Great Lakes Brewing News December 2014/January 2015 : Page 1
COMMUNITY BEER WORKS FOR YOU By B Brian ri an M Meyer ey er Ethan Cox raise a glass to Embeer Buffalo. mid a thirsty Buffalo landscape, several friends and fellow brew-ers got together in the spring of 2010 at Mister Goodbar. Ethan Cox of WNY Media and Rudybob Watkins, along with friend and librarian Dan Conley and about 20 other interested friends and brewers alike talked about forming a "home-brew collective"—a shared space stocked with brewing equipment that could be used by any of the members. After meeting a few times to discuss the proj-ect, it quickly became obvi-bv vi-ous that both in terms of scope cope and expense, the idea wouldn’t uldn’t pan out. The thirst didn't end there. This wasn't Cox's first attempt to try and make something happen beer-wise in By Alex Placito COMMUNITYISTS. L-R Dan Conley, Assitant brewer Robert Turley and A PHOTO BY JENNIFER REED ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM he months of November through January are brim-ming with holidays, which means you’re bound to celebrate at least once dur-ing this chunk of the calendar, and most likely quite te e a few times. Luckily, craft breweries es s across the country know this and are a here to help. Most breweries hold d the winter holiday season near and dear, e ar, as it’s the perfect time of year to release some pretty special beers. . Generally speaking, holiday and winter beers are often dark, higher er r in alcohol, and spiced just right. This doesn’t mean every holiday beer needs to taste like a ginger-bread man. Many breweries use this time of year to come out with bitter, hop-forward beers that have just enough alcohol to keep us warm while feeding our need for the ever-necessary bining flower. When you’re done shopping and it’s dark at 5 PM, you’ll probably need a good beer. To help you with this act of relaxation we’ve gone ahead and made your shop-ping/gift list up for you. In keeping with the ever-popular 12 Days of Christmas, we’ve compiled the 12 Beers of the Holidays Holid da (and maybe a few more). From m a special beer from Shmaltz Brew Brewing in to a beer that started life as mistake, there’s enough on this list a mi ist warm even the biggest of Grinch’s to w wa hearts. he ar Victory Winter Cheers : While we just mentioned that W most winter beers are dark and mo m hi h high in alcohol, we start off with a big exception to that rule, Victory Brewing’s Winter Cheers. This unique 6.7% abv wheat ale uses German wheat See 12 Beers p. 3 Buffalo. "At that time, if I was angling to do any kind of a beer business, it would have been some kind of brewery pub." Shortly thereafter Mike Shatzel purchased the old Merlin's pub on Elmwood Ave and announced his plan to put in the Blue B Monk. At that point Ethan thought, p "well, if we really " want w to make beer, we w should just make beer." be Ethan, Rudy and an Dan (as well as Greg Gr Patterson-Tanski, another fellow home-ano brewer brew interested in the collective) ended up c discussing how they may discus d still able to start a nano-stil ll be a brewery in Buffalo. "I don't think Bu I can," was Dan’s initial reaction. It was a big idea, for sure. Ethan was tenacious, See Community p. 4 INSIDE Event Calendar .....................2 Beer Beacon .........................6 The Beer Queendom ............8 Homebrew ............................. 10 Beers To Us! .......................25 Map/Directory................ 18-23 State by State News Pennsylvania . 12 Ohio ............... 13 Michigan ........ 14 SW Michigan . 15 SE Michigan .. 16 Indiana .......... 24 Illinois ........... 26 Chicago ......... 27 Wisconsin ..... 28 N Wisconsin .. 29 Minnesota ...... 30 Ontario .......... 32 New York ....... 34
12 Beers To Get The Holiday Season Started
The months of November through January are brimming with holidays, which means you’re bound to celebrate at least once during this chunk of the calendar, and most likely quite a few times. Luckily, craft breweries across the country know this and are here to help. Most breweries hold the winter holiday season near and dear, as it’s the perfect time of year to release some pretty special beers. Generally speaking, holiday and winter beers are often dark, higher in alcohol, and spiced just right. This doesn’t mean every holiday beer needs to taste like a gingerbread man. Many breweries use this time of year to come out with bitter, hop-forward beers that have just enough alcohol to keep us warm while feeding our need for the ever-necessary bining flower.
When you’re done shopping and it’s dark at 5 PM, you’ll probably need a good beer. To help you with this act of relaxation we’ve gone ahead and made your shopping/ gift list up for you. In keeping with the ever-popular 12 Days of Christmas, we’ve compiled the 12 Beers of the Holidays (and maybe a few more). From a special beer from Shmaltz Brewing to a beer that started life as a mistake, there’s enough on this list to warm even the biggest of Grinch’s hearts.
Victory Winter Cheers: While we just mentioned that most winter beers are dark and high in alcohol, we start off with big exception to that rule, Victory Brewing’s Winter Cheers. This unique 6.7% abv wheat ale uses German wheat as well as barley malts and oats to give it a light body. Whole flower Tettnang and Citra hops give this wheat beer a unique citrus flavor that, with the spicy notes and hints of banana, makes for a perfect winter beer.
Anchor – Christmas Ale: Not wanting to be tied down to a specific style year after year, Anchor Brewing decided they would rather brew a different beer each holiday season and to mark this, they would add a slightly different label to each release in the way of a different tree each year. Anchor relies on your trust with this beer, as the style and specifics on each release are hard to come by, and the recipes themselves are never released. Trust us, though, we haven’t had a bad one yet.
Lagunitas – Brown Shugga: What started off as a mistake when brewing a batch of Olde Gnarleywine back in 1997, this staple of the winter months shows that even when you make a mistake, the beer can turn out great. Coming in at 9.99% abv, it’s definitely a beer that will keep you warm when it’s cold outside.
Deschutes – Jubelale: Deschutes may be new to the Pittsburgh market, but this member of the Class of ’88 is far from new when it comes to making great beer. Their winter offering comes in the form of Jubelale, a “festive winter ale” with 6.7% abv and a hop bill featuring Nugget, Cascade, Willamette, Stryian, Tettnang, and East Kent Goldings. Expect to taste chicory, dried fruit, and notes of toffee along with a good hop kick for an all around great winter beer.
Southern Tier – 2xMas: You’ve probably never heard of a Nordic drink called Glogg before, so you’ll have to trust that when Southern Tier Brewing decided to brew their 2xMas ale with the spices from this drink in mind, it was a good idea. At 8% abv, this beer features figs, orange peels, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and ginger. While Glogg is a warm alcoholic beverage, Southern Tier recommends their beer be served cold.
Tröegs – Mad Elf: Possibly the best holiday beer in this list, Tröegs Mad Elf combines cherries, honey, chocolate malt, and spicy Belgian yeast to make a truly amazing beer. Sweet, spicy, and excellently warming with its 11% abv, Mad Elf is perfect when fresh and even better with 2-3 years of age under its belt. If you haven’t tried Mad Elf yet, make this year your first; you’ll be glad you did.
Sierra Nevada – Celebration Ale: Not all holiday beers have to be spiced and dark to be great. For many hop lovers the season is noticeably lacking. For this reason Sierra Nevada created their Celebration Ale, an American IPA that is bright and very hop forward. Celebration Ale weighs in at 6.8% abv and features zero spices or dark malts, and it is a true fresh hop beer through and through. If you’re looking for a change from the other beers this season, give Celebration Ale a try.
He’Brew – Jewbelation 18: Every year Shmaltz Brewing releases a very special beer just in time for the holiday season to celebrate their anniversary. This year, for their 18th anniversary they are releasing Jewbelation 18. Jewbelation 18 features 18 different malts as well as 18 different hops. The ABV has been toned down this year to what founder Jeremy Cowan calls a “delightfully sessionable” 12.4% abv. This year’s beer is a black barleywine style ale and should prove to be one of the best releases yet.
Penn Brewery – St. Nikolaus Bock: Penn Brewery continues their yearly release of St. Nikolaus Bock this year, letting us get yet another chance to taste this award-winning beer. Coming in at 6.5% abv, St Nikolaus uses Munich and chocolate malt as well as Perle hops to give the beer a toasty malt body with just enough alcoholic warmness. While the beer has no added spices, the combination of hops, yeast, and malts give it a natural spiciness that fits the season very well.
Thirsty Dog – 12 Dogs of Christmas: This winter warmer beer features an abv rating of 8.3% and uses toasted and caramel malts as the backbone of a truly great holiday beer. 12 Dogs is spiced with honey, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, giving it a real holiday taste while keeping it not too sweet or spicy. Along with the spice is just enough bitterness to match the 8.3% abv and balance everything out.
21st Amendment – Fireside Chat: The only canned beer in our list is the holiday offering from 21st Amendment. Fireside Chat is somewhat bitter with 45 IBUs and spiced with traditional holiday spices as well as cocoa nibs, and comes in at 7.9% abv. 21st Amendment uses seven different malts and two different hops to give Fireside Chat its body and taste. The base of this beer is an English-style ale that’s improved with spices and additional alcohol.
Bell’s – Christmas Ale: While most brewers release higher gravity beers during the holidays (ideally to help us with shopping, family, and snowy weather), Bell’s decided to go the opposite route. Their Christmas Ale is a somewhat sessionable 5. 5% abv and unlike many of the other beers, their offering contains no spices. Instead, it focuses on 100% Michigan-grown barley and Pacific Northwest hops to make an all-around great beer. Since this is a hop-forward beer don’t try aging this one, it should be all gone within 6 months.
Of course these are just a few suggestions to help you get to know the bounty of holiday beers available. As you can see, the beers on this list range from the moderate to strong, and light to dark. There are cherries, spices, hops, chocolate, and a wide assortment of malts. All in all, holiday beers are a pretty mixed bunch, but just like a family, they all seem to fit in with each other nicely, no matter their differences.
Community Beer Works For You
Amid a thirsty Buffalo landscape, several friends and fellow brewers got together in the spring of 2010 at Mister Goodbar. Ethan Cox of WNY Media and Rudybob Watkins, along with friend and librarian Dan Conley and about 20 other interested friends and brewers alike talked about forming a "homebrew collective"—a shared space stocked with brewing equipment that could be used by any of the members. After meeting a few times to discuss the project, it quickly became obvious that both in terms of scope and expense, the idea wouldn’t pan out. The thirst didn't end there.
This wasn't Cox's first attempt to try and make something happen beer-wise in Buffalo. "At that time, if I was angling to do any kind of a beer business, it would have been some kind of brewery pub." Shortly thereafter Mike Shatzel purchased the old Merlin's pub on Elmwood Ave and announced his plan to put in the Blue Monk. At that point Ethan thought, "well, if we really want to make beer, we should just make beer."
Ethan, Rudy and Dan (as well as Greg Patterson-Tanski, another fellow home-brewer interested in the collective) ended up discussing how they may still be able to start a nanobrewery in Buffalo. "I don't think I can," was Dan’s initial reaction. It was a big idea, for sure. Ethan was tenacious,
however, and insisted that Dan come to the first meeting to discuss it. Ethan's other childhood friends Dave and Matt, as well as fellow WNY Media alum Chris Smith were there. Eventually Dan decided he simply had to be a part of this project, and the brewery was formed. They announced their plans to the public via the Community Beer Works blog that Dan started in July 2010. The notion of the brewery being community-centered remained from the homebrew collective notion: the brewery would be small in size so that they could be nimble, and would be very involved in their local and regional communities in as many ways as possible.
After securing funding, they searched across Buffalo until finding their HQ at 15 Lafayette Ave, and closed on the building in December of 2010. Meanwhile, they started working on other details: getting zoning variances approved, prepping for brewery construction, and building their eventual customer base.
It took almost 2 years for the brewery to finally get the approval to officially open. In the meantime, they held tastings and worked on the build-out of the building. In April of 2012, the beer started to flow. Accounts initially were limited, as the production capacity of the brewery was small—they started with taps at Mister Goodbar, Cole's, and Blue Monk. Eventually, the number of accounts grew and production increased.
The brewery opened with two beers: Frank and The Whale. Frank is an American pale ale that originated as a homebrewed Three Floyd's Gumballhead clone. It morphed over time, containing different hop combinations, until one was found that worked and could be produced on a large scale. As for their brown ale, "The Whale just kinda happened—I read a paragraph in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing about how great brown malt was, and Niagara Tradition had a whole bunch." From there, Rudy put together a recipe and realized how awesome it was indeed. Next up was the IPA, which grew out of a series of "Jams" the brewery was putting out to test out different IPA recipes. The final beer in the regular lineup was De Maas, a Belgian amber ale which Rudy says he modeled after Ommegang's Rare Vos, in his estimation an underappreciated beer.
And Now, More Beer
The brewery has produced many interesting one-off brews during its 2+ year tenure. They vary in style, but in a general Rudy's theme is as follows: "We tend toward dry and flavorful stuff." There are seasonals : Rutherford B. Haze in the summertime (a drinkable Belgian wheat pale ale suited for drinking in quantity on the porch or patio of your choosing); the winter seasonal is Stout Affective Disorder, a dry American stout modeled somewhat after Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. CBW’s “Singularity” series of singlehopped IPAs is brewed in part to give everyone something new, more frequently, but also to allow Rudy to gain familiarity with the various hop varieties on an intimate level (and learn that Northern Brewer, an often overlooked breed, is really damn tasty when used right). More recently, a beer known as The Double IPA has been making a semimonthly appearance, inspired by being batch # 420.
The brewery has so far brewed two beers specifically to be put on at venues during concerts of bands they enjoy. The first, Preacher Man, was a black ale created for the Godspeed You! Black Emperor show at the Town Ballroom in October of 2012. The second, More Information, was a "summer stout with wheat" brewed for a show by The Swans at The Tralf in July of 2013. Why brew beers for concerts? "Because we can," Dan Conley says on the CBW blog. For Rudy, "I love music an awful lot, and I'm really bad at trying to play music, but I can make really tasty beer, so that's kind of my contribution."
What the Future Holds
In the future the IPA will be changing, due in large part to hop demand. One of the primary hops used, Galaxy from Australia, is not easy to get. Rudy is confident that the new recipe will still please hopheads. Furthermore, he will be looking to replace De Maas, their least popular beer. He has mentioned possibly modeling the replacement after Saxo, a strong Belgian pale ale from Brasserie Caracole. And in the more distant future, Rudy would love to do wine barrel-aged beers (both clean and sour).
But making these new beers is going to require more space. Currently CBW’s capacity is maxed, with Rudy working constantly to keep their fermenters full in order to supply the brewery's dozens of accounts. Of course, expansion comes with its own set of problems. Will they expand in their current location or seek out a new location? How will they secure the capital needed to get this project going? The brewery recently got involved with a satellite project at Hydraulic Hearth in the Larkin District, where former assistant brewer Robert Turley will be brewing on-site, producing beers for consumption at the restaurant, but that beer will not help with production demands.
Despite these concerns, their success is palpable. What makes them so successful? "I think we're honest," Dan answers. "We made a conscious decision when we started: we [will] be brutally transparent. The minute that we are able to release something, I put it out." For Ethan, "I think we're earnest. I think we're unpretentious. We can't help it. We’re a brewer’s brewery." For all of the partners, the brewery is a part of them. Rudy perhaps most embodies this: "Obviously we need to make money to support ourselves and our families, but I want to make beer that is awesome, and I don't ever want to make a beer that we don't like but we keep making because it sells. The beer I make is a part of me (that sounds really cheesy and weird, but it's true)."
Read the full article at http://glbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Community+Beer+Works+For+You/1885452/238543/article.html.