The goal of any brewery should be to produce great beer and positively impact their community. Many breweries have this similar mission, but few are as mission-driven as Savannah-based Service Brewing Co.
Electricity pulsed through the growing line outside of Fremont Brewing’s Frēlard Production Facility in Seattle, Washington. Growing by the minute, fanatics of Fremont Brewing eagerly hopped up and down, greeted old friends and excitedly developing strategies around bottle purchases. Though it would be a safe assumption that the people in line weren’t strangers to the concept of waiting for craft beer, this line was for a reward much greater than any special release. This line was for the crème de la crème of craft beer events in the city – the Heron Hunting Club’s annual get-together.
This event, put on in celebration of Fremont’s Heron Hunting Club – a group comprised of and dedicated to the breweries’ most loyal and ardent fans, is a prime example of a trend sweeping through craft beer: Programs and clubs, sponsored and created by breweries, that reward their most diehard patrons by offering exclusive, intimate experiences and benefits.
There’s few things darker than standing in a pitch black cave. The lack of light heightens your other senses immensely. As the lights went out in the famed Grand Rapids barrel storage cave of Founders Brewing Co., my nose lit up with the smell that any barrel-aged beer fan should be familiar with—bourbon. Founders’ head cellarman Jason Heystek is used to it by now, just like he’s used to scaling the rows of bourbon, tequila and wine barrels that line the former gypsum mine. Five minutes into our tour of the caves, Jason had already found a comfortable seat on-top of a KBS barrel. Much like the booze-soaked liquid that warms the body, Jason exudes a sense of comfort and enjoyment that reverberated throughout the group, making our tour almost 90 feet underneath Grand Rapids, a truly unforgettable experience.
Thanks to the permeation of their ad campaign throughout Chicago, my initial impression of Traverse City was that there was going to a brewery every block. That turned out not to be true – and that’s probably a good thing. While a good deal of breweries can be reached via a leisurely stroll on Front St., a lot of the other worthwhile spots are a bit more spaced out, which forces you to explore the unique history and scenery that makes Traverse City one of the better tourist destinations in the Midwest. We got the chance to experience a good deal of what the city had to offer through a variety of brewery stops on Saturday and Sunday, along with a trip up the peninsula to visit the Old Mission Lighthouse and the scenic grounds of the Jolly Pumpkin brewpub. Here are my highlights.
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.