AboutTaylor Laabs, Author at PorchDrinking.com
Nestled in Hawley, PA, Wallenpaupack Brewing Co. consistently churns out award-winning and fan-favorite beers that celebrate a variety of different styles. Whether you’re looking for a Pilsner, Stout, IPA or even an English Pale Mild Ale, Wallenpaupack offers a variety of beer styles with an underlying consistency in quality. One of the beer series that consistently showcases Wallenpaupack’s creativity and brewing expertise is their award-winning Lake Haze IPA series which explores and celebrates a variety of different Double IPAs from West Coast to Imperial and even coffee. The latest edition, Lake Haze #15: Morning Haze DIPA is a creative and ambitious take on how coffee can add and augment the unique flavors in a Hazy IPA.
Scroll through Instagram’s visual-forward feed, and you’ll find pictures of people celebrating life events, vacations and accomplishments—along with a heavy dose of very prescriptive sponsored posts that make you question your internet browser’s personal data collection policies. You’ll also find a bevy of new beers, pumped up by appeasing photos that appeal to both your eyes and your taste buds. While a striking photo of your latest beer to hit shelves is the standard, many breweries have taken things a step further—perhaps inspired by the poetic musings of the Dont Drink Beers Instagram account—to layer their latest beer release with passages of beer-inspired prose.
When a bet works, it’s not a bad idea to double down. California’s Firestone Walker Brewing Company bet big on the Hazy IPA trend back in 2019 with the release of Mind Haze IPA. Firestone Walker believed that they had dialed in the hops and malt bill needed to create a standout Hazy IPA with the Firestone Walker spin that would be competitive in the California – and US – landscape. And they were right. Mind Haze is a best-seller for the brewery and the Hazy IPA trend shows no signs of slowing down. Two years later, Firestone Walker is doubling down on their Hazy IPA bet with the release of Double Mind Haze – a beer that they call their “juiciest, fruitiest and haziest IPA ever.” Here are the details.
Sustaining a business for 25 years is an achievement in any industry, but it is particularly impressive in the tumultuous and unpredictable world of craft beer. Downingtown, Pennsylvania-based Victory Brewing Company has been churning out Bavarian-inspired beers and other inventive offerings since 1996, establishing itself as a pillar of the Pennsylvania beer community and as somewhat of an innovator thanks to the rampant success of its Golden Monkey Belgian Tripel brand. Being able to properly execute a variety of European-styles, with Victory’s own unique twists, has generated acclaim and a passionate following for the brewery. With the brewery celebrating 25 years in business, I asked Victory Brewing founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski about how they’ve been able to sustain success, their approach to community building, and what excites them about the craft beer market today.
Getting the proper education to professionally brew and judge craft beer is vital to finding success in the craft beer industry, yet these educational opportunities are not distributed equally. Pink Boots Society, an association designed to “assist, inspire and encourage women fermented/alcoholic beverage industry professionals to advance their careers through education,” is looking to change that. One of the best ways to advance the Pink Boots cause is through added funding and visibility, which commonly manifests through unique brewing partnerships Pink Boots works on with interested breweries.
With this in mind, Brew Pipeline, Potosi Brewery and Pink Boots Society teamed up to brew up a beer just in time for March, which is Women’s History Month. The grapefruit-forward Hefeweizen, dubbed Rosa Stiefel, or German for “pink boots,” is the latest collaboration aimed at advancing educational efforts for women looking to get into the craft beer space. Here are the details.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.