Monday, June 17, 2013

Three breweries in the next 4 weeks!

Three of the breweries we've been waiting for are opening within the next month. Great time to be a beer geek in Dayton.

Dayton Most Metro is reporting that Lock 27 in Centerville will open this Friday, on June 21.

Toxic Brew, the long awaited Oregon District brewery on 5th street, will have it's grand opening the following week, on Friday, June 28th. (I went to a soft opening this last Saturday and am pleased to report that the beers are worth the wait!)

And finally, the Fifth Street Brewpub, the local co-op that is making national headlines, announced this morning a July 13th opening.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hop Farming in SW Ohio?

Cool Kickstarter for the SW Ohio brewing community. Osborn Brewing is a homebrew supply store in Monroe. Brent Osborn is teaming up with a local farmer to produce locally grown hops. They are hoping to have funding in place now and have hops available as soon as 2014.

Lots of great folks involved in this project. Really cool options at the upper end of the donation scale, such as working with Jeff Fortney (who brewed for local breweries Rivertown and the now-defunct Wooden Shoe), Jeffrey McElfresh of the newly opened Yellow Springs Brewery, or Gordon Strong, who holds just about every award possible for homebrew judging and literally wrote the style guidelines.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Photos from Yellow Springs Brewery opening

File this under, er, better late than never. 

I was out of town the weekend the Yellow Springs Brewery opened, so I missed the big bash. Luckily, Jared was there to snap a few photos and take some notes. 

The grand opening saw a steady stream of patrons from the minute the door opened until hours later, at closing. Limited seating in the capacity crowd, but guests didn't seem to mind. Lots of YS residence and Dayton locals showed up to support the brewery. 
Great beers, all which were clean and crisp. The Captain Stardust Saison, which was a later tapping, kicked first. The 6.5% ABV draft had a nice floral note. Other noted favorites were the Dark Mild (3.9% ABV) English-style ale and the Porter (5.8% ABV).

I'm hoping to make a trip out there soon. I've been able to try a few of the beers on tap around town and have been very impressed. Until then, I'll just have to gawk at these pics from the opening. Nate, Lisa, and Jeffrey seem to have a good thing going. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beer Notes from Late April

Busy week, so I'm trying to pull together some reading/viewing from the previous week that you may have missed. Beware, link overload.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Session Beers

After years of going big, craft beer seems to be going small. I don't mean the threat of the imploding craft bubble (although my friend Dave has a couple of good write-ups here and here about that topic). No, I mean session beers--those beers which, to paraphrase a slogan, you have when you are having more than one.

I have a piece on the Dayton City Paper on this topic this week, available online here. Several local options available for the sub 5% beers.

Avril is Belgium's answer to
session beers.
I also sent a copy of the article to Lew Bryson, who I quoted in the article and who runs the Session Beer Project blog. After a gentle chiding about including beers up to 5% ABV (Lew is a strong proponent at capping the category at 4.5% ABV, but others shoot for 5% and I was trying to be inclusive), he turned me onto a new brewery out of Massachusetts called Notch. They only brew session beers and the beers are now available in bottles. I've yet to try one, but am hoping to have one of my East Coast friends send me some (when things settle down out there, of course). 

Also, try the Avril by DuPont. They have it at Belmont Party Supply. I mention it in my article. It's only 3.5% but damn tasty. Proof that a small beer can be rewarding.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beers and Anticipatory Response

Interesting article in The Atlantic online this week about the release of dopamines at the first sip of a beer. The author notes that:
Our bodies anticipate the effects of alcohol by a conditioned response, like Pavlov's dogs. Our brains start to release euphoric signals in response to the taste of beer, even before alcohol even gets into our blood, because we seem to know what's coming.
What it doesn't seem to account for, however, is the taste of the beer. I've been known to have a beer at the end of a long day of work, and the act of pouring the beer, sitting and enjoying it helps me wind down. But the beer is always a nice, tasty craft beer. A Bud Lite or other macro-lager just wouldn't have the same impact. In fact, I'd rather just skip it altogether in that case.

(thanks to my brother, Eric Michael Gray, for the link)

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Future of Craft Beer

With the brewery boom in Dayton this year (see recent DCP article and last night's blog post), I've been thinking about the current state of craft beer. Are we seeing a bubble? What happens if the bubble bursts? There are projected to be 1,000 new breweries in the next year across the US. Are we over-saturated?

Here's an interesting article in the Beer Business Daily that discusses a lot of the issues the market is seeing right now. Worth a read. Good reminder of the problems craft faced in the 1990s and how folks weathered. I anticipate, as this article hints at, that at some point, we will reach saturation levels and breweries will fall to a more sustainable level. Call it a pruning cycle. Call it approaching equilibrium. Breweries that make bad beer will die off. So will, unfortunately, breweries that make great beer but have poor business models.

We are approaching the dozen mark for new breweries in Dayton. Our region will be interesting to watch because we could be seeing the cycles mentioned in the article play out on a micro level. My hope is that all of the Miami Valley breweries succeed, all make great beer, and the Miami Valley becomes a craft beer destination. Realistically, unfortunately, there will likely be some dropoff and not all of the breweries will open or survive the first few years, for the reasons mentioned above.

What should we, as Dayton craft beer drinkers do? Try all the breweries, but be patient and don't jump to conclusions too quickly about any one brewery. It can take a few months to dial in, so if you try someone and don't like their beer, wait a few months and try it again. Once you've given everyone a fair shake, then vote with your feet and support the breweries making the good stuff and making solid choices.

UPDATE: Dave Ranly over at The Brew View has a great addition to this discussion. He's advocating to a brewery district in Dayton. Great idea. Count me in and let's make it happen, people.