For years, when it came to food, it was all about wine. You had to pair your meals with wine and if you were going to cook with an alcoholic beverage (aside from the typical beer can chicken) you had to cook with wine. But over the past few years, a lot has changed.
Be honest. Somewhere inside, you feel differently about companies who contract brew through other breweries. You have visions of a massive assembly line, filling beer-flavored water into bottles or cans to be shipped all over the country to unsophisticated drinkers. “Only big brands need to contract brew,” or “contractually brewed beers are INFERIOR to beers brewed in-house,” are common anecdotes heard throughout the craft community. However, this is simply not the case.
With Beer Week quickly approaching, it’s that time again to vote for our annual Best Of Awards. Over 100 people in the industry were surveyed and the top responses in each category were used to make up this years nominees. Voting starts today and will continue through May 1st.
Beer is a better partner for food than wine. It’s just that simple. For far too long, wine professionals have extolled the virtues of perfect pairings, while dismissing that beauty of the same union between beer and food. Granted, our beer selection has grown significantly in the past decade or so to include new styles, new flavors, and a focus on creating a higher quality product, which has a lot to do with it. But, a piece of that puzzle is also the stigma that beer is a working-class drink, not one for the palates of the elite.
Tying the knot without the bad banquet beers.
The enjoyment of craft beer for most has transcended just sitting back and enjoying a beer from time to time. For many, the diversity and artisanal aspects of fine beers–whether local or from around the world–has become part of a lifestyle. You may have a nice sessionable local brew at home after a long day of work. Maybe you enjoy a nice spicy and earthy saison with dinner. Or perhaps, you celebrate a victory by breaking out a finely aged bottle from the cellar. No matter what the event, there’s always a craft beer that pairs appropriately with the occasion.
In the four-tiered relationship between brewer, distributor, bar, and consumer, good beer is discussed. It’s how we create hype around a brewery’s imagination and the way it lands on our palates again and again. It’s how we give feedback to get what we want out of a product. Back in the day, these conversations buzzed around tables at craft beer fests and slowly worked their way outward by word of mouth into the small community of alternative drinkers.
Wood. The material that served as fuel for the first fires of early man, used to build what some believe was a vessel that saved all animals of the Earth, and purported by Virgil to have shaped the mighty “Wooden Horse,” that helped the Greeks defeat the Trojans around 1150 BC. Wood has been used for centuries upon centuries by modern day Man with countless uses, so it is no surprise that it has a long history in the production of one of Man’s favorite things – beer.
Although the largely diminished role wood plays in beer making today is much different than it was 100 years ago, wood is once again gaining serious recognition from brewers, the beer geek community, and better-beer lovers everywhere. Originally used more for storage and transport, wood, oak in particular, is now being used to lend its character to some of the most highly revered elixirs being produced around the world. Read more…
Otter Creek is brewing better beer the second time around.
Craft beer is a tough business. There are so many great breweries out there that it’s easy to get lost in the fray.
Sometimes you’re on top, but in trying to stay there, things get rushed, growth comes too quick and the business end gets the best of you. Unfortunately, the business aspect of craft beer is as important as any. It would be ideal to imagine craft beer being solely about making great beer and then everything running itself, but sadly it’s not. Good beer will sell itself, but that’s a wave you can only ride for so long before you need a legitimate plan of attack. There are times however, where things don’t always work out for the best and you start on a sad, downward spiral of events that lead to your potential demise. Thankfully, it doesn’t always have to be New Year’s Day to start over. Sometimes it can be out of nowhere and unexpected at 8:30 in the evening on January 8th; a day like any other. Read more…
From apples to pint glasses, cider is a beverage rich with history.
Pennsylvania is said to get the best of all four seasons, particularly with the hue of leaves morphing from rich shades of green to crimson, burnt orange, gold and brown – the same colors you’ll find of apples as autumn comes upon us. The nights get cooler and longer, hoodies become mandatory, märzens and pumpkin beers flow freely, and we toast our friends and loved ones at holiday dinners. Read more…
How Dan Shelton changed the beer world, one opinion at a time.
“I have no doubt about it! Beer geeks always think it’s subjective and you’re always biased when you say something about a beer because you own the business and are just trying to sell it. It’s the hugest portfolio, we oughta have a few in it you would think.” Ask Dan Shelton his opinion on the quality of his beer portfolio and this is what he’ll say. Filled with passion and opinions, Dan has built what he honestly believes to be the greatest portfolio of beer in existence. With the likes of Cantillon and Mikkeller in it, it’s hard to argue the quality of such a portfolio, but sometimes you have to be willing to leave your foxhole and take some heat to prove what you truly believe to be yours. Read more…