Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yuengling in Ohio

My latest Dayton City Paper article ran today, covering the Yuengling in Ohio phenomenon. I'll be honest, when my editor and I first discussed the piece, I was dreading it. I was headed to Three Floyds and FOBAB that weekend and thought, jeez, if we should be excited about any beer coming to Ohio, it should be Three Floyds--monster craft brewer that tops most trades and best lists, not Yuengling, a pale lager with a cult following.

But in covering the story, I grew to appreciate the beer. Not everyone loves the Three Floyds giants, but most folks can get behind Yuengling. It's not the most complex beer in the world, but I don't think it's trying to be. It's price-point takes aim at the Budmillercoors of the world, not of the craft brew set (it's about a $5-6 sixer). More than anything, it's likely to act as a gateway beer, turning folks onto flavor who would normally drink pale yellow macrobrews.

And there are some really cool stories associated with the beer. The brewery's history is interesting, given how far back it dates (seriously, Andrew Jackson was president and several of the midwestern states weren't even part of the union yet!). But what got it for me was how much people who drank Yuengling had a connection with the beer. I wish I could have printed everything that Matt, Benjamin, and Sarah had to say about the beer. It's true that it was like coming home for them.

And that I do understand. In college, at Ohio U, The Union always served Schlitz at insanely low prices. I think bottles were under a buck ($.90?), and we were poor, so we drank a lot of Schlitz. I have a lot of fond memories associated with that brand, even though I know it doesn't stack up to Three Floyds, etc. I'll tend to chose a craft beer almost every time, but if an old college friend showed up with a case of Schlitz, I'd be perfectly happy to help him or her work through it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ohio and Texas Beer Laws

Two interesting brew laws in the news this week.

First, it looks like brewers in Ohio will be allowed to offer samples onsite without having to purchase an additional liquor license. Before Wednesday's ruling, brewers that wanted to offer tastings onsite had to purchase an additional license, at a cost of ~$3,900 annually. Here's a write-up in today's Akron Beacon Journal. (Thanks to Natalie at Belmont Party Supply for the heads up on this one).

Second, it looks like Texas may finally get its act together and eliminate the arcane and ridiculous naming convention that it forces brewers to use in the state. Texas law currently mandates that beers under 4 % ABV be labeled "Beer" and anything stronger is labeled either "Ale" or "Malt Liquor." The law is absurd because an ale is designated an ale not by its strength, but simply by the type of yeast used to produce it. Texas also blocked efforts by breweries to allow customers to know where to buy their products. Yesterday a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks overturned the laws, citing that they are unconstitutional. Big victory for Texas beer aficionados and brewers. Here's the write-up in the Star Telegram.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Send Beer

Beer2buds is an awesome concept too long in the making. The site lets you buy beers for your friends, even when you are 200+ miles away. Here's how it works:

1) Add your friend's contact info and some money via PayPal.
2) You friend gets an email or text with a redemption code.
3) Your friend goes to the website, picks a bar, and gets a voucher (print of via iPhone) to take to their local bar.
4) The bartender at the local pub redeems the voucher for a beer or cash.

I posted a link to the site, you know, in case anyone wanted to try it out by buying me a cold one.

Note: So apparently it isn't working here in Dayton yet, but there's a spot where you can suggest bars to add to the program. Feel free to send some notes to our local better beer bars.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sours Beers in NY Times

See Eric Asimov's review of sour beers. Interesting, Huffington Post names sour beers as a food trend to watch in 2012. I'll believe it. Most craft beer geeks I know already consider sour to be the new hoppy. Cascade Kriek was named as the top beer in the tasting (see my write-up of Cascade from our recent trip to Portland), but I was pleased to see a couple of Jolly Pumpkin brews on the list, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beer Geek Weekend: FFFXV and FOBAB 9

The second weekend in November, I hit a double header of beer tastings in the Chicago-land area: The Three Floyds XV Anniversary Party and the 9th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers.

Three Floyds was frustrating, as we stood in line for about 3 hours, just to buy our beers. It's true what they say about FFF events being very poorly organized. The last hour or so was fun, but then we had to rush off to get to FOBAB. Still, brought home a bottle of Baller Stout and a case of Zombie Dust, the FFF American Pale Ale that is simply amazing.

FOBAB was fun, as always, with a lot of crazy beers (see the
highlights in the article). This year, my media pass let me "backstage" to talk to some of the brewers and organizers, which was cool. (It also got me taller pours of the samples, which I probably, in retrospect, didn't need). I'll be back there next year, although I think I'll stick to a single event next year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Portland, Oregon Trip

My wife and I want to Portland for a long weekend earlier this month. I wrote up the trip in a recent Dayton City Paper article, which you can read online.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Lucky's Taproom

Cool article in Dayton Most Metro about Lucky's Taproom and Eatery. I've known Drew through his sister Laurie (who is an old friend of my wife, Gina). G and I were very excited to hear about Drew opening his own place. Even more excited when we checked it out. Great decor, awesome food (I'm lactose intolerant, so the vegan options are really cool--you don't find that much in pub food), and the beer list is always amazing. And while I like live music, it's nice to also have a place where you can drop in any night of the week and not have to fight to be heard over the band.

Also Friend Lucky's on FaceBook to see specials, etc.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Where The Hell Are All The Brewpubs?!?

Check out my recent article from the Dayton City Paper exploring why Dayton has a drought of brewpubs and how we might get the tap flowing again!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Very cool interactive graphic depicting different...

Very cool interactive graphic depicting different beer styles in relation to each other. Check it out.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Beer Golden Age Infographic

William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill, co-authors of Craft Beer, posted an interesting infographic in Co.Design on Friday confirming that we are indeed in a golden age of beer. Some interesting tidbits:
  • Outside of the Prohibition period, 1978 marked the lowest number of American breweries (44) since around 1810.
  • In ~30 years since, we've added 1551 breweries in that time.
  • The peak in 1873 (4,131), although it seems unlikely that we'll ever hit that number again, given that there were likely a lot of breweries because many of them were small and didn't have the distribution channels we have now. Output was tiny (under 12 million barrels).
  • Today's breweries output about 200 million barrels annually. That number has stayed static since the 1980s, but a higher proportion of that number each year is coming from small craft brewers.
(thanks to Jonathan for the link)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good Beer Writer, Lousy Self-Promoter

I've been really busy writing lots of good beer-related stuff, but I've missed posting a few of my Dayton City Paper articles. A shame, since one of them was the cover article a few weeks back--probably the article I'm the most pleased with to date. Time to rectify that. Here are three articles that you may have missed:

Craft Brew Around Town
original publication date: April 12, 2011
A guide to some of the best places in Dayton (and surrounding 'burbs) to pair craft beer with sports, music, food, and cinema.

Do-It-Yourself Craft Beer
original publication date: April 26, 2011
An intro to homebrewing for the non-brewer, with an overview of the basics. Don't miss the DCP Summer Wheat Ale recipe, a straightforward ale that's as easy to drink as it is to make.

Buckeye Vodka
original publication date: May 10, 2011
Buckeye Vodka brings microdistilling to the Miami Valley, with their high end artisanal vodka with a mid-range price point. It's become my house vodka.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Big Brews and Blues

This Friday, check out Dayton's first outdoor beer festival of year: Big Brews and Blues. The event runs from 5-9 on the 20th, and features samples of 30 craft beers and live music by 4 local blues bands. Tix are $20 in advance/$25 at the door. Proceeds go to Dayton Diabetes, a local non-profit who help those whose lives are affected by diabetes. You can see my full write-up this week in the Dayton City Paper.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Pints for Prostates BrewTensils Brewout

On May 7th from 9 am to 5 pm, in collaboration with National Homebrew Day, Miami Valley BrewTensils will be hosting a local brewout to raise funds for Pints For Prostates, a national charity designed to raise awareness of prostate cancer screening through the universal language of beer. Local homebrewers will be making their beers in the parking lot behind the store, and BrewTensils will be selling the Brewer’s Best PSA IPA ingredient kit, with a portion of proceeds for each kit sold going to Pints for Prostates

The event will include a local raffle for prizes from Belmont Party Supply, BrewTensils, Trolley Stop, South Park Tavern, Pizza Factory, Chappy's Tap Room and Grille, Boston's Bistro, and King's Table Bar and Grille. In addition, enter into the national Pints for Prostate raffle for a vacation in the beer capitals of Europe! The trip for two goes to Prague, Bamberg, and Munich for 9 nights, September 9-19 and includes airfare, hotel, brewery tours, Oktoberfest, pubcrawls and transportation (a $7,500 total value). Tickets for this raffle are $10 each, three for $25, or seven for $50 (all proceeds go to Pints for Prostate) with the drawing held nationally on July 31, 2011. For more info please visit www.pintsforprostates.org or www.brewtensils.com.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Prepping for brew day

Stopped by BrewTensils this morning to prep for my DCP homebrew feature and to pick up ingredients for tomorrow's brew session. Good talk with Darren Link, BrewTensil's manager, about the community aspect of brewing, and with Mike Schwartz, Belmont/BrewTensils owner about upcoming events. Also met several all-grain brewers at the Belmont brewout. Good group.

Trying a few new things tomorrow. Going for an all-grain RyePA. We'll see how gummy malted rye really is. I picked up some rice hulls--hopefully that will help. This will only be my second IPA, despite over a decade of brewing (the first was a Victory HopDevil clone and my first partial grain).

At Jim Witmer's advice, I also picked up 5.2 mash stabilizer--buffering salts so that I don't have to muck with pH levels. Heard that I'll see better efficiency rates. That's great, but I'm happy just to not have to worry about the pH level.

Finally, trying dry yeast for the first time since my first brew. Built up a starter using Goya Malta - the hop and malt based soda. We'll see how it goes. More notes tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cavalier Distributing Earthquake Relief

Cavalier Distributing is donating $2 to a relief fund for every new email address added to their weekly newsletter. Cavalier is one of the two or three local distributors responsible for the great craft beer selection in the Miami Valley and their newsletters are always interesting and informative, so this is a can't miss. Here's the text of their release on the project:

Cavalier Distributing will donate $2.00 to tsunami relief efforts for every new subscriber to our email newsletter between now and March 25, 2011, up to $10,000. Please forward this message to fellow craft beer fans in Ohio to make this effort a success.

If you are receiving this email as a forwarded message, please click the following link to subscribe: Subscribe to Cavalier's Weekly Newsletter

Update: So far we have added 632 email addresses to our weekly newsletter. Please help get the word out so we can reach our goal of donating $10,000.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fizzy Green Beer is for Wussies

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The family is clad in green and the boys ate their customary green-dyed breakfasts (this year, it was Blarney Cereal, which is just regular cereal with green dye in the milk. Gross, but the kids love it).

Green dye is fun for the kids, but it has no place in beer. To avoid it, check out my alternatives to green-dyed Budmillercoors in this week's Dayton City Paper. All are good alternatives, but my personal favorites are Guinness Extra Stout (I know, obvious choice, but classics are classics for a reason) and Conway's Irish Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lenten Beer

As a follow-up to my recent article about the connection between beer and food, here's a story of a newspaper editor who plans to emulate European monks by limiting himself to only beer and water for the 40 days of lent.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Beer and Food Pairings

I'm late in posting this due to an insanely busy week, but this week my article on beer and food pairings ran in the Dayton City Paper.

Big thanks to Gina, my wife, who took the photos. Only cost me take-out at Taqueria Mixteca and a chocolate torte (which the kids actually ate most of). There were two other photos that I really liked that didn't run, so I've posted them here. The cake one
is my favorite.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

News: Thai9 Tapping Cask Hopslam Tonight

Thai9, the Thai and Sushi restaurant with a great beer list in the Oregon district, is tapping a cask of Bell's Hopslam tonight. I'm told it's one of two such casks in Ohio. This is a great beer in bottles and on tap, so I can't wait to try to the cask version. Beer flows around 7ish tonight.

Also, Thai9 is part of the Dayton Growler Co-Op (although I'd be shocked if Hopslam is included), which, along with Trolley Stop, South Park Tavern, and Blind Bob's, allows customers to pick up and fill growlers to enjoy their favorite draft beers at home. Here's the link to Blind Bob's blurb about it, as well as an article with more details by Mark Fisher of the Dayton Daily News.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Critic's Pick: Chappy's Beer Club

Just a quick note that I've been meaning to post for several days now. I have another piece in the current edition of the Dayton City Paper (the 2/2 edition). It's just a quick Critic's Pick, but it highlights the Chappy's Beer Club. If you aren't familar with Chappy's Tap Room and Grille, they've got on of the best beer menus I've seen. Lots of great beers, but more importantly, lots of information about the various beers, so it's easy to find something that suits your mood.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Published Beer Writer

I've made the seemingly backwards leap from digital to print and am now the monthly beer columnist for the Dayton City Paper, the local alt weekly (backwards because for many years, I worked with educational publishers, trying to push them from print to digital). My first column highlighted the joy of discovering great beer and the communal nature of beer-geekdom in the Miami Valley and featured quotes from two staples in the Dayton Craft Beer community, Mike Schwartz (owner of Belmont Party Supply and Miami Valley BrewTensils) and Joe Waizmann (founder of AleFest, Cask AleFest, and AleFeast).

One interesting aside that didn't make the article was a story that Mike Schwartz told me in my interview with him. I've always thought of Mike and his shop as an epicenter of craft beer but when Mike bought Belmont Party Supply back in the 80's, it was originally just the liquor store. In fact, at the time, Mike had pretty much stopped drinking beer. He was bored by the macro-lagers, which tasted terrible and left him feeling awful.

But it was Joe Waizmann who showed Mike the right direction. Joe was working for a local distributor and one day, he brought Mike a bottle of Old Peculiar, the legendary British Old Ale. Once that first sip passed his lips, Mike was a man transformed. Like a sinner who found religion, Mike's epiphany drove him to build out his craft beer temple, evangelizing to the hoards of unknowing masses, sharing the gospel of flavor and aroma.

Yet another example of one enthusiastic craft beer drinker sharing his discovery with another so that, as Mike notes, "we all grow together."

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beer Dinner With "The Barrel Guy" At The Pub

If you dig barrel-aged beers, don't miss this event. Tom is directly responsible for most of the barrel aged beer from craft brewers, including the Rare Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island. Here are the details and a link to an article about Tom:

"The Barrell Guy"

Thursday, January 20th
The Pub Beavercreek
$50 per person
Dinner includes four courses with a beer pairing for each and a Q&A with Tom Griffin.

Check out the article: