While Oktoberfest style beers and Pumpkin Ales get all the attention as summer turns to fall, true beer fans know what September brings: fresh hop season. Fresh hops or wet hops, depending on who you talk to, are only available for an extremely limited time frame and are usually brewed within a day of being picked. Their distinct flavor and unmistakable aroma are as exciting for brewers as they are for beer fans. But the story doesn’t start with the harvest—it starts years earlier under the care of hops farmers.
With fresh hop season quickly approaching, we chatted with Jake TeSelle, founder of Crooked Yard Hops, to discuss every beer lover’s favorite ingredient: hops.
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.
Every year a handful of breweries burst onto the scene and seem to gain overwhelming popularity overnight. These breweries are often coveted in trading circles and are setting the tone in their local communities. A brewery that one could say fits into this category is Mountains Walking. Mountains Walking in Bozeman, Montana has been open for a couple of years now and has quietly been perfecting their craft and people have been taking notice in 2020.
To mark this year’s pandemic-extended July 15 Tax Day, we talked with Bargersville, IN-based Taxman Brewing Company‘s co-owner and chief production officer, Colin McCloy. Normally the brewery hosts an annual Death & Taxes Day festival around April 15. However, much like the IRS, the brewery had to delay the festival. This year’s festival is planned for August 29, 2020.
Taxman’s Belgian-style Ales and farm-to-table restaurant menu reflect the owners’ love and passion for Belgian culture. Their enthusiasm for beer also extends into American Farmhouse Ales and Midwest Saisons, along with a strong barrel-aging program. The brewery operates a 20-barrel brewhouse plus several satellite restaurant/taprooms in central Indiana.
For old-school craft beer drinkers, Pyramid Brewing, with its iconic label featuring a double pyramid and evoking the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, is one of the tried and true originals. For many, their Hefeweizen, Wheaten, Apricot Ale or Outburst Imperial IPA was the gateway to quality craft beer. The times have changed, but the quality of Pyramid’s beer hasn’t.
A decade can feel like a lifetime in the craft beer industry. Such is the case for Denver’s Strange Craft Beer Company, who last Tuesday celebrated their 10 year anniversary. When they first opened in 2010, they became just the 10th brewery in operation at the time within the city of Denver, and now that number has swelled to approximately 80.
Chicago’s Maplewood Brewery & Distillery has produced excellent beers and spirits from their quaint brewpub since 2014. Their 10BBL and 250L Kothe hybrid brewhouse is easily viewed from one of several plush chairs that adorns their always-popular “Lounge” space that looks into the brewhouse through several large windows. With beers like Son of Juice IPA, Fat Pug Oatmeal Milk Stout and Charlatan Pale Ale, lines to get into the Maplewood Lounge are frequent and long—especially on a nice Saturday. Although the in-person bar visits have stopped (for now) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maplewood’s popularity within its Logan Square and larger Chicago craft beer community remains. To find out more about what makes the small but mighty operation hum, how Maplewood has adjusted its business to current times and what comes next, we asked Co-Owner and Head Brewer Adam Cieslak five questions.
In honor of what would have been Tax Day, April 15, it seemed appropriate to chat with co-owner and chief production officer Colin McCloy of Taxman Brewing Company in Bargersville, Indiana. This is normally a celebratory time for the brewery as it hosts the annual Death & Taxes Day festival. However, much like the IRS has extended Tax Day to July, the brewery had to reschedule the festival for late August.
Taxman’s Belgian-style Ales and farm-to-table restaurant menu reflect the owners’ love and passion for Belgian culture. Their enthusiasm for beer also extends into American farmhouse Ales and Midwest Saisons, along with a strong barrel-aging program. The brewery operates a 20-barrel brewhouse plus several satellite restaurant/taprooms in central Indiana.
The art of brewing beer varies by region, brewer and brewing style. Many brewers find their niche in one style or art-form, craft their beer to perfection and become famous for it. That’s the case for esteemed Rodenbach Brewery in Roeselare, Belgium, which brews oak foeder-aged sour Ales that have led the way for the category for almost two centuries. Their most popular offering is the simply named Rodenbach Classic, a standard-bearer Flanders red Ale that effuses the precision and expertise of Rodenbach’s master blenders and brewers.
Perhaps Rodenbach’s most well-known brewer is Rudi Ghequire. A Rodenbach brewmaster since 1982, Ghequire has walked the hallways in their massive foeder-filled brewhouse more times than he can count. Foeders are special to Rodenbach and they are special to Ghequire. Yet, many beer drinkers, myself included, are not fully aware of the magic of foeder-aged beers, the flavors that blending foeder-aged beers creates and the expertise needed to delicately create these offerings. To find out more about foeders and what makes Rodenbach’s foeder program special, I asked Ghequire five questions.
The rapid contortion and contraction of today’s U.S. craft beer markets present opportunities for both brewers young and old to capitalize on the American passion for high-quality beer. While the OGs of American craft beer like Sierra Nevada and Anchor Brewing continue to churn out quality beer, there’s an even older subset of international breweries looking to make their own inroads beyond their traditional Oktoberfest imports.
Lexington, Kentucky’s West Sixth Brewing (named brilliantly for the street corner on which it resides) started as a humble little brewery back in 2012 when Kentucky was barely a blip on the craft brewing radar. At the time, Kentucky had only 14 breweries and ranked near the bottom of the Brewer’s Association 2012 list of US breweries per capita at 43.
Craft brewing in Kentucky has exploded since then, with West Sixth being particularly successful, albeit through an unconventional definition of success. Their focus on community, sustainability, ethics and keeping things local has served them well. To learn more about why this model has worked for them and to get their thoughts on the future of the industry as a whole, we posed five (okay, six) questions to West Sixth’s Creative Director, Kelly Hieronymus, and co-founder Ben Self.
Last month, Legacy Breweries, one of craft beer’s newest upstart brewing conglomerates, followed up their first major acquisition last year, of Eugene-based Ninkasi Brewery, by adding Aspen Brewing and Portland’s Laurelwood Brewing to the fold. The two acquisitions also follow …
Winning something once is tough. Repeating that successful feat is an even tougher task. So, when Cincinnati-based Brink Brewing won GABF gold for “Very Small Brewing Company” for a second consecutive year, a lot of people took notice – myself included. As a young operation, volatility and uncertainty are commonplace. Making good beer, consistently, at a profit, is an arduous task that not many can master. Building a loyal drinking base and gaining accolades for your creations become even more difficult as you try to keep your core business afloat. This is what makes the work of Head Brewer Kelly Montgomery even more impressive. To find out more about the success of their small but stout operation, their reaction to GABF gold, and what comes next, we posed 5 questions to Brink Brewing’s Kelly Montgomery.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is an iconic beer brand is steeped in rich tradition. Its malty Pale Ale is a classic while the brewery’s barrel-aged creations, such as its Narwhal Imperial Stout, continue to garner praise year after year. And starting in 2015, the brewery engaged in yet another tradition that’s brought the Sierra Nevada even more attention: Sierra Nevada began partnering with German breweries to brew a seasonal Oktoberfest Märzen made available to U.S. beer drinkers.
Each year’s creation is different; some bold, some spicy, but each notably unique and drinkable. This year, Sierra Nevada partnered with Germany’s Bitburger Brewery on the newest Oktoberfest release, which is now out on shelves. To find out more about this year’s partnership, the proprietary ingredients that went into the brewing process, and what consumers should look for in this Oktoberfest, we asked Sierra Nevada’s Chief Commercial Officer Joe Whitney five questions.
In order to stand out as a new brewery in one of the country’s most densely populated beer cities, you need make incredible beer, you have to bring something different to the table, you must maintain discipline, and you have to have a strong business plan.