Browsing articles in "beer festivals"
Apr 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Visit Mendo welcomes Gracia Brown to team

Click photo to enlargeSubmitted article

Visit Mendocino County welcomes Gracia Brown to the team as event and partner relations manager. Gracia will coordinate annual countywide festivals such as the annual Mushroom, Wine Beer, Crab, Wine Beer Festivals, and Party for the Planet, as well as engaging with partners and stakeholders to improve the overall marketing of the destination. VMC’s current event coordinator, Alison de Grassi, is moving to a new role dealing with internal communications and PR.

Gracia comes to VMC with a firm grounding in the wine industry having worked with the Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission and most recently for Barra of Mendocino Winery in Redwood Valley. With her experience in a range of fields, she brings 20 years of customer service skills to the team.    

Gracia has deep roots in Mendocino County, moving here with her family from Petaluma when she was nine.  She grew up at the Shenoa Retreat Center (on the old El Rancho Navarro property) in Philo. Gracia recalls leisurely summers spent swimming in the Navarro River, helping in the kitchen and garden, and riding her bike through the neighboring Hendy Woods State Park. 

Though she left Anderson Valley in 1990 to move back to Petaluma, she never quite forgot the magic of what it felt like to live in the redwoods surrounded by nature and a small town community. It was serendipitous when she met her husband Joseph, who happened to live in Ukiah, eventually encouraging her to move back to Mendocino County.

“I am thrilled to be working to promote tourism and welcome new people to a place I love to live and explore! Having worked with Scott Schneider and the VMC team on several past events it feels like I am coming home to work with my friends and family. I love working with people and helping others, so it is a delight to continue to build relationships with the wineries of our county while also having an opportunity to develop new relationships with lodging and other business owners.”

In her spare time Gracia enjoys exploring new parts of the county, trying inventive culinary dishes with her husband,  reading novels, tending her rose garden and playing with her cats, ducks and chickens at home in Ukiah.

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Apr 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beers of the Burgh Festival celebrates hometown brewing

It’s starting to feel like craft-beer festivals are ubiquitous, and it’s no longer necessarily breaking news when a new brewery opens. Still, Grace Miller and Marc Turic’s inaugural Beers of the Burgh Festival, which took place in Lawrenceville on April 12, was notable for a couple reasons. For one thing, the festival exclusively celebrated Western Pennsylvania beer, drawing more than 1,000 people to sample beer from 30-plus breweries and homebrew clubs. Perhaps even more incredibly: through it all, you never had to wait more than a minute to hit a portable toilet.

The festival offered a chance catch up with some of the local stalwarts of the brewing industry, including Penn Brewery, East End Brewery and Meadville’s Voodoo. Newer — but already popular — brew houses like Hop Farm and Roundabout also poured impressive offerings. Millvale’s Draii Laag brewery was clearly popular with beer enthusiasts: The line for its yeast-forward, Old World-style beer stretched significantly longer than anyone else’s.

For me, it was especially exciting to sample from some of the soon-to-open breweries I’ve been following for awhile. Strip District-based Milkman Brewery, for example, offered Dahntahn Brown and Peppercorn Rye, both of which were really tasty. Aurochs Brewing Company, the gluten-free startup whose beer features a quinoa base, is sure to be a hit with those looking for alternative brews.

But my favorite brewery at the festival was one that was totally off my radar: Jones Brewing Company. All six of its beers were stellar, with the Saison and Marzen as particular standouts. Brendan Jones says that he and co-owner Christian M. Restifo are in the process of building out a 1,000-square-foot, five-barrel brew system in Crescent Township; they hope to open in July or August.

Turic says he expects the festival will happen again next year, but there’s opportunity to sample the region’s local beer much sooner than that: Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, which offers scores of events big and small, starts on Friday.

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Apr 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

American Beer Classic coming to RFK Stadium in July



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D.C.’s version of the Chicago-based American Beer Classic will be held in two sessions, one from noon-4 p.m. and another from 6-10 p.m. Tickets will start at $50 per person, with a VIP option that gives attendees an extra hour of tastings for $70.











Rebecca Cooper
Staff Reporter- Washington Business Journal

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There’s seemingly no limit to the number of beer festivals the D.C. area can handle. The latest? The American Beer Classic from Chicago-based Red Frog Events, coming to RFK Memorial Stadium July 12. 

More than 60 breweries are scheduled to participate, although from the looks of the website there are no D.C. area breweries included at this point. We’ve reached out to the event organizers to find out whether some of the D.C. area’s ample beer purveyors will be part of the event, and will update you when we learn more. 

The classic launched in Chicago in 2013, attracting 10,000 beer enthusiasts. The Windy City will host the next one May 10 at Soldier Field. The D.C. festival will be held in two sessions, one from noon-4 p.m. and another from 6-10 p.m. Tickets will start at $50 per person, with a VIP option that gives attendees an extra hour of tastings for $70. 

The ticket price includes a branded sampling glass, tastes of the beers on tap and access to educational presentations and classes. Food and merchandise will be available for purchase. 

Beer festivals have become increasingly popular as the craft beer wave sweeps the nation. We chronicled the  booming beer business in the D.C. region in March.

Already this year there was the D.C. Beer Festival at Nationals Park April 12, the Bacon Beer Festival to benefit Food Friends, also April 12, and the D.C. Craft Beer Festival March 8 at the Washington Convention Center. Later this year is the (as always) sold-out  Savor Craft Beer Festival, Heurich House’s  first annual Fruhlingsfest, and a first-ever  SpringFest beer festival in Shirlington from Capitol City Brewing Co., longtime organizer of the OktoberFest event in the same neighborhood.

Rebecca Cooper covers retail, restaurants, tourism and the arts.

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Apr 22, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer festival at Hartlepool’s Fisherman’s Arms pub is an Easter success

A POPULAR beer festival at award-winning pub The Fishermans Arms went down well over the Easter weekend.

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Dusky Maiden, Stairway to Heaven and Raiders on the Storm were just some of the real ales on offer to punters at the pub, in Southgate.

It’s the first beer festival held at The Fish since it was named Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Cleveland pub of the year, and landlord Steve Bell said there were a lot of new faces as punters popped in to see what the fuss is about.

Steve, 51, said: “It’s been a great weekend, the beers were all very well received.

“We had a lot of new faces as well, which I was expecting because we have had a lot of new customers over the last few weeks in the build-up to the beer festival.”

Steve always brings in some new ales for the first time at the beer festivals – but always ensures the popular favourites make a welcome return.

“We have had York Guzzler from York Brewery in the past and it was really popular so I made sure I got that back in, and it went down a treat again, that’s a real popular beer,” he said.

“Salt Air Blonde went down really well also. I would say they were our two quickest sellers.”

As well as the flowing ale, live entertainment was on offer across the weekend.

The Backtrackers took to the stage over the weekend while a blues open-mic night was well received last night.

Steve, who runs the pub with his partner Mandy Jackson, a mum of Emily Whitehead, 15, who added: “We usually do our blues open-mic night once a month at the end of the month but we thought we would bring it forward so it could play a part in the beer festival.”

After winning the Cleveland CAMRA title, The Fish was then named as one of the top 210 pubs in the country.

It will now go up against six pubs from across the North East at the regional competition in August.

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Apr 22, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Fish beer festival is a success

A POPULAR beer festival at award-winning pub The Fishermans Arms went down well over the Easter weekend.

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Dusky Maiden, Stairway to Heaven and Raiders on the Storm were just some of the real ales on offer to punters at the pub, in Southgate.

It’s the first beer festival held at The Fish since it was named Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Cleveland pub of the year, and landlord Steve Bell said there were a lot of new faces as punters popped in to see what the fuss is about.

Steve, 51, said: “It’s been a great weekend, the beers were all very well received.

“We had a lot of new faces as well, which I was expecting because we have had a lot of new customers over the last few weeks in the build-up to the beer festival.”

Steve always brings in some new ales for the first time at the beer festivals – but always ensures the popular favourites make a welcome return.

“We have had York Guzzler from York Brewery in the past and it was really popular so I made sure I got that back in, and it went down a treat again, that’s a real popular beer,” he said.

“Salt Air Blonde went down really well also. I would say they were our two quickest sellers.”

As well as the flowing ale, live entertainment was on offer across the weekend.

The Backtrackers took to the stage over the weekend while a blues open-mic night was well received last night.

Steve, who runs the pub with his partner Mandy Jackson, a mum of Emily Whitehead, 15, who added: “We usually do our blues open-mic night once a month at the end of the month but we thought we would bring it forward so it could play a part in the beer festival.”

After winning the Cleveland CAMRA title, The Fish was then named as one of the top 210 pubs in the country.

It will now go up against six pubs from across the North East at the regional competition in August.

Recommended Reading

Apr 22, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Nightlife Agenda: U Street bar crawls, tango and a beer festival

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks performs at U Street Music Hall on April 25. (Courtesy of Windish Agency)

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks performs at U Street Music Hall on April 25. (Courtesy of Windish Agency)

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.

Tuesday, April 22
Happy first anniversary to Del Campo, where the combination of smoked meat and smoked citrus cocktails have made us big fans. The restaurant is throwing itself a birthday party tonight, which involves unlimited food and cocktails 7 to 10 p.m., a performance by professional tango dancers and music for more tango dancing after dinner. A ticket is $55, and if we’re being honest, we’ve never spent less than that for dinner and drinks at Del Campo.

Wednesday, April 23
The Chicago Cubs celebrate a milestone this Wednesday: 100 years of playing home games at Wrigley Field. Local Cubbies bar Ivy Coney is marking the centennial of the Friendly Confines by showing the Cubs’ 2:20 p.m. game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and offering a free Chicago-style hotdog and beer to anyone who shows the bartender a valid Illinois drivers license. (Can’t skip out of work early? Don’t worry: The free hotdog-and-beer deal will run until 7 p.m.)

Thursday, April 24
Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox Brewing Company has become a fixture on local taps over the past year, but if you haven’t explored its range of offerings, this is the night: A tap takeover at Scion runs the gamut from the simple and delicious Pikeland Pils to the rare Nihilist imperial stout. Scion gets crowded at happy hour, and for good reason: Show up between 5 and 7 p.m. and all beers are half-price. (Check out the full tap list.)

Rodney Atkins‘s string of hit singles includes “Take a Back Road,” “Farmers Daughter” and “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy),” uptempo songs that show off the Tennessee native’s decidedly down-home outlook and sense of humor. His fifth album is expected later this year, but in the meantime, Atkins is hitting the road, performing new songs such as “Doin’ It Right.” He stops in at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar tonight.

Factory Floor occupies an interesting place where ’80s electro and post-punk meets house and the DFA label’s dancefloor-centric stable of DJs. Repetitive drum machines, percolating synths and vocals caked in electronic processing create a sound that’s hypnotic and forward-thinking while also making you wonder, “Is this what Kraftwerk would sound like if they were produced by the Juan MacLean?” The trio performs with locals Protect-U and Steven Faith at U Street Music Hall.

Friday, April 25
An underground supergroup of sorts, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks finds Animal Collective singer-songwriter Avey Tare, former Dirty Projectors keyboard player Angel Deradoorian, and Ponytail and Dan Deacon drummer Jeremy Hyman joining forces for infectious-yet-arty grooves. U Street Music Hall is the perfect setting for the trio’s psychedelic, slightly creepy songs.

Singer Nicole Atkins‘s sound has always been rooted in classic soul and girl-group pop, and new album “Slow Phaser” finds her experimenting with huge disco beats (“Girl, You Look Amazing”) and Cardigans-style Swedish indie-pop (“Who Killed the Moonlight?”). Her tour brings her to the Rock and Roll Hotel.

For two decades, Danny Howells has been one of the main forces in trance and progressive and tech house. The British DJ is playing an all-night DJ set at Flash, the dance club featured in our “21 places to drink and party right now” story in last Friday’s Weekend section. Howells goes on at 11 p.m., and there’s a $20 cover no matter when you show up.

Saturday, April 26
Capitol City Brewing Company‘s annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest is one of the area’s most popular fall beer festivals, drawing thousands to the streets of Shirlington to sample beers from dozens of breweries. This week, the brewery debuts a similar Mid-Atlantic SpringFest block party, which follows the same formula: Forty-five local and regional breweries, including a large contingent from across the Old Dominion, will pour their ales and lagers while restaurant and food trucks offer something to eat. The $30 ticket includes 10 drinks; additional four-ounce pours are $1 each. Taps open at noon, and the festival ends at 7.

Eleven bars on and around U Street are throwing open their doors today for the Do U Block Party, offering $3 beers, $5 cocktails and shots, and $ appetizers from 2 to 8 p.m. Buy a wristband for $15 ($20 the day of the event), begin at either the Brixton or Jin Lounge, then hop your way around Ben’s Next Door, Cafe Saint-Ex, DC9, Dodge City, Duffy’s Irish Pub, El Rey, Nellie’s Sports Bar, Satellite Room and Velvet Lounge.

A love of ’70s Krautrock, minimal techno, John Carpenter movie soundtracks and Italo-disco all pop up in Zombie Zombie‘s artfully arranged and orchestrated scores. The French synths-and-drums duo must realize the inherent humor in creating new Neu! songs in the 21st century, and they come off as loving and mocking their material, even when some of it can stretch over the seven-minute mark. The French Embassy’s cultural service is presenting this show at Comet Ping Pong, which pairs Zombie Zombie with two local electro-tinged indie bands, Heavy Breathing and Young Rapids. DJ Names Names (Ian Svenonious of The Make Up and Chain and the Gang) also is on the bill.

For two years, CTRL has been one of the most interesting dance parties in the city. It’s not just the DJs bringing a steady diet of electropop, remixes and indie hits to two levels of Cobalt, but the overall atmosphere generated by guest performers, dance contests and theme parties inspired by cats, cinematic spies or the Olympics. DJs Jeff Prior, Adam Koussari-Amin and the Pocket Gays celebrate CTRL’s “second birth-iversary” with music, the popular photobooth, $3 PBRs and $4 Fireball shots at Cobalt, beginning at 10 p.m. Get in the mood with a series of preview mixes by the DJs on CTRL’s Facebook page.

House music DJ Frankie Knuckles blessed the world by pushing forward a style of dance music with roots in his home of Chicago, and he blessed D.C. with many memorable nights on the decks. Knuckles’s underground sound, the basis for just about every form of electronic dance music, created a space of freedom for legions of dancing devotees. Knuckles passed away at age 59 earlier this month, and the FORWARD crew will be jamming out at Zeba Bar for a special edition of their Bump ‘n Grind party devoted to Knuckles’s music and legacy. Chicago DJ Amir Alexander will be at the helm.

Sunday, April 27
The hip-hop bar crawl is back on the U Street corridor once again. The lineup this time is Duffy’s Irish Pub, Lounge of 3, Solly’s, Tap and Parlour, the Islander and Pure Lounge. Starting at 2 p.m. at Duffy’s, the crawl will move through each bar every hour or two, with a featured DJ spinning specialty sets at each spot. A few of the sets include booze-themed old-school hip-hop at Duffy’s; DJ Premier vs. the Neptunes at the Islander; and the best of the Dirty South at Tap and Parlour. The crawl ends at Pure Lounge at 8 p.m., and six DJs will tag-team for the rest of the night for those left standing. You can join the crawl at any bar for $10, which will get you access to drink specials at every venue.

Monday, April 28
Raul Midón is in the lineage of George Benson and José Feliciano, combining mastery of the guitar, expressive songwriting and distinctive singing. Midón also is voracious in his approach to genre, maintaining a vast orbit of collaborators that allow him to explore jazz, RB, soul, dance music, folk and international sounds. In addition to his seven solo albums, he has performed and recorded with everyone from house music master Louie Vega to Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona. Midón will be joined at the Howard Theatre by AVERY*Sunshine, a powerhouse vocalist who brings jazz chops to her gospel roots.

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Apr 21, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Brick Brewing Notches Record EBITDA and Sales in Fiscal 2014


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Ah, good ol’ trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die. Those may be the words of the lovable cartoon character Homer Simpson, but they also ring true for millions of people on planet Earth. There are shows dedicated to beer and, as CBC noted in an article, countless beer festivals around the world that are worthy of the travel time and expense to visit to try a new type of suds.

People still love their Budweiser and other legacy beers, but craft brews and smaller beer makers have made their way mainstream, including now being added to the airline menus for in-flight offerings. In the U.S. last year, craft beer sales jumped 20% to $14.3 billion.

The love of a cold one is showing up in the figures for Brick Brewing Co. Ltd. (TSX:BRB), the largest Canadian-owned brewery in Ontario. The Kitchener-based company offers a range of alcoholic beverages, including beers brewed through its Waterloo Brewing Co. division and vodka and malt-based coolers and crafted ciders produced under the Seagram brand that are sold coast-to-coast. Brick Brewing is the only craft brewer in Canada to be certified under the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety.

The company’s core beer styles – Pilsner, Dark Lager and Indian Pale Ale – brought home the gold, silver and bronze medals at the Ontario Brewing Awards held in Toronto on April 3.

On Thursday, Brick Brewing released its financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 31. Supported by the launch of new products and increased marketing efforts, the company posted record annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) of $4.6 million on net revenue of $37.7 million. That compares to EBITDA of $4.01 million on revenue of $35.3 million during the prior fiscal year.

Net income for the latest year was $525,199, or two cents per share, versus $351,033, or one cent per share, in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2013.

“We put up a great result in fiscal 2014. Our team was successful in growing revenues and volumes, especially in our premium Waterloo and Seagram brands. The growth in premium brands coupled with our continued focus on cost reductions allowed us to expand margins,
overcome the impact of the beer tax correction and still post record EBITDA.” said George Croft, President and CEO at Brick, in a statement Thursday.

Gross margin was up from 24.4% in fiscal 2013 to 26.1 percent in fiscal 2014.

Volume in the company’s Laker brand increased 4.5% across the year. Seagram brand volume improved 4.8%. The Waterloo brand saw a stellar 35.3% growth in volume.

In a bid to further maximize efficiency and cut costs, Brick said that it is divesting its land and building on King Street in Waterloo during this fiscal year. The proceeds will be invested in the Kitchener location.

The news did little for the value of a share of BRB, with the stock edging ahead only by a penny to $1.31 in Thursday action. Since hitting $1.93 last May, which was the highest point since September 2007, the stock has been sliding lower. However, a monthly chart shows the stock to be holding the 50-day moving average ever since touching it at $1.14 last October. With the improved operations and profits, the combination of technicals and fundamentals may support a move to put some distance between the price per share and the key moving average. Proper due diligence is, as always, encouraged.

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Apr 20, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Turners open new tasting room in former Whiskey Creek

 

New Craft Beer Tasting Room with a Mammoth View

Mammoth Brewing Company revives storied Whiskey Creek location, appealing to both local community and craft beer enthusiasts in the region and beyond

Sean and Joyce Turner

Sean and Joyce Turner (Photo by Greg Scott Boydston)

(Press Release)  MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. (April 16, 2014) – Mammoth Brewing Company announced today that it will open a new tasting room in Mammoth Lakes, California on April 18, 2014.  The new location will be at 18 Lake Mary Road, revitalizing the former Whiskey Creek building, replacing the brewery’s former Berner Street tasting room.

“The history of Mammoth Brewery and the great community of Mammoth Lakes go hand-in-hand,” said Sean Turner, co-owner of Mammoth Brewing Company.  “We think our passionate craft beer aficionados as well as those who look to enjoy a drink in an incredible venue will be pleased; the new tasting room space is larger, it’s much more comfortable, and the views of the Sherwin Range mountains are amazing.“

The tasting room will feature 13 beers on tap as well as the brewery’s extremely popular “Mammoth Imperial Root Beer.” In addition to the opening of the new tasting room, there will also be a seasonal outdoor Beer Garden opening by July 1 for patrons in the summer months, along with an on-premise pub in the future.

The opening of the new tasting room for Mammoth Brewing Company comes just a few months prior to the 19th annual Mammoth Festival of Beers Bluesapalooza Festival, July 31 – August 3.  Often recognized as one of the most renowned craft beer festivals thanks to its rich history and amazing collection of craft beer and blues talent, the festival this year will feature more than 20 bands throughout the weekend and beers from over 80 craft brewers during Saturday’s Grand Tasting.

About Mammoth Brewing Company

Mammoth Brewing Company has been brewing craft beer at altitude in Mammoth Lakes, California since 1995. With a production capacity of 8000 bbls (beer barrels) in 2014, Mammoth Brewing Company currently distributes in the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite National Park, Reno, Tahoe and Truckee, along with recently expanded distribution into Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and the Lancaster/Palmdale areas. For more information please visit http://www.mammothbrewingco.com

About Mammoth Festival of Beers Bluesapalooza

The 19th Annual Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza will take place from July 31 – August 3, 2014 in Mammoth Lakes, California. The Grand Tasting on Saturday, April 2 will include offerings from over 80 microbreweries and more than 20 bands. Music is featured from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon, and 2014 scheduled performers include Buddy Guy, Tab Benoit, and the Taj Mahal Trio. For more information and a full schedule, please visit http://www.mammothbluesbrewsfest.com

 

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Apr 19, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Brewvana: the early days (two years ago…)

brewvana_lead.jog.jpg

By JOHN FOYSTON
Photography by ROSS WILLIAM HAMILTON

Merry Prankster Ken Kesey was hard-nosed about it: You were either on
the bus or off the bus. Ashley Rose Salvitti offers some wiggle room
for beer tourists on the Brewvana
bus: “OK, everybody,” she says over the reggae soundtrack as she’s
about to wheel the bus away to another pub, “raise your hand if you
aren’t here.”

Which is to say, sure, you could save a few bucks and not hop aboard
Angel, the Brewvana bus. You could organize your own brewery tour. But
it wouldn’t be the same.

For one thing, you wouldn’t have the company of Brewvana owner
Salvitti, a young woman who combines effervescence with clipboard-toting
efficiency, who makes the bus run on time and who can effortlessly
wrangle a load of boisterous beer tourists. Nor could you enjoy the
comforts of Angel, with its city/skyscape interior mural, its onboard
refrigerator, handmade pretzel necklaces for all and a cup holder at
each seat for your Brewvana souvenir pilsner glass.

You wouldn’t be able to pull up to a closed pub such as Pints
on a Sunday morning and be met by brewer Zack Beckwith for a tour of
his new brewery followed by tastes of his beers. Nor would Fire on the Mountain
brewer Ben Nehrling likely join you for a lunch of pizza and hot wings
and narrate the procession of pitchers being delivered to the table
while talking about his career in the Oregon beer scene.

“We’re really connected with the brewers and pubs,” says Salvitti.
“We want them to be pumped when the Brewvana bus pulls up.” From what I
saw on a recent tour, Salvitti has handily achieved her goal. “She’s
great to work with,” said Ben Love, who opened the then-unfinished Gigantic Brewing
for the tour. “She does such a great job planning her tours and she’s
so easy to work with — she makes it clear what she expects and what we
can expect from her. Plus I love her enthusiasm. She’s great.”

brewvana_secondary2.jpg

Brewvana is a relative newcomer: Salvitti held her first tour just a
year ago, but she and Nikki Muir, her other tour guide/driver and only
employee, have found a niche as evangelists of Portland beer culture.
“We love providing the complete experience,” Salvitti says. “Hop on the
bus and don’t worry about anything. We’ll make sure that lunch is
ordered and ready when we arrive at the lunch stop. We’ll make sure that
beers are ready to sample.”

Left to their own devices, beer tourists can find Portland a daunting
city. With four dozen breweries and brewpubs, we have an embarrassment
of riches. Where to start? A string of five-star reviews on sites such
as TripAdvisor suggest that booking a Brewvana tour is the best move:
“Ever been in a town and not known anybody?” writes one customer from
Los Gatos, Calif. “Brewvana solves that problem and introduces you to
unique microbreweries in the process. Ashley gives the new-to-Portland
person the opportunity to meet fellow beer lovers and connect with the
premier microbreweries of Portland in the process. Pass this one up and
you will be a beer novice forever.”

Salvitti is relatively new to Portland herself. She moved here in
April 2007 from Greensboro, N.C., where she earned a degree in art with a
minor in psychology — she wanted to become an art therapist, and still
may. Soon after arriving in town, she hired on as a server at Laurelwood
for a year, then went to Hopworks when it opened in 2008, and still works there.

Her beer background and her hard-wired enthusiasm equip her well as a
tour guide. “We love converting those people who think they don’t like
beer,” she says. “Really, they just haven’t found a beer they like and
it’s exciting to introduce to them to different styles, like the sour
and barrel-aged beers at Cascade Barrel House — those are beers that even wine drinkers love.”

Salvitti reckons that her weekend “Behind the Scenes” and “Imbibing”
tours are about 75 percent out-of-towners, but she offers plenty for
local beer fans, too. There are overnight excursions to beer festivals,
brewery parties, tours of beer scenes in Corvallis, Eugene or Astoria,
and monthly Connoisseur Tours led by a different professional brewer
each time.

A home brewer from the Oregon Brew Crew
led a recent tour designed for people who want to brew their own beer.
If you love craft-distilled whiskey, there’s a whiskey-and-beer tour,
too. You can even opt for the Build Your Own Tour and create your dream
excursion by deciding where you want to go and what you’d like to do at
each location, Salvitti says.

Whatever the tour, trust that it’ll be conducted with that trademark
Salvitti enthusiasm, which, along with a cooler of beer, was enough to
keep the party going when Angel broke down on a recent trip to the
coast.

“A good friend of mine didn’t like me at first because she thought I
was a fake,” she says. “She thought nobody could be that positive all
the time. But that’s just the way I am, especially now, because I love
what I’m doing — interacting with people and helping them discover good
beer.”

brewvana_secondary.jpg

A Tour for Every Type

The Brewvana bus  is just one of several brewery tours offered in Portland. Options range from the venerable Portland Brew Bus, which first rolled in 1996, to the historically minded Bridges Brews tours from Portland Tours. There’s also the Portland Microbrewery Tour from Eco Tours of Oregon and more.

If you want to really learn about brewing as you sample beer, book a Pubs of Portland Tour
with home brewer and brewery consultant Marc Martin, who’ll take you to
pubs via MAX trains and streetcars, and who brings along samples of
hops and barley.

And if you want to stay active on your tour, grab a bike helmet and take a seat aboard the 16-person, pedal powered Portland Pedalounge, or join the Pedal Bike Tours Brewery Trail peloton. If you want to leave wheels of all kinds behind, check out the Portland Walking Tours Beervana Tour.

johnnytastes.JPG

– John Foyston

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Apr 18, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Edition: Untappd connects aficionados, newbies alike with brews

Steven Mullett used to keep drink lists from bars and scratch off which brews he had tried — but now, there’s an app for that.


Untappd, a free smartphone application currently available on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices, allows users to explore and share different beers with their social circles. Users can mark off which beers they have tried, rate them and receive recommendations based on their taste. More than 1 million people have downloaded the app.

Mullett, a senior lab manager for Bill Yates’ lab in Pitt’s Department of Cell Biology, is an avid homebrewer and has been using the app for almost a year. He said he uses the app to keep track of his beer legacy.

“It’s really easy to use, and it’s really easy to find beers. If it’s not, if it’s a microbrew, it’s very easy to add it to the database and then review it immediately afterwards,” he said.

According to Mullett, the app is especially useful for casual or intermediate drinkers. Despite his experience with microbrewing, he said the app is valuable for him, too.

Greg Avola and Tim Mather launched Untappd in October 2010. The pair has been working together remotely on the project from opposite coasts while maintaining full-time jobs.

Avola, who works for ABC News’ Technology Team, said the idea behind the app stemmed from adding context to the concept of Foursquare, an app that allows users to check in at different locations to let their friends know where they are.

Avola and Mather wanted to focus on a social industry, and the first thing that came to mind was beer. With Untappd, users can not only check in at different bars and breweries, but also keep track of what they drank there.

“Beer is one of the first things we thought of because there really is no Twitter or Facebook for beer,” Avola said.

Vincent Agresti, a senior information science major, has been using the app since 2011.

His reasoning for using the app echoed Avola and Mather’s reason for creating it — he can’t use Foursquare, Facebook or Twitter to find out about beer.

“It’s something that focuses on beer enthusiasts, which is something that other social networks don’t really do,” Agresti said.

According to Agresti, he uses the beer rating and recommendation features of the app most frequently.

“Untappd is a good way for me to track what beers I’ve drank, and it’s also a really good tool for me to find out new beers I might like,” he said.

Avola said the two-man team began building a prototype in July 2010 that only allowed users to search for a beer and add a location, but the app has evolved and added new features since then.

For instance, users can now earn badges for completing different tasks. If a user logs three light beers, they are rewarded with a “Lite Weight” badge.

The app operates with Wikipedia-style editing. Any user can add a beer, but a group of moderators and breweries go through and check the listings for accuracy.

According to Avola, breweries and venues can also create accounts to connect with customers, view analytics on how their brewery is perceived and upload labels to accompany their beers.

“The crux of what we’re trying to do is to connect consumers with beer,” he said.

Breweries and venues can also sponsor badges, run specials on the app or advertise events such as beer festivals.

Avola said the duo hopes to improve the locality of recommendations in the future, because beers are distributed in different parts of the country.

“We’re really focused on honing our data to get local recommendations. We think people will definitely flock to that new feature,” he said.

According to Matt McMahon, founder of Eleventh Hour Brewing, an upcoming Pittsburgh brewery still in its start-up phase, said in an email that he uses Untappd to gather feedback about his company’s beers.

McMahon said Untappd allows him to receive responses on Eleventh Hour’s beers, and he has the ability to view users’ profiles to see how seriously their ratings should be considered.

“I look at other beers they have checked in to identify what styles they like. If that person is an IPA fan and they don’t like our IPA then maybe there is something I need to look at,” he said. “On the other hand, if that person consistently checks in other IPAs that I consider to be great beers, and gives them one to two stars, then that person probably just doesn’t like the IPA style and their feedback illustrates that.”

McMahon said the app is also a useful tool in gauging his performance.

“I feel like Untappd is a great resource for brewers, old and new, to get feedback on their beers,” he said. “While you will always have outliers on the high and low end of the scale, the general consensus is what you want to take away from that data.”

Avola said that there are thousands of beers that consumers might not know about.

“Our goal is to help educate the community about what beer is out there,” he said.

Microbrews have been trending over the last five years, Mullet said, and craft and sour beers are becoming more popular.

“People are starting to open their eyes to the fact that you can make beer taste like anything you want,” he said.

Avola said people want more independence in what they’re drinking.

“They want something different, something more unique and fresh,” he said.

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