event guru," making the brief, exclusive interview possible. It took place at an undisclosed location where Bryson is in hiding, hoping to stay out of the reach of a professional hit team reportedly hired by Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione and Russian River's Vinnie Cilurzo to "express our extreme displeasure with his wanton and un-American attacks on extreme beers." Port Brewing's Tomme Arthur, in a email message to the Beer Yard within the hour, confirmed that the hit has been contracted, adding that "hey, I wanted to be in on that action too, but it seemed best to leave it to the Italian guys."

The Beer Yard's team of news analysts has concluded that, given the threats to his well-being, Bryson's highly publicized weight loss campaign of recent months was probably not a health measure at all, but rather an attempt to change his appearance "and be able to run faster" before he embarked on his quixotic crusade.--DAN BENGEL/JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2007 - Local Man Cited By Comedy Central For Performance "Above And Beyond All Reason" (April Fool)
Comedy Central's Jokes.com website has declared today "Richard Ruch Day," according to a news release sent to Beer Yard correspondent Dan Bengel.

"The man is responsible for over 10,000 hits on our site every day, most of them from him," said a spokesman. "This is the least we could do."

Ruch, a resident of Downingtown whose official address is "that stool at the corner of the bar, Victory Brewing Company," is well known for seeking out the world's worst jokes and firing them off to thousands of people around the world several times a day. The task keeps him too busy to sit for an interview, he told Bengel, but he also assured him that anyone who emails him at www.victoryshill.com will immediately be added to his email list and begin receiving jokes within the hour.

Taking a position that most spammers at least pretend to reject, Ruch says proudly that "once I have your name, you are fair game." No one, no matter how long and hard he or she has tried, has ever been able to get off his mailing list. "Tnis and beer are all I got," he says in defense, "and I'm not giving up either one. They will have to pry my keyboard from my cold dead fingers."--DAN BENGEL/JACK CURTIN

April 01, 2007 - Heavyweight Brewing Reports Record Sales Over Last Ten Months (April Fool)
New Jersey's Heavyweight Brewing Company has seen a sharp upward curve in sales since owners Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver announced they would be shutting down the business last spring. "Sales are up 25% overall since that day," a happy but confused Tom Baker told Beer Yard correspondent Dan Bengel today, "and the trend has been even higher since we completely stopped making beer."

Baker said that he'd like thank each his customers personally for his new, extravagant lifestyle and urged them to "keep an eye out for our next Going-Out-of-Business event at Drafting Room Exton, where we'll be pouring an even two dozen beers."

As reported here earlier, Baker and Zwerver are now in the process of created a brewpub in Nyack, NY and these latest sales figures have had an impact on their plans, he acknowledged. "The way it looks now, we plan to hold our Grand Opening and Going Out of Business event on the same day. It will save a lot of time."--DAN BENGEL/JACK CURTIN

March 27, 2007 - Weyerbacher, Wegmans Markets Form Food & Beer Partnership
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.and Wegmans Market have created a partnership to introduce residents of Easton and environs to the pleasures of cooking with beer.

"Wegman's contacted us about a month ago with the idea," Weyebacher's Dan Weirback told The Beer Yard this morning. Then we had lunch with all their managers this past Friday and tasted all the meals."

Wegmans, one of the nation's leading food chains, is offering a Cheddar Chowder made with Hops Infusion, Braised Short Ribs with a Merry Monk's demi-glace and mushrooms, BBQ Ribs with a Blithering Idiot sauce and Bread Pudding with creme angliase made with Black Hole Ale.

The chowder offering has been on sale for a week or so, Weirback said, "and they say it's been flying out of the store, so I think you can say the public reaction is highly positive. They're also talking about doing some classes in cooking with beer down the line."

Attendees at the annual Weyerbacher Open House this Saturday (Noon - 3pm) will benefit from the arrangement, he noted, since Wegmans representatives will be present and offering samples of the various dishes.--JACK CURTIN

March 22, 2007 - Heavyweight Duo Plan To Open Their Promised Pub In New York
Tom Baker and Peggy Zwerver, late of Heavyweight Brewing in New Jersey, expect to resurface in Nyack, NY later this year. "We've found a location and are working on a lease," Baker told The Beer Yard last night.

The duo assured heart-broken fans that they would open a brewpub somewhere in the region when they announced that Heavyweight was going out of business. Most people expected that to happen in Pennsylvania but they were unable to find a suitable location, Bake said.

Baker also said that their new operation, if everything works out, will follow the original concept they announced last summer: a brewpub cum beer bar with a very basic menu and a focus on natural local ingredients and a "green" approach. "It will similar to Paul Sayler's American Flatbread Burlington Hearth in Vermont," he explained, "Although the basic idea is close, we won't be doing the same thing. And they've been very supportive and a big help in helping us figure it all out."

Baker intends to brew "four or five" house beers and also feature "10 or 12 craft and high-end imports at the bar, and also serve local wines, but no spirits. The beers will be mostly draught but a few select bottles may eventually be added. The menu will center around pizza and salads, plus some cheese and bread pairings. "And dessert," he laughed, "we will definitely have desserts."

Nyack appears to be an excellent fit for the concept. The village is located 25 miles north of New York City (20 minutes northwest of the George Washington Bridge) in Rockland County, famed for its small town charm, historic Victorian homes, antiques and fine dining. There is no place in town featuring the sort of broad-based craft beer lineup he plans, Baker noted, "and I think there will be substantial market for what we will have to offer. We hope to blow their socks off."

While a name for the new enterprise has been selected, Baker has chosen not to make it public "until we have it registered, a lease signed and our plans firmed up." At that time, he promised, he will reveal all to The Beer Yard.--JACK CURTIN

March 11, 2007 - Plans Announced for "Philly Beer Week" in March 2008
A group of beer industry movers and shakers are planning to introduce Philly Beer Week in early March 2008.

The "week" will run from March 7 through March 16 and is expected to involve a series of several beer-focused events each night throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

It will kick off with a March 7 "simul-tap" of firkins in Philadelphia's City Hall courtyard and at breweries in Harrisburg, Princeton, Allentown, East, Wilmington, Lancaster and all across the five-county area around the city.

The news was released informally and with few specifics by Bruce Nichols, head of Museum Catering Company, at the annual Michael Jackson events this weekend and yesterday by beer writer Lew Bryson online.

According to Bryson, the event was "conceived and backed by a combination of people [including himself] who've been making beer happen in this area for years. Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe. Bruce Nichols of UPenn Museum Catering. Curt Decker of Nodding Head. George Hummel of Home Sweet Homebrew. Mark Edelson of Iron Hill. Chris Depepe of the Philly Craft Beer Festival. Tom Kehoe of Yards. Don `Joe Sixpack' Russell. Matt Guyer of the Beer Yard. Gene Muller of Flying Fish. Bill Covaleski of Victory. Carol & Ed Stoudt. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head."

The concept apparently developed in reaction to the demise, at least for this year, of Philadelphia's famed The Book & The Cook event, due to the loss of a site for the B&C Fair which provided most of the financing for that ten-day extravaganza (B&C still maintains that it will happen in the Fall but industry insiders say, off the record, that such is unlikely, given that it is already late in the to set aside the necessary block of hotel rooms and schedule events at a variety of venues). The two Museum events were a major B&C player--the Saturday Tutored Tasting's three sessions drew the largest attendance of any event each year--and a Sunday night Jackson-hosted Belgian beer dinner at Monk's Cafe´, while not officially part of B&C in recent years, has always been one of the city's great beer celebrations.

While the Monk's dinner is not specifically announced in Bryson's online report, it is almost definitely going to be on the schedule. Nichols told the Beer Yard yesterday that whether or not the Museum dinner would re-occur was questionable at this point. The Tutored Tasting will take place on Saturday, March 8, as things now stand, and Rich Pawlak's popular Golden Age of Beer in Philadelphia bus tour be run that day a swell. There is also talk of a real ale festival, possibly on Sunday at Yard's Brewing, according to rumors.

Activities through the coming week, according to Bryson, will involve "five to ten events a night. We're thinking about a Belgian trolley night, with a trolley running a circuit between Philly's best Belgian beer selections, and a craft trolley night, the same thing for American micro taps. There'll be beer dinners, tastings, and 'meet and greets' where you can meet brewers from across the area, the country, and the world. Guest brewers will be brewing in local breweries a month before to release special beers during the Week, more will brew during the Week in brewery open houses. We hope to have sponsorship connections with mass transit to make getting around easier and safer.

"Then the final weekend will feature the return of this year's Philly Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, and Pawlak and the vans and I will head west for the Great Western Suburbs Beer Hunt, a swing through Chester and Montgomery County brewpubs and bars we've been longing to do. Sunday everything winds up with the Brewer's Plate, the annual Slow Food and beer event. And yes, that's actually ten days, not a week."

A Philly Craft Beer website will be up soon, he added, while noting that the schedule and events are still in flux.--JACK CURTIN

March 10, 2007 - Lock & Load...Ready....Aim...Click! Presto, You've Got A Cold Beer In Your Hand!

John Cornwell has invented a refrigerator which will deliver a can of cold beer right to your couch with the click of a remote control, an earth-shattering advance that surely fulfills at least part of every beer geek's most intimate dreams.

The Associated Press reports it took that Atlanta-based software engineer, who graduated from college just last year, about 150 hours and $400 in parts to modify a mini-fridge (the sort common to many college dorm rooms) into the beer-tossing machine. It can be loaded with ten cans a a time.

The remote was made from a converted car's keyless entry device. When it is clicked, a small elevator inside the refrigerator lifts a beer can through a hole and loads it into the a catapult arm mounted on the refrigerator. A second click of the remote fires the device, tossing the beer a distance of up to 20 feet. The most beer Cornwell has run through the machine so far was a couple of 24-can cases during a Super Bowl party.

Only Cornwell's personal model currently exists, but he says he has talked to a brewing company about the machine and is also considering one which can launch bottles.

You can watch a pretty awesome video of the fridge in action right here. Go on, you know you want to.---JACK CURTIN

March 10, 2007 - Planned New Flying Fish Brewery In Burlington Is a No-Go
Plans for Flying Fish Brewing Co. to build a new, larger brewery just across the Burlington-Bristol Bridge from Philadelphia have been canceled, according to a story by Lauri Sheib