Something’s Craft Brewing

The Brewer’s Association, one of the best sources for news and statistics on the craft brewing industry and related trends, just released the 2011 mid-year report on the state of U.S. Craft Brewers. To briefly summarize the report: Things are good, very good. Here are some of the key stats for the first six months of the year: Dollar growth up 15% Volume up 14%, a 50% increase over the same period last year 5.1 million barrels of beer were sold (that’s about 1.6 billion 12oz beers) The industry employs about 100,000 people The US now has 1,790 breweries — a 10% increase since June of 2010. 1,740 of them are craft breweries. And judging by this “chart”, this trend should

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Japanese Green Tea IPA?

Last week, Stone released a couple exciting new special edition beers: a Japanese Green Tea IPA and a Cherry Chocolate Stout. From the Boston Globe’s new beer blog, ’99 Bottles’, here are some initial positive reviews: Japanese Green Tea IPA. Produced in collaboration with Ishii Brewing Co. in Guam and Baird Brewing Co. in Japan, this is an imperial India Pale Ale brewed, indeed, with green tea. Bright orange with a frothy, 2-inch head, the beer exudes hops. A pungent aroma of citrus fruit leaps from the bottle as soon as it’s uncapped, and continues apace one the beer is poured into a glass. The nose seems to grow even more tropical as it breathes, and that characteristic translates to the

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Russian River Blind Pig IPA

There’s lots of great beer on the west coast. There are craft breweries just about everywhere. And most bars seem to go out of their way to keep a bunch of rotating taps for these smaller guys. I’ve been meaning to write more beer reviews, but just haven’t been able to find the time. So here’s a long overdue hat tip to the Russian River Brewing Company. I tried their Blind Pig IPA at Pi in the Mission a few weeks ago, and it was the best IPA I’ve ever had. I actually don’t have much else to say. You just need to try it. It was hoppy but balanced. Strong and refreshing. It worked really well. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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The Sierra Nevadas

I drove through yesterday on my way to Mammoth Lakes as part of my holiday weekend road trip. They’re extremely impressive. And as far as I know, they’re also the first mountain range to be named after a brewery. Happy Fourth!

Yeast, Unite!

Two of my favorite topics are evolutionary biology and brewing. It’s rare that they overlap in the same article. It looks like brewer’s yeast has been coaxed to evolve to do more than make beer: IN JUST a few weeks single-celled yeast have evolved into a multicellular organism, complete with division of labour between cells. This suggests that the evolutionary leap to multicellularity may be a surprisingly small hurdle. Multicellularity has evolved at least 20 times since life began, but the last time was about 200 million years ago, leaving few clues to the precise sequence of events. To understand the process better, William Ratcliff and colleagues at the University of Minnesota in St Paul set out to evolve multicellularity in a

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It Tastes Like Pine…No Wait, That One’s Grapefruitty

Sam Adams isn’t the first brewery to release single hop beers, I have to hand it to them. They got this right: By and large, most beer is made with a hodgepodge of hops, those flowers that add aroma, bitterness and flavor. That’s because certain hops are ideal for imparting fragrance, while other breeds are better suited for adding mouth-puckering bitterness. Matching various hops’ strengths and weaknesses helps brewers create singular flavor profiles, much the way that cooks blend spices in different ratios and proportions. Yet lately, brewers have stopped mixing hops. Instead, they’re dosing beers with a single breed, allowing drinkers to discern each hop’s unique characteristics. One of the best examples of this liquid lesson plan is Boston

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Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo

I’ve been hearing about this place for years. Finally, the other day, I dropped by: It was everything I hoped it would be. Great beer selection. Awesome bar and beer garden. I tried the Oarsman Sour Mash Wheat. I generally don’t like wheat beers. But I also generally love sour beers. It was delicious.

Ready to Start Homebrewing?

I know quite a few people who want to start homebrewing, but are either intimidated by the process (it’s surprisingly easy) or don’t want to invest in the equipment quite yet. If you live in Massachusetts, I’ve found a great solution. There’s a homebrewing store in Natick, MA called Barleycorn’s where customers can brew on-site using the facility’s equipment and ingredients. If you’ve never brewed before, you can just show up, pick a recipe from a few dozen options, and then they’ll walk you through the entire process. The brewing session takes a little under two hours, and then they’ll store your beer on site during the fermentation process. Two weeks later, you need to come back to bottle the

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Beer With Fusion

I started playing with Google’s new Fusion Tables application, and it’s surprisingly easy to make those colorful “heat map” charts you see in The Economist all the time. I made this chart showing annual beer consumption per capita by country. It’s nothing original, but why not: Units are in liters per year.