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AboutTaylor Laabs, Author at PorchDrinking.com

Taylor Laabs

Taylor Laabs

Posts By Taylor Laabs

Craft Breweries Continue Commitment to Sustainability, Solar Energy

February 22, 2021 |

Sustainability is an integral part of the corporate talktrack these days, with big and small corporations alike sharing their commitment to sustainable business practices and production habits. The craft beer industry is an area of the market that has always tilted towards sustainability, as brewers big and small continue to reap the benefits of growing and using ingredients and energy produced on their premises. Revolution Brewing’s savory Honey Jacket Barleywine uses honey harvested from bees that reside on the roof of their production facility. Some go as far as producing their own energy via solar panels. Brewery Vivant’s solar program, which includes a 54-kilowatt solar system and 192 solar panels, produces 20% of the facility’s energy needs

With commitments to sustainability and renewable, clean energy sources becoming a bigger and bigger area of focus for craft breweries, here’s a look at three new pledges from big name breweries that signal craft beer’s ongoing commitment to existing constantly while leaving the world a better place than they left it. 

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Dogfish Head Hazy-O! IPA Goes All in With Oats

February 9, 2021 |

With the hazy IPA, is there ever enough? For breweries looking to delve into the crowded category with a new offering, you really need to stand out. One brewery never shy in doing just that is Dogfish Head, which recently introduced Hazy-O! This new hazy IPA is brewed with four types of oats: malted, rolled, naked and oat milk. Dogfish makes it a point to note that this will be the first nationally-distributed oat milk IPA on the market. Here’s what you need to know about a beer that Dogfish says took almost a year of research and development to perfect. 

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5 Questions with Schlafly Brewing’s Lead Designer, Sarah Frost

January 28, 2021 | 1

Picture your favorite beer. What do you see? Maybe it’s poured in a proper glass, bubbles bursting. Odds are though, you’re picturing the can or bottle the beer initially came in. While the liquid itself brings great pleasure, it’s typically the vehicle it comes in that you associate with first. That’s why beer can artwork is so fun, so creative, so celebrated at times. Because it makes the beer standout both on-shelves and in your mind. St. Louis-based Schlafly Brewing continues to churn out great beer can designs that celebrate the history or place of origin behind a beer’s name or style. It’s a unique approach that has paid dividends for the brewery and for their lead designer, Sarah Frost. To learn more about Frost’s unique approach to beer can art, what inspires her and what labels she’s most excited about this year, I asked her five questions.

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New Non-Alcoholic Brews for Dry January We’re Buzzing About

January 18, 2021 |

The non-alcoholic (NA) beverage and beer segment continues to eat up market share thanks to its ability to offer younger buying groups a palatable and fulfilling NA option that takes the place of the typical beer, hard seltzer or hard cider. For many, NA beverages have become an addition to their overall alcohol-consuming habits while others have used NA beers to stop drinking altogether. I, like many others in the U.S., fall somewhere in the middle. According to Lagunitas, 45% of American adults have now purchased an NA beer. Data from Nielsen shows that 47% of Americans are making an effort to “cut back or abstain from” alcohol altogether. 

While December is often filled with excess drinking, January is typically viewed through the lens of constriction, where you either consume less alcoholic drinks or participate in dry January, a month-long pledge to stop drinking alcoholic beverages entirely.  If you’re a beer drinker curious about new NA beer options available on the market or participating in dry January, below is a list of five options we’re excited about. 

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Ask the Brewers | Barrel-Aged Beers They’re Most Excited About

December 21, 2020 |

In part two of our series on the state of barrel-aged beers (read part one here), we’re generating some word-of-mouth buzz by letting the brewers share the most anticipated barrel-aged beers lurking in their barrel programs. The ever-present bourbon barrel-aged stout makes an appearance or two, but it’s the experimentation and creativity highlighted by brewers across the board that really gets me excited. Foeder-aged ales, tequila Goses and barrel-aged Cream Ales? That’s just a sampling of some of the compelling creations these breweries are looking forward to releasing to consumers. 

(READ: The State of Barrel-Aged Beers in 2020)

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The State of Barrel-Aged Beers in 2020

December 15, 2020 |

Barrel-aged beers are known for big ABVs, bold flavors and brisk ingenuity. The near-constant release of Barleywines, Bourbon Barrel-aged Stouts and everything in-between draw consistent buzz and big purchases from beer lovers every fall and winter due to that warm, fuzzy feeling they can bring. That said, the current landscape of barrel-aged beers is daunting, challenging brewers to create new and bold beers that meet the ever-changing demands of their audience–what’s popular this season might be dull the next year. The current state of the barrel-aged beer industry in the United States is equal parts complex, curious and creative. To learn more, I polled more than 10 breweries known for their barrel-aged beer programs to get their perspective on the state of the industry and their likes and dislikes when it comes to barrel-aged beer. 

(READ: Ask the Brewers: BBA Beers They’re Most Excited About)

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PorchDrinking’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Craft Beer Fans

December 3, 2020 |

Giving the right gift is often as rewarding as receiving one. While beer drinkers can’t share pours at their local taproom at the moment, there’s still an opportunity to celebrate the craft beer passion of a partner, loved one or friend with a variety of beer-inspired gifts for Christmas.

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Pipeworks Brewing & Manny’s Deli Collaborate on Beef-Focused Pastrami on Rye Ale

November 19, 2020 |

In a year that feels like it will never end, waiting almost a decade must feel like an eternity. Yet, some things are worth the wait. Case in point: the return of Pipeworks Brewing Co.’s Pastrami on Rye, which returns this month with a fun twist: a collaboration with local Chicago pastrami staple Manny’s Deli. First brewed in 2010, the eclectic ale is back again in 2020, thanks in small part to the beer-focused musings of one of our own writers: Mike Zoller (aka Instagram’s @ChicagoBeer) and the creative, collaborative spirit of two local Chicago businesses. Here are the details on what Chicago beer lovers can expect for the return of Pastrami on Rye. 

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5 Questions with SweetWater Brewing Company’s Brian Miesieski

November 16, 2020 |

Breweries making beer-adjacent offerings is nothing new, particularly when you look at the rapid influx of new hard seltzer and cannabis-focused offerings produced by breweries across the country. One brewery that has always leaned hard into the cannabis-friendly market is Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company, thanks to their very “dank” and not-so-subliminal 420 IPA brand. Consequently, SweetWater was recently acquired for $300 million by the global cannabis company, Aphria. Amidst the rapid legalization of cannabis across the country and a growing sector of drinkers interested in cannabis-forward beverages, the possibilities for the expansion of the 420 brand and the introduction of new products are flush, which makes the new partnership a solid match. To learn more about what comes next for the brewery and for the 420 brand in particular, we asked Brian Miesieski, VP of Marketing, SweetWater Brewing Company, 5 questions…

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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery | Campfire Amplifier

November 5, 2020 |

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has built their brand around off-centered beers. While their IPA often drives consistency in their portfolio, it’s the consistent addition of adventurous new offerings that keep their brand fresh.

The brewery’s latest, seasonally-inspired addition is Campfire Amplifier, a 6.5% ABV milk Stout brewed with marshmallows, graham crackers, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla beans and a dose of smoked malt. Built to invoke the timeless memories of roasting s’mores over an open campfire, this beer is an ambitious undertaking that appeals to fall flannel-lovers and craft beer nerds alike. 

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Great Lakes Brewing Co. Spices Up Christmas Ale Release with New Cans, Artwork

October 29, 2020 |

One thing that has remained consistent this year in the world of craft beer is the tried and true cadence of much-anticipated seasonal beer releases. While spring, summer and fall releases might be more frequent, a few special beers are released in the build up leading up to Christmas. Great Lakes Brewing Co‘s Christmas Ale, from the OG out of Cleveland, is one of those beers.

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Beers to Get You Through Amazon Prime Day

October 12, 2020 |

Few things are normal this year. The pandemic has even brought the time-honored, shopper-splurging tradition of Black Friday into doubt. One ritual that has remained consistent, and increased in many ways, is online shopping. So, luckily, Amazon Prime Day remains mostly unchanged this year.

Happening October 13-14, Prime Day offers shoppers a bunch of random deals, some truly odd offerings and a select few good values. Still, it’s fun to browse around and see if you can catch a purchase high getting 20% off a voice-enabled tech item you’ll use sparingly. Similarly, browsing your local bottle shop can often be more about the experience than the outcome. So, we pulled together a list of the five typical items you might encounter on Prime Day, alongside their beer comparison. 

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New Belgium #VoteVoodoo Campaign Asks Fans to Elect IPA Winner

September 28, 2020 |

New Belgium Brewing Voodoo Ranger IPA series continues to generate acclaim and demand due to its constant pursuit of variety and novelty. Alongside the original IPA, Voodoo Ranger’s year-round lineup boasts an Imperial IPA and two hazy-focused versions (American Haze and Juicy Haze). But the variants that consistently generate buzz are the new IPAs New Belgium releases three times during the year as part of its Rotating IPA series. Releases like Voodoo Ranger Starship IPA have made the Rotating IPA series New Belgium’s fifth best-selling brand overall. The latest edition provides a less-than-subtle nod to the upcoming presidential election, with New Belgium asking beer fans to #VoteVoodoo by casting their vote for either Agent 77 Voodoo Ranger IPA or Captain Dynamite Voodoo Ranger IPA by September 30. 

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A Classic, Repackaged: Why Oskar Blues is Bringing Back Pinner IPA

September 18, 2020 |

“Bring back Pinner.” It’s a sentiment shared by Oskar Blues Brewery’s biggest fans and casual beer drinkers alike. The pro-Pinner cries have spammed many an Oskar Blues’ Facebook and Instagram comment sections since it was discontinued back in summer of 2019. Pinner’s loyal following come from the beer’s ability to deliver vibrant pineapple and berry flavors with a bit of resinous hop bite in an easy-to-approach session IPA. Now, Oskar Blues’ fan-favorite session IPA, first introduced in 2014, is back by popular demand and public support, as part of the new Pack-O-Bliss Mixed Pack. Here’s a look at what Pinner fans can expect from the comeback of the classic, along with what’s new from Oskar Blues that could become cult favorites down the road. 

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Harpoon Brewery Deepens Dunkin’ Partnership with New Dunkin’ Dozen 12-Pack

September 10, 2020 |

The combination of coffee and beer continues to drive interest and sales from consumers, whether that’s through a barrel-aged stout, IPA, Porter or anything in-between. While many breweries brew one-off releases that feature local roasteries, Boston’s Harpoon Brewery continues to take things a step further with in its ongoing Dunkin’ Donuts  coffee-focused collaboration. What started as a partnership capitalizing on Boston-proximity and community quickly morphed into a headline-making co-branded beer line, which is now generating considerable buzz with the announcement of the Dunkin’ Dozen 12-pack collaboration.

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Ask the Brewers: How to Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home

August 31, 2020 |

While the actual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany, is canceled, Festbiers that celebrate the famous Bavarian tradition continue to pop-up on local store shelves across America. While some people may complain of an increasingly aggressive seasonal creep, I’m just happy to have a crisp Festbier in-hand to celebrate the latter stages of summer. While my ticket to Munich may be refunded and I won’t be donning lederhosen and dancing on tables — at least not this year — I still plan to celebrate Oktoberfest from my own home. To find out how others are getting into the spirit of the beer season and to offer tips on how to celebrate Oktoberfest while maintaining social distancing, I asked the brewers. 

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5 Questions With Austin Beerworks Co-Founder Michael Graham

August 26, 2020 |

Adaptability is vital for any business to succeed. Adapt to the needs of your customers, supply, market trends, and everything in between. In 2020, the need for brewers to adapt is more pronounced than ever due to the ongoing pandemic and the numerous business continuity problems it presents. One brewer that continues to show its expertise in adaptation is Austin Beerworks, who continue to use their voice and platform to make a difference in the Texas beer scene.

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An Ode to the Nutty | Why I Love Pistachio Cream Ales

August 24, 2020 | 1

The amount of different beer styles you’ll see on shelves at your local convenience store has exploded over the past decade. While IPAs, Pilsners and Stouts dominate shelf space, the consumer’s quest for the odd continues to push brewers to make even more outlandish offerings. Fruited sours with enough fruit purée to fill a blender. Pastry stouts that load up on sugary sweetness and eyebrow-raising adjuncts. While these newer styles might draw the hype of beer fans and secondary trading markets, they’re not for me. However, there is one beer style that I’m consistently drawn to that does feature an outlandish ingredient—pistachios. Specifically, the Pistachio Cream Ale, one of my consistently favorite beer styles to drink regardless of time or season. 

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Takeaways from Brewers Association Midyear Survey

August 10, 2020 |

This has been an incredibly tumultuous year for the craft beer industry. Alongside the obvious impacts of the pandemic, craft brewers across the nation also have to deal with an increasingly complex drinking audience and consistently fierce competition from both local and macro competitors. To assess the current state of the industry, the Brewers Association’s Bart Watson conducted his annual midyear survey to get a read on craft beer’s performance to date, the ever-growing list of challenges and maybe a fleeting slice of optimism for an industry that has been brutally impacted by the pandemic. Here are three main takeaways from Watson’s report. 

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NBA Bubble Beers? Deschutes Brewery Debuts New Rip City Lager to Cheer on Portland Trailblazers Remotely

July 29, 2020 |

The NBA’s ambitious quarantine “bubble” has delivered promising results so far in its attempts of preventing the spread of COVID-19 among NBA teams and their personnel. The hope is that the bubble can hold a brief resumption of the regular season, which starts Thursday, along with a full playoff to follow that eventually crowns a champion. One of the teams competing for the title is the Portland Trailblazers, who resume their regular season on Friday. In an effort to support their local team remotely, Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery is releasing the affectionately names Rip City Lager, so fans of the Blazers across the nation can remotely unite with a common, easy-drinking beer in-hand. 

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