Have you ever tried a beer that was so unexpectedly good that you immediately exclaimed your surprise at its serendipitous deliciousness out loud? Maybe it was another beer, but probably it was DuClaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Jesus! Peanut Butter Porter.
Disclaimer: The author of this zine, David Nilsen, writes for PorchDrinking.
Becoming incredibly good at something takes a lot of time, effort and patience. In our constant need for instant gratification and expectation to be perfect at something the first time you do it, it becomes more and more rare to find a true expert. Do you think that a master woodworker was making a canoe during their first time using an oscillating saw? Or an Advanced sommelier knew how to tell what region of France a grape was from when they were 21? No. That’s why when someone shares their expertise and encourages others to learn from the time and effort they have put in, it’s a gift.
The first brewery cast in the Spotlight in 2023, Phase Three Brewing is a welcomed addition to this growing series. A culmination of three phases of built relationships, experience and passion, the story behind this young brewery never ceases to garner continued support. We had the opportunity to speak with Shaun Berns, co-founder and Head Brewer at Phase Three, to not only learn more about his passion project as a whole but to hear specifically about their impressive barrel program that has people across the country talking.
Hi-Wire Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina, won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2021 for a beer its brewers weren’t even sure was going to be any good. Their Japanese Dry Rice Lager earned the hardware in the Experimental Beer category, a catch-all for anything too weird for the nearly 100 other categories judged each year. Typical winners have included an Arnold Palmer-inspired Berliner Weisse and a Sour Rye Saison aged on Prickly Pear Cactus. So what was so unusual about this Rice Lager, a beer that — on the surface — was as simple and unassuming as any beer at the festival?
Blink and you’ll miss it – 2022 did not slow down for anyone, it seems. It was a busy year in beer, as the industry continues to grow in Georgia, despite the limiting legislation in the state. Whether it be an individual beer, a brand new location, or a great event, there’s a good chance your favorite brewery made 2022 better for you.
After an extended Holiday Hiatus, the Spotlight is back and featuring a true powerhouse from the Rockies: WeldWerks Brewing. From humble beginnings in a Colorado garage in 2009 to a friendly wager at the 2014 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, Neil Fisher and WeldWerks Brewery finally made its long-awaited debut in 2015 in Greeley, CO.
The coming together of brewers and winemakers mixed with the art of blending and barrels is the genesis of Firestone Walker Brewing Company Anniversary Ale.
Ohio is much more than the butt of TikTok jokes. We’re perenially hovering around the top five craft beer-producing states by volume, and bring in a healthy haul of medals at every World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, and Festival of Barrel-Aged Beer. With numerous mid-sized big cities, Ohio has countless beercation destinations for the beer savvy traveler. Here are my picks for the noteworthy beers, breweries, and stories of 2022 in Ohio beer.
Seventh Son Brewing opened in the historic Italian Village neighborhood of Columbus, OH, in April 2013. Their beer was good and their taproom was friendly and inviting—obvious prerequisites for success—and they set about doing what many other breweries around the country had done before them and have done since: offering classic American craft styles in a communal, social atmosphere.
Mexican beer has come a long way from the thin-bodied, flavorless yellow beverage chugged poolside on spring break. These days there’s a burgeoning Mexican craft beer scene featuring the robust and flavorful styles that craft beer lovers are familiar with.
Welcome to Round 3 of the Spotlight! For this installment all eyes are on Horus Aged Ales, a one-man operation out of Oceanside, CA. Kyle Harrop, the mastermind behind Horus, originally established himself in 2015. From there, he progressed it from a humble homebrew operation into what it has become today. Through experimental barrel-aging, unique adjunct additions, and countless collaborations with breweries all over the country, Horus has been able to stand out in one of the most competitive beer regions in the United States. We had the opportunity to pick Kyle’s brain and learn more about the methods and techniques he uses, and gain some further insight into what makes his barrel program successful.
Entering the Barrel Room Spotlight for round two is another young but quickly-growing brewery out of Avon, New York. Since opening their doors in 2018, Mortalis Brewing has striven to create a portfolio of beers that both utilize the finest ingredients and break the mold to stand out in a competitive market. Beyond that, they want their beers to be enjoyed in a relaxed environment that promotes memorable and heartfelt human connection. Through this unpretentious and admirable formula, Mortalis has also succeeded in establishing a strong program of barrel-aged beers. We had the opportunity to speak with Paul Grenier, one of the co-owners of Mortalis Brewing, and really get a “behind-the-scenes” look at the inner workings of their barrel room.
It may not be a presidential election year, but it feels like the stakes are higher this year than any other midterm election year in recent memory. With highly combustible perspectives on initiatives like reproductive rights, immigration, inflation, gun violence, and election fraud all weighing heavily on the country it feels like a major turning point for the country.
With as stressful and anxiety-ridden as this election might be, we thought we’d lighten up the room a bit by reviving our Midterm Election Night Drinking Game. If anything, pour yourself a few glasses of something nice and easy-drinking and find solace in the fact that you now have a two-year reprieve from political mailers, robocalls, and SPAM texts.
So kick back, take a deep breath, and enjoy a bit of levity with our 2022 Midterm Election Night Drinking Game. Keep in mind, that we in no way recommend that you actually adhere to the rules presented below as you would assuredly require a trip to the hospital. This post was meant as a parody. Please drink responsibly.
The results are IN and we now know all of the big award winners from this year’s 2022 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB). This year’s 20th anniversary of FoBAB was once again a spectacular success with over 160 breweries showcasing the country’s absolute best producers in the wood and barrel-aged beer categories.
District Brew Yards is well-known within the West Loop of Chicago as a pour-your-own beer hall with four different breweries in operation. After looking for expansion opportunities throughout the past year, the previous Ram Brewing location in Wheeling, Illinois was the perfect fit. The current West Loop location has four breweries in residency: Around the Bend Beer Co, Burnt City Brewing, Twisted Hippo and Casa Humilde Cerveceria. At the Wheeling location, customers will find these four breweries, as well as Histrionic Brewlab. In addition to these five breweries, there is an Added Libations Tab, where ciders and wines will be available.
As warmer days begin to dwindle and the daylight hours dissipate, it feels only natural for our taste preferences to evolve accordingly. The onset of colder weather, as well as the arrival of the holiday season, always feels like a natural signal for beer drinkers to shift their focus toward boozier, barrel-aged Stouts. In addition to the perceived liquid layer of warmth, these specialty releases also feel fitting for gifting or saving for special occasions, which become more bountiful as the end of the year draws nearer.
Coincidentally, in celebration of International Stout Day, we decided to showcase the country’s best breweries for barrel-aged Stouts. This post was co-authored by Tristan Chan, Eric Griffin, Alysia Shoemaker, and Britt Antley.
This post was made possible with the support of Laws Whiskey House. In addition to their no-shortcuts approach toward producing world-class whiskey. They also have lent their barrels to some of the best barrel-aged beers in the country. Explore more at www.lawswhiskeyhouse.com
While many breweries may claim it to be unspoken, there has undoubtedly been good-spirited competition across the country when it comes to the realm of barrel-aging. Whether it be the value placed on selected barrels versus adjuncts, formulas for length of aging time to establish a specific finishing gravity, tweaking the interplay of base malt and barrel, or the variation of countless other factors throughout the process, every brewery has their own way of creating a product that is both unique and marketable.
Beer Is Art | Obakeng Malope’s Campaign to Lift South Africa’s Youth Out of Poverty Through Craft BeerOctober 14, 2022 | Ruvani de Silva
Obakeng Malope has a mission. The South African brewer and filmmaker has started a project blending beer culture and social change with enormous scope on both a national and international level, and her hard work and tenacity has already led to significant press and multi-national collaboration.
Malope is the creator of Beer Is Art, an initiative to offer access to the craft beer industry to South Africa’s unemployed young people. In the second quarter of 2022, 4.8 million 15-34 year old South Africans were unemployed, 46.5% of the population in that age group. Malope believes that the growing South African craft beer industry has the potential to help lift some of these young people out of poverty. “The youth are sitting at home unemployed here in South Africa. The campaign teaches about beer, that beer is not something that you drink and get drunk off. We teach beer and food pairing, brewing, beer podcasting and licensing. We show them that they can turn beer into a career,” she says.
Spooky season is upon us and we’re thinking back to some of our favorite beers over the last month or so. Schedules and holiday plans are probably dotting your calendars already as the football season rolls on and winter sports are about to start. The positive thing about having such chaotic weeks lately is that beers have tasted really great. Each one allows for that small break from reality for just a few minutes. As always, we hope you’ve had some of these beers we loved, too.
For an industry so tightly built around togetherness and community, the pandemic could have easily crippled many aspects that came to define the very fabric of craft beer. But the digital age has helped us to adapt quickly and for one online beer community, it was the perfect opportunity to serve as a resource for togetherness at a time when connecting in person was prohibited.