Happy National Wine Day! With May 25 denoting a day dedicated to wine, it was time for the PorchDrinking to think about how it could be flipped to involve beer. What better way to shift the focus than to incorporate both? Wine barrel-aged beers have become increasingly popular in recent years as craft beer drinkers are seeking for something different and something to expand their horizons. Below we’ll discuss some of the most notable wine barrel-aged beers that I’ve had the chance to try to date, and how the aging process has impacted the quality and characteristics of these beers.
After a five-day excursion with my beer-loving parents through Western Michigan and Traverse City, I’ve come back enamored with many of the local brews… and about five pounds heavier. But it was all worth it: every single brew, cheese board, burger and beer flight. During the trip, we visited over 20 breweries throughout Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Marshall, Ludington and Traverse City. Some were massive, others were upstarts, but each left an impression. To make my recap as readable as possible, I’ve decided to divide my thoughts up into regions, starting with the focal point: Grand Rapids, and the additional visits we took to Bell’s, Dark Horse and Starving Artist located in Kalamazoo, Marshall and Ludington respectively. Here are my highlights.
Full disclosure, I’m a 20-year Navy veteran. In studying breweries, and meeting with their owners, it became clear that a huge number of those brewery owners had also served time in the armed forces, in fact, a much larger number than you would expect statistically.
Earlier this month, April 2, Melvin Brewing celebrated its third annual 2×4 Day, an international unofficial holiday created by the Jackson, WY-based brewery to commemorate the success of their highly decorated 2×4 Double IPA. The flagship beer has garnered top honors at the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, North American Beer Awards, and the 2018 edition of 2×4 Day saw satellite celebrations at 40 locations across six countries.
When I moved from Washington, D.C. to Denver this past summer, my goal was to leave behind the hamster wheel that is political journalism. But in doing so, I was forced to make a sacrifice I hadn’t prepared for: leaving behind my favorite hamburger joint (Fuddruckers), which does not have a presence in Colorado.
To be sure, there are plenty of burger proprietors in the Mile High City, but I loathe having to choose between a customizable patty, decent sides and a flavorful beer list—you know, with options that offer more than merely an alternate source of hydration to water. With the addition of Cherry Cricket’s new location across from Coors Field, my problem appears to have been solved.
The craft beer movement in the US has forever changed the definition of beer. The grapefruit and pine flavors of the cascade hop catalyzed a revolution in the late 1970’s that couldn’t be stopped. Brewers revived old styles, improved on current styles, and created entirely new ones at an astonishing speed.
This weekend, WeldWerks Brewing, one of America’s most buzzed-about breweries, will celebrate its third anniversary with three days of special tappings and bottle releases.
During their first three years of operation, the Greeley, CO-based brewery has earned a gold medal victory at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category for Medianoche, and a silver medal for their Hefeweizen in the American Style Wheat Beer with Yeast category at both GABF and the US Open Beer Championship in 2015, and a bronze for Puesta del Sol, their Vienna-style Lager at the 2016 World Beer Cup. They’re also currently in the finals for USA Today’s For the Win Craft Beer Bracket for the Best Brewery in America and was named USA Today’s Best New Brewery in a 2016 10Best Reader’s Poll.
Will you serve food? It’s a question every brewery that’s getting ready to open a taproom will be asked.
In Chicago, there are a lot of taprooms. Food is a necessity when drinking, and taprooms handle this issue in all different ways. While some have a full menu, others work with food trucks to stop by on a regular schedule and others are simply BYOF (bring your own food).
Stem Ciders is finally branching out, they’ve taken root in Lafayette and they’re sprouting a restaurant concept. Whatever punny way you wish to view it, one thing’s certain, Stem Ciders, which first opened in the River North Art District in January 2014, will open their Acreage Cider House restaurant and production facility this Saturday just over 20 miles north in Lafayette, CO.
Perhaps the beer industry’s greatest triumph is its ability to bring people together. No other event better epitomizes that ethos than Denver’s Collaboration Fest. Now in its fifth year, one of the country’s greatest celebrations of craft beer’s collaborative spirit is looking to extend that sense of communal brewing to an even wider audience.
Similar to writers, who most often draw inspiration from their own surroundings, it’s not surprising to find that brewers often draw inspiration from their own passions as well. However, when those passions center around rock climbing, one would assume that any crossover might only extend to post-workout beers. That said, Wynkoop Brewing has never shied away from brewing with unorthodox ingredients, gaining acclaim for successfully brewing a beer with Rocky Mountain Oysters. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Wynkoop would be the ones to brew a beer with rock climbing chalk.
Just like in any other city, Seattle has its fair share of beer celebrities. The electricity that craft pulses through this town, not to mention the quality of the drinks themselves, make it near impossible not to point and whisper when some of our favorite owners or brewers make cameos in their respective taprooms. So, when I sat down with Rose Ann and Charles Finkel, owners and founders of The Pike Brewing Company, and some of the original craft pioneers in Seattle, I couldn’t help but be just a bit starstruck.
One of the greatest byproducts of the booming craft beer industry is the ability for breweries to utilize their resources as a conduit for positive change in the community. Wynkoop Brewing, Denver’s oldest active running brewery, is one many that have embraced the practice of charitable giving, recently launching a Charity Tap of the Month program.
In an age when names like Assassin, CBS, Duck Duck Gooze, Hunahpu and Medianoche are uttered with extreme reverence among craft beer fanatics, Russian River Brewing‘s Pliny the Younger still manages to carry the same clout and cult following well over a decade after its debut.
When Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his slumber, the fate of the winter is in his furry little paws. Will spring come early, or will winter be sticking around for six extra weeks? This change in season doesn’t only affect the weather but also the beers that we’ll be drinking. Northeast Region Editor Dan Bortz and writer Constance Del Rio are about to engage in a verbal Battle Royale about whether or not they’d like the groundhog to see his shadow. This is the Great Groundhog Day Showdown!
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Let us know in the comments!
It’s time once again for PorchDrinking’s 2018 Super Bowl Bingo Cards for Super Bowl 52. In addition to the entertainment of seeing who can inhale the most combinations of cheese dips in one sitting, we’ve created bingo boards for your party-goers’ enjoyment. Each square should be crossed off as they occur. And sure since this is PorchDrinking, take a drink each time you cross off a square.
Tony Magee started his brewery dream back in 1993 in Lagunitas, California. The goal was to create bombastic beers that teemed with the plentiful hops found on the West Coast, and to have a lot of fun doing it. Originally an Illinois native, Tony has grown into somewhat of a national celebrity when it comes to craft beer due to his unique brewing practices that led to creations like Undercover Shut Down Ale, his outspoken personality, and the great beers his brewery(s) have produced since his early days.
Now, Lagunitas Brewing Company is an international power, its IPA is the current #1 best seller in packaged formats and they produced around one million barrels of beer last year. In many ways, Magee’s creation is the perfect example of craft beer’s explosive growth over the past two decades. But then again, Lagunitas is an outlier in the current craft beer environment. They’re not like your standard brewpub or trendy hazy IPA factory. If you’ve visited their massive 300,000 sq. foot Chicago brewery facility, decorated with secondhand furniture and mind-melting dog murals, you’d recognize that. As craft beer infiltrates every last avenue of American consumerism, Lagunitas has found a way to stay weird. I asked Karen Hamilton, Lagunitas’ Communications Director and Tony’s sister, how they’ve been able to stay true to their brand for 25 years.
Super Bowl LII is barreling toward Minneapolis. The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots are going to clash in a David and Goliath showdown, which will hopefully be a game for the ages. As a lifelong Eagles fan, I hope the Birds give the Patriots the thrashing of their lives. As if the game wasn’t going to be fun enough already, breweries in the teams’ hometowns are placing a little bet on the big game. Just as you would expect, it all started on Twitter.
Much to the dismay of Colorado’s powder hounds, its taken a little longer than expected for the Centennial State to feel full effects of winter this season. However, as we’ve inched toward February (Colorado’s official Stout Month thanks to the Mountain Sun Breweries), temperatures have dropped, and it’s finally time to embrace the bounty of prolific dark and roasty stouts this state has to offer. As we look back on all of the tremendous beers consumed in 2017, our staff took some time to share their picks for Colorado’s best stouts from the past year.
Episode 47 of the PorchCast had Tristan, Hunter and Sam recording from the Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, CO. In town for the special occasion was Matt Brynildson, brewmaster for Firestone Walker and Neil Fisher, co-founder and brewmaster for WeldWerks Brewing in Greeley, CO.