It is no secret that the 2020 Presidential Campaign is an unprecedented one. There has never been such an emphasis on people exercising their right and democratic duty to vote. Everyone from athletes, to singers and actors, to craft breweries are encouraging the public to vote this election season.
Quick aside, so my editors don’t have to put a note in: I speak only for myself in this post. PorchDrinking staff and contributors do not have any official political stance that I’m aware of, and I have no animosity for people on this site or in our country who respectfully disagree about matters of policy. Also, sorry to die-hard “West Wing” fans if I do the show a disservice. All that said… go vote.
A millennial is about to write 1,000 words arguing that a television show from 21 years ago isn’t real life. It’s the kind of groundbreaking content that’s going to save this country. You’re welcome, America!
With National Voter Registration Day just behind us and a mere seven weeks until the 2020 Presidential Election, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time for a brewery to highlight the need for all U.S. citizens to get out and vote. 903 Brewing, based in Sherman, Texas, is in the process of brewing its second bipartisan call-to-action I Voted beer. The blueberry-raspberry-cherry Berliner-Style Weisse follows the raspberry-blueberry sweet Cream Ale that kick-started the project during the May Primaries.
The I Voted beers sport equally red-white-blue packaging and are designed to encourage voters of all persuasions to make themselves heard on Election Day. With the original batch of I Voted having sold out swiftly, 903 is releasing an expanded run of its new Berliner-Style Weisse. The latest release will hit supermarket shelves in mid-October in time for early voting, and should be available for Election Night consumption.
New breweries often seem to take a few months to dial in their recipes and make great beers. Not so for 6 and 40 Brewery in Lakewood, Colorado. At their September 11 grand opening, the brewery fired on all cylinders with a wide-ranging tap list designed to satisfy every palate. 6 and 40 is connected to long-standing homebrew store Tom’s Brew Shop.
Owner Tom Schurmann explained that he created 6 and 40’s beer selection for broad appeal. “We want something for everyone,” he explained. “We have 20 selections. We’re gonna have what you like.”
On Thursday, the Illinois Craft Brewer’s Guild announced that their annual Festival of Barrel and Wood Aged Beer (FoBAB) will be among the many festivals to get cancelled because of the global pandemic. This news coincides with the cancellation of the 2021 Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival held in Breckenridge, Colorado. The ICBG mentioned in their official announcement that the annual competition and awards ceremony would still be taking place virtually. Participating breweries will be asked to send their competition beers to FoBAB where they will be judged by 50 industry leaders and certified craft beer judges.
There will be no joy in Breckenridge this January as Laura and Bill Lodge, organizers of Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines, have announced the cancellation of the 2021 event. The festival was planned for January 7-9, 2021 in Breckenridge, CO. The cancellation follows similar moves by virtually every onsite beer festival in 2020 and represents one of the first 2021 events to be canceled. It would have marked the 21st annual event.
Organizers attributed the cancellation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions on gatherings.
“Our Big Beers board has met and discussed the pandemic situation. We are very clear that our first priority as a Big Beers community needs to be supporting our sponsors and brewers throughout this bizarre and difficult time as they work hard to adapt business as necessary – and not by asking you to travel and/or otherwise support us in January of 2021,” said organizer Laura Lodge.
Lodge went on to explain that they’ve decided not to move forward with a virtual version of the event, but that they are still exploring the possibility of some scaled-down homage via newsletter or social media that would take place on the originally proposed January 2021 date.
As beer-drinkers increasingly long for festivals and celebrations to return, Purpose Brewing and Cellars seems to have found a way to throw a great party that’s both fun and safe. Purpose, located in Fort Collins, CO. celebrated their third anniversary on Aug. 1 with many of the usual features including music, special releases and an outdoor beer garden, along with pandemic-inspired additions like masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing.
Bucking the pandemic-induced trend of small businesses reducing operations or shutting down entirely, Great Divide Brewing Co. celebrated the grand opening of a new taproom in Castle Rock, Colorado, June 1. The opening of Great Divide Brewery and Roadhouse came just days after Colorado gave approval for restaurants and breweries to reopen. “We’ve got this beautiful place. Once they give you the all-clear you want to get it open,” said Great Divide marketing manager Matt Sandy.
The bar features 16 taps, along with a full-service restaurant, patio and brewhouse. The restaurant surrounds the brewhouse so customers can watch Great Divide’s brewers creating new beers.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, people across the country have been supporting the Black Lives Matter movement through protests, donations, signing petitions, calling their representatives, and more. But one more way to more directly make the craft beer industry a more diverse and welcoming community is by actively spending your money at Black-owned breweries.
We all can agree we miss happy hours at an actual bar or brewery. Thankfully, with technology and the advent of to-go beers, we are fortunate enough to be able to have virtual happy hours with friends and family. After spending roughly 42,000 hours on virtual happy hours, here are some do’s and don’ts that will help make your time online even better!
With more time to watch movies and shows, I’ve been reevaluating the importance of entertainment and imagination. One movie I’ve been thinking about is Big Fish—particularly the end where Albert Finney and Billy Crudup envision how “the story ends.” The ending they come up with is a bright visualization—a jubilant, cheerful scene where the son carries his dying father to a pond through a long stretch of smiling faces. As they walk down the hill towards the pond, the father gets a standing ovation from the dozens of quirky people who made up his remarkable (if exaggerated) life’s story.
Sometimes those kinds of visualizations are fun distractions—a daydream to pass the time. But sometimes visualizations are a coping mechanism, pure survival. It’s not news that we’re missing a lot right now. And when we miss things, it’s easy to let our minds wander and dream about what may come. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. With the help of some lovely folks in the craft beer industry, we’re going to close our eyes and imagine what it’ll be like on that first day back to life.
When President Trump signed the CARES Act on March 27, 2020, it appeared to offer a much-needed lifeline to small businesses that are suffering under the current pandemic. The act funded several programs designed to allow businesses to pay their basic expenses—particularly their employees—while under various government-mandated shutdowns and reductions in service. However, within just 13 days of the April 3, 2020, start date the $376 billion program ran out of funds, leaving many small businesses, including breweries, wondering if any assistance will be coming.
As new developments arise and things are changing as it seems almost by the hour during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be tough to keep up with which breweries are still open; in what format they are open in, if they have certain limitations (depending on the state that you’re in), and so on. The underlying factor remains the same: everyone is affected in one way or another by the growing pandemic, but we all love the craft beer community and want to find ways to continue to support one another.
What a time it is right now. The Brewers Association announced last Thursday they’ll be cancelling CBC 2020 and that was followed shortly by the Colorado Brewers Guild announcing the suspension of this year’s Collaboration Fest. The craft beer community has been diligent about updating procedures and staying on top of these changes that need to be implemented. Although it’s unclear the full impact of how COVID-19 will be affecting breweries, they’ve responded by continuing to announce temporary closures, event cancellations, or sharing their processes to help protect their employees and patrons. With the recent announcements from California, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minneapolis, Pennsylvania, and now all of Colorado asking for bar closures, which includes breweries and taprooms, we want to share ways you can continue to support your local breweries with these changes, while still being mindful of public health safety.
Houston’s beer scene continues to grow with the addition of award-winning Urban South Brewery’s first expansion outside of New Orleans. A satellite brewery, Urban South – HTX will focus on creative experimental beers in Houston’s Sawyer Yards District, including the hazy IPAs they are well-known for.
Mighty Axe Hops is an 80-acre hop farm located near Foley, Minnesota, roughly a 90-minute drive northwest from Minneapolis. It’s the largest hop farm from Michigan to Idaho and grows 13 varieties of hops.
For nearly every beer nerd or active barhopper, they have at least one type of beer-based application on their phone. In most cases, it’s Uptappd, as it’s easily the most downloaded and widely used beer application. But there are others worth taking note of, including another big name, Taphunter. And with the influx of so many craft breweries, it’s hard to keep track of everything. This is where the OpenTap app is trying to change the game a bit. This particular application focuses on only California breweries, so we reached out to the founder to learn more about his unique perspective.
In an indication of just how fast the craft beer market moves these days, earlier this week Boulder Beer Company and Sleeping Giant Brewing Company announced a partnership to bring Boulder Beer back into distribution. This comes fast on the heels of Boulder Beer’s October decision to exit distribution. Boulder Beer was to be available only in the Boulder brewpub.
Again this year dark beer lovers filled the top floor of Wynkoop Brewing Co. for some of Colorado’s best dark beer pours. Breweries from up and down Colorado’s Front Range brought heavy, dark and malty brews to Day of Darks. Meanwhile, Wynkoop supplied chocolate treats for pairing, including ice cream made with Wynkoop’s own Cowtown Milk Stout.
Brewers brought their A-game with kegs, cans, bottles and even some growlers with extra-special brews. While most beers were production-level and available at the breweries, enjoying them all in one space was certainly a great convenience. Attendees also had fun trying a handful of one-offs and pre-release beers that some breweries brought, although one had to sniff those out early as they tended to go fast.
“It’s there and then it’s not.”
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). An alarming public health crisis, the death-by-suicide rate for Americans has grown 30 percent in the last two decades. In 2017 alone, more than 47,000 Americans died by suicide. The tragedy of the suicide epidemic in the last 20 years seems to have touched all of our lives at some point. Three years ago, it touched the family of Minneapolis’ Fulton Beer.