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.