Browsing articles tagged with " beer festivals"
Jan 19, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Hibrewnation brings craft beers to Gettysburg

Neil Hanchett, of Hanover, enjoys craft beer with his wife, Lynda on Saturday Jan. 17 during the Hibrewnation Festival of Beer at the Allstar Complex in

Beer enthusiasts were able to sample a variety of hand-selected craft and local brews at Hibrewnation Festival held in Gettysburg Saturday.

Overall the main gym at the Allstar Complex was home to about 80 different selections for those to taste. One of the draws to a festival like Hibrewnation is the scarcity of some of the brews available for tasting, according to Michael Mageoy, of York Springs.

“Beer festivals are beer festivals,” Mageoy said. “However coming to smaller events like this allows beer enthusiasts, like myself, to come and taste those rarer selections we may not otherwise get the chance to taste.”

Aldus Brewing Company, of Hanover, was one of the breweries in attendance. With Hibrewnation focusing more in the tasting of the rare and hard-to-find beers, Jason Mininger, President of Aldus Brewing Company, said it is more of a beer appreciation event.

“Hibrewnation is geared toward the appreciation of those hard-to-find beers, rather than a mass appreciation,” Mininger said. “Because of that appreciation, it helps us to try out our select and specialty beers.”

Aldus had four different brews for patrons to taste, including their American Blonde Ale, Old Factory Amber IPA, Wee Dame-Wee-Heavy Ale and the Carolinus Belgian Dubbel IPA. Since Aldus is focused on the distribution and production rather than a pub atmosphere, events like Hibrewnation helps to get the brewery name out there more so than when people simply visit the pub when it is open, Mininger said.

Many of the brewers at the event focus on a smaller portfolio of recipes, so that they can perfect each one before moving on to another recipe.

This is the case for the Battlefield Brew Works, of Gettysburg, where Daniel Kulick, master brewer, said his recipes are based on the tastes of the region.

“I start off a recipe by making something that I know I would want to have,” Kulick said. “Then we put it out there for people to taste, and they tell us if they like it or how we can improve on it.”

Getting the feedback from patrons is one of the things Kulick said he likes about the Hibrewnation festival; it gives him a better idea of what the people who are drinking their beer are looking for.

“It is all about the customers,” Kulick said. “If we don’t please them, then we are not doing our jobs.”

This was the first year that Hibrewnation had a festival in Gettysburg, and it helps the local breweries out.

“Being local and having local events like this really just helps our community stay strong,” Mininger said.

Hibrewnation holds other festivals throughout the winter, the next one is set to be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 in the Memorial Hall of the York Expo Center.

For more information, and to prepurchase tickets, go to www.hibrewnation.com

Recommended Reading

Jan 19, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Beer festivals bubble up around Southwest Florida – The News

Season is upon us and with the influx of our Northern visitors come lots of festivals and special events. This year, Southwest Florida will be hosting several beer festivals where visitors can sample beers from local and national brewers.

Southwest Florida’s Ballpark Festival of Beers will be held Saturday, Jan. 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. In its 11th year, this festival offers unlimited samples of more than 80 beers.

For those who have attended in the past, this year’s event will be different, according to Miracle General Manager Andrew Seymour. With the remodeling and construction going on in the stadium, the festival will be held on the softball fields across from the main parking lot. Seymour says that the crowding of the past will not be an issue this year as there will be plenty of room to spread out.

Tickets for the event are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at miraclebaseball.com or by calling 768-4210. This festival is for those 21 and older only and the first 1,000 patrons will receive a souvenir tasting glass. Local band Soapy Tuna will provide entertainment for the event.

Seymour also says to save the date for the summer Ballpark Festival of Beers which will take place on Aug. 15. The summer festival features a Miracle game and fireworks in addition to the beer sampling event.

BrewFest Partners, who have put on successful beer festivals in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania, bring their first event to Southwest Florida on Feb. 7 — Bonita BrewFest. This event will take place from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Park in downtown Bonita Springs.

Curt Foreman, owner of BrewFest Partners, says there will be between 100 and 120 items to sample, including beer mead and cider. The event will also feature a Florida beer pavilion with 10 Florida breweries and an area sponsored by World of Beer where cask conditioned beers can be tried.

For $45 general admission, participants receive unlimited three-ounce samples. Participants can also purchase $65 VIP tickets which include an extra hour for the event, light appetizers and exclusive beers. Tickets can be purchased through the website at bonitabrewfest.com. This event is also 21 and older only and features music by the group Three Crooked Steps. Proceeds from the event benefit the Northside Naples Kiwanis. According to Foreman, their events raised over $187,000 for their nonprofit partners last year.

For those interested in learning about how to brew their own beer or just wanting to sample beers made by local home brewers, the third annual FeBREWary Home Brew Festival will also be held on Feb. 7. The event is from noon to 4 p.m. at Fort Myers Brewery. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door and can be purchased at the Hanger 41 Brew Club Shop (A Time to Make Wine) located at 10970 S. Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers, 33907.

Attendees will receive a tasting glass and be able to vote for a People’s Choice award of the best home-brewed beer. Beers provided will be made by some of Southwest Florida’s best home brewers. In addition to sampling home-brewed beers, educational sessions will be provided throughout the event on home brewing. According to Sandy Zahorchak, owner of the Hanger 41 Brew Club Shop, this is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning about home brewing to meet other brewers and learn more about what home brewing entails. For more information about this event, call 542-9463.

March 7 features one of the most popular events in Southwest Florida, the Naples Craft Beer Fest. This event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at Bayside in Naples. Last year’s event was attended by more than 1,200 people. As with previous years, participants will be able to sample food and craft beer pairings from local restaurants and vote on their favorite.

This year’s event features 15 food and craft beer pairings to try. Food pairings as well as samples of more than 90 beers are included in the $50 ticket price. Tickets can be purchased at naplescraftbeerfest.com. According to Heather Henning-Milner, a member of the event’s committee, you should expect to see quite a few new beers this year from the 26 breweries attending.

In addition to beer sampling, the festival features beer education sessions where breweries discuss the art of food pairing, beer making and other topics. This event benefits the Naples North Rotary Club.

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Jan 18, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Local events under scrutiny

From the Autumn Leaves and Budbreak Wine and Craft Beer festivals to its parades and cruise-ins, Mount Airy has no shortage of annual events — but the question is, which are “good for business?”

Similar issues are being faced by officials around the nation who are concerned about how surges in various activities have strained public safety resources such as police and fire departments and posed traffic and other problems for streets and parks.

Denver, for example, is now banning any new events on public property in the Mile High City from April 15 to Sept. 1 each year.

Mount Airy’s situation is not that dire, but has prompted the embracing of what one downtown official called an “event diet” and the evaluation of existing activities to determine how improvements can be made. And one event, a downtown bridal fair, already has been dropped from the annual schedule.

A survey under way by Mount Airy Downtown Inc., a group that works for the betterment of the central business district, is attempting to gain insights and suggestions regarding the quality of existing activities as part of the analysis.

All 80 entities in the area, including stores and offices, have been asked to rate the quality of about a dozen events held downtown each year.

“I do hear a lot about what they like and dislike about certain events,” Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison said of members of the downtown business community.

“So I think it’s important to compile that,” Morrison added of the intent behind the survey.

She cited a common perception, that festivals, cruise-ins and other events are staged solely for the enjoyment and entertainment of the public.

“But first and foremost, I have to evaluate what’s good for business,” Morrison of her role as Main Street coordinator, which involves maintaining and enhancing the economic vitality of downtown Mount Airy.

There is a cost of time, money and inconvenience involved with holding various events, which theoretically is offset by the extra customer traffic for retail shops, restaurants and other businesses generated as a result. At times, the activities are accompanied by temporary street closures and lost parking spaces, as in the case with cruise-ins, which creates a need for maximizing the benefits.

The survey is focusing on the Autumn Leaves Festival, the city’s oldest event; the Mayberry Days festival; a cruise-in series that runs from June to October; a July 4 parade and related festivities; sidewalk sales; Mayberry Farm Fest; spring and fall fashion shows; a downtown art walk; the bridal fair; the Fiddle Crawl now in its second year; the Budbreak Wine and Craft Beer Festival; and a Christmas parade and open house.

Survey participants have been asked to supply details about what each event costs them and the profits they receive, and how an activity might be changed to benefit businesses.

Though it is part of the survey, a decision already has been made to discontinue the Downtown Bridal Fair for 2015, Morrison said, basically because it was not thought to be providing enough benefits given the resources devoted to that event.

Survey participants also are asked outright if they like an event or not, and if they believe each coincides with the “community vision” of a town boasting a culture of arts, entertainment, traditional music and locally produced wine.

Initial Response

While Morrison was still awaiting complete survey results at last report in order to compile a full summary, with about 20 forms returned so far, she shared some sentiments voiced by merchants.

“It’s kind of all over the map,” she said of comments about certain events.

One universally popular gathering is the annual September celebration of Mount Airy’s Andy Griffith heritage.

“Everybody likes Mayberry Days,” Morrison said without hesitation.

The same is “pretty much” true with the art walk, she said of a spring event in which various artists set up stations throughout the central business district and generate traffic for stores. One key there is that the art walk doesn’t cost them any money, Morrison said.

But the same high opinions aren’t harbored about the Autumn Leaves Festival, despite the fact that thousands of people jam downtown streets for its three-day run.

There are ongoing complaints about tent placements for festival vendors, the downtown coordinator said of one example, reflecting a common concern about entrances to stores being hampered.

“All sorts of opinions” have been voiced about the cruise-in/car show series, Morrison said.

Some of the impetus for the survey and evaluation the local events stems from a visit by a team from the state Main Street Program of the N.C. Department of Commerce last winter.

After soaking up local atmosphere for a few days in order to make recommendations, one team official, Liz Parham, made it clear that the last thing Mount Airy needed was more events given the glut that already exists.

An “event diet” was suggested by the Main Street Program team, focused not only on curtailing the growth of activities but making existing ones better.

“I agreed,” Morrison said.

Growing Problem

The events listed on the downtown survey are only part of the issue in Mount Airy, where public safety departments and sanitation crews have struggled with an increasing slate of activities in recent years.

A breakdown released in 2013 showed that special events in 2012 cost the municipality about $42,237 for expenses such as traffic control and trash collections, with only $2,575 in permit fees received.

That study reflected the costs of about 35 different events, also including walks, 5K runs and other activities in addition to those listed on the survey including the Autumn Leaves Festival.

The impact has been felt on a larger scale in metropolitan areas such as Denver.

An ever-expanding list of gatherings there led to a moratorium being imposed on all new runs, walks and bicycle races.

Special events in Denver increased from about 350 in 2012 to 650 last year, prompting city officials to implement some of the strictest event regulations in the country.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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Jan 18, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Hibrewnation brings craft beers to Gettysburg

Neil Hanchett, of Hanover, enjoys craft beer with his wife, Lynda on Saturday Jan. 17 during the Hibrewnation Festival of Beer at the Allstar Complex in

Beer enthusiasts were able to sample a variety of hand-selected craft and local brews at Hibrewnation Festival held in Gettysburg Saturday.

Overall the main gym at the Allstar Complex was home to about 80 different selections for those to taste. One of the draws to a festival like Hibrewnation is the scarcity of some of the brews available for tasting, according to Michael Mageoy, of York Springs.

“Beer festivals are beer festivals,” Mageoy said. “However coming to smaller events like this allows beer enthusiasts, like myself, to come and taste those rarer selections we may not otherwise get the chance to taste.”

Aldus Brewing Company, of Hanover, was one of the breweries in attendance. With Hibrewnation focusing more in the tasting of the rare and hard-to-find beers, Jason Mininger, President of Aldus Brewing Company, said it is more of a beer appreciation event.

“Hibrewnation is geared toward the appreciation of those hard-to-find beers, rather than a mass appreciation,” Mininger said. “Because of that appreciation, it helps us to try out our select and specialty beers.”

Aldus had four different brews for patrons to taste, including their American Blonde Ale, Old Factory Amber IPA, Wee Dame-Wee-Heavy Ale and the Carolinus Belgian Dubbel IPA. Since Aldus is focused on the distribution and production rather than a pub atmosphere, events like Hibrewnation helps to get the brewery name out there more so than when people simply visit the pub when it is open, Mininger said.

Many of the brewers at the event focus on a smaller portfolio of recipes, so that they can perfect each one before moving on to another recipe.

This is the case for the Battlefield Brew Works, of Gettysburg, where Daniel Kulick, master brewer, said his recipes are based on the tastes of the region.

“I start off a recipe by making something that I know I would want to have,” Kulick said. “Then we put it out there for people to taste, and they tell us if they like it or how we can improve on it.”

Getting the feedback from patrons is one of the things Kulick said he likes about the Hibrewnation festival; it gives him a better idea of what the people who are drinking their beer are looking for.

“It is all about the customers,” Kulick said. “If we don’t please them, then we are not doing our jobs.”

This was the first year that Hibrewnation had a festival in Gettysburg, and it helps the local breweries out.

“Being local and having local events like this really just helps our community stay strong,” Mininger said.

Hibrewnation holds other festivals throughout the winter, the next one is set to be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 in the Memorial Hall of the York Expo Center.

For more information, and to prepurchase tickets, go to www.hibrewnation.com

Recommended Reading

Jan 18, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Craft breweries bring out El Paso’s beer lovers

Kary LeBlanc selects a beer to taste during the Sun City on beer festival at the Southwest University Event Center on Saturday. See more photos on page B8.

›› Photos: Sun City on Tap

Hundreds of El Pasoans gathered Saturday to see what was brewing inside the Southwest University Event Center for the first Sun City on Tap beer festival.

From the novice to the connoisseur, about 500 people got a taste of more than 100 beers from some 50 craft breweries from across the country.

The festival offered two sessions on Saturday. The first session was from 1 to 4 p.m. and the second from 5 to 8 p.m.

According to the event website, those who attended received eight initial samples with a souvenir sampling glass.

“We are big beer lovers,” said Martha Collins.

REPORTER

Luis Carlos Lopez

Donning glasses that looked like beer mugs, Collins said she liked to attend all the different beer festivals in El Paso.

People got to taste beers from breweries such as Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Rogue, New Belgium, Oskar Blues and others.

Albert Rivera, 32, said he attended the festival with friends to hangout.

“It’s something that El Paso needs,” Rivera added about the festival which plans to have a second edition in October.

The festival included vendors and music — Main Street and the Joe Barron Band.

During the first session, Main Street made sure they weren’t just background noise by engaging the crowd with classics from The Police, Guns and Roses and others.

“The band is pretty good,” said Sara Ramirez.

With breweries such as Real Ale Brewing Co., Texas was well represented at Saturday’s festival.

Derrick O’Hara said he wanted people to know about beers and “push craft beer in El Paso and make sure El Paso isn’t left behind in the craft beer industry.”

O’Hara was there promoting alepaso.com, elpasocraftbeer.com and the Facebook group page, “El Paso Beer Club.”

Adrian Perez, who attended the festival to represent the different craft beers from LF Distributors, said two El Paso breweries are expected to open later this year.

Perez runs a Facebook page called “El Paso Beer Snob,” and said having local craft beers would put “El Paso on the map.”

“It will be great because people won’t have to venture into other cities,” he said.

Luis Carlos Lopez may be reached at 546-6381.

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Jan 17, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Belt’s Beer Garden: Into the Floyd

After more than three months of reviews, it occurred to us that we haven’t reviewed a single beer from one of the most famous breweries in MAC territory – 3 Floyd’s. So this week Norm and I have each picked out a FFF beer to review in order to correct this tragedy. First up, my review of Space Station Middle Finger.

space station

Three Floyds, or 3 Floyds, or FFF is probably one of the most coveted beers I know of. They have a cult-like following and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t reviewed one of their beers yet, so I’m about to change that. FFF operates out of Munster, Indiana and began way back in 1996. They have a reputation for being very selective in determining who, and where, they distribute to, so if you want to see if they are near you, here’s their handy distribution log. I’ve had their beers before and they have all been hoppy and delicious, but I decided to try a new one for this review – Space Station Middle Finger (mostly for the name alone).

Space Station Middle Finger pours copper color with very little head topping it. It smells strongly of tropical fruits with a hoppy sting in the background. When you first drink it, it’s a very smooth beer and there isn’t any immediate taste. However, you get a nice citrus flavor late. The hops you smell in the background are almost no where to be found in the taste. It’s incredibly smooth throughout and doesn’t overpower you with any strong flavors. You do taste grapefruit and a slight hint of hops, but the malts and hops are balanced really nicely.

Space Station is only 6.0% ABV and 50 IBU so there is no alcohol burn or sting from the hops, you just taste citrus and a hint of carbonation when drinking, but the beer itself is not a dry beer whatsoever. As far as Three Floyds go, it’s a good beer, but not their best…and at $10.99 for a 22 ounce bomber it’s pretty overpriced (but all of their stuff is going to be expensive). It’s a nice beer, but they have better. I give it an eight.

8 beers
To do his part in this, Norm chose to try YumYum.

yumyum

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I can think of no better pairing than that of football with beer. Since it’s the time of year when we crown our football champions, we should be celebrating them with a champion caliber beer. And for my money, there’s no better brewer in this part of the country than 3 Floyds out of Munster, Indiana.

I know it’s hard to imagine something so great coming out of Munster, Indiana.  But this is and has been, the Mecca of craft beers in the Midwest for awhile now. Sorry Bell’s. Sorry Surly. Hell, 3 Floyds is the world Mecca of craft beer festivals when Dark Lord Day rolls around. It may be easier to get a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory than it is to score a ticket to this fest and the possibility of some Dark Lord Stout that the festival is built around.

So while I may not have my hands on any Zombie Dust, Dreadnaught, or Permanent Funeral, I do have a sixer of a smooth little number by the name of YumYum.

This is an American Pale Ale (APA), which also happens to be a session ale, set me back $12.99.

YumYum pours to a brilliant gold hue with minimal carbonation and average amount of head.  Plenty of lacing hanging onto my glass. The immediate aromas were of the malt, caramel, and grass, with a touch of floral and citrus as well. It’s somewhat hoppy, but nothing too explosive. Overall, it’s pretty tame on the nose.

Sweet at first taste. Then the citrus, malt and hops quickly crash the party. They sort of cram into your mouth all at once like all the three stooges trying to squeeze through an open door. Not a single one on its own creating a ruckus with your taste buds. Then POOF they’re gone, leaving nothing on the tongue and before you know it you need another gulp to ponder what you just enjoyed.

Balanced is the best description I can give this beer.  And at only 5.5% alcohol, this may be something you want to grab a six pack of for either the Super Bowl or conference championships. Pair it up with what ever you’re snacking on and really enjoy one of the best days of the year with one of the best drinkable beers. I give it an eight.

8 beers

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Jan 17, 2015
Freddie Kitson

5 U.S. Craft Beer Breweries With at Least Partial Overseas Ownership


Magic Hat and Pyramid
Burlington, Vt.; Seattle, Wash.
Owned by: Florida Ice and Farm Co., Heredia, Costa Rica

These breweries are owned by a Costa Rican company, but it’s Canada that’s keeping them out of craft beer circles.

Read More: 5 More Beer Brands Brought Back From the Dead by Craft Brewers

Pyramid had solid credentials in its earliest days. Pacific Northwest craft brewing pioneer Beth Hartwell used Pyramid Pale Ale as the cornerstone of her Hart Brewing in Kalama, Wash., when she debuted in 1984. The Pyramid name didn’t come until 1996, by which time Hart had expanded her lineup and added the Apricot Ale that would put Pyramid on the map. Pyramid grew so large that it absorbed Portland Brewing – makers of MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale – in 2004.

Meanwhile, across the country, Magic Hat came on the scene in 1984 and made its name with its #9 apricot ale that was incredibly similar to Pyramid’s and a large, rotating lineup of beers that served as a gateway for early East Coast microbrew drinkers. In 2008, Magic Hat made the strongarm move of buying Pyramid and merging it into its operations. Around the same time, Magic Hat began standardizing its offerings, paring down some of its more experimental beers and dumbing down the lineup.

By the time KPS Capital Partners came around in 2010 and offered to add Magic Hat’s lineup to its North American Breweries holding company – along with Genesee, Dundee and Labatt’s U.S. operations – Magic Hat was more than happy to accept. Largely faceless and leaning heavily on Genny and Labatt’s to prop them up, Magic Hat and Pyramid saw sales slump from 336,000 barrels in 2008 to 322,000 a year later. Even last year, the brands’ 337,000 barrels in sales were relatively flat compared with what they were half a decade ago.

In the 1990s, these brands exemplified craft beer and were two of its brightest lights. Now they’re lumped in with Genny Cream Ale, Labatt Blue and Dundee Honey Brown – regional beers that may not be U.S.-owned either, but have as much regional identity as counterparts such as Yuengling, which just got craft approval. But because North American Breweries and its Costa Rican owners import Labatt’s — an Anheuser-Busch InBev product — from Canada, they’re not invited into craft beer’s club.

— By Jason Notte for MainStreet 

To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

 

 

 

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Jan 16, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Friendly competitors unite in Charlotte Brewers Alliance

As more breweries pack into Charlotte, you might expect them to fight tooth-and-nail with other brewers in town as the battle for tap handles and shelf space heats up. Instead, many of those brewers are uniting through the Charlotte Brewers Alliance, a new group organized by and for area breweries.

“It’s not just 12 entities going cutthroat at each other,” said Ryan Self, director of sales at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. “Charlotte beer is a real thing. Our scene is a real thing. When the scene grows like this, we’re all just enjoying the ride. We’re talking to each other and trying to do what’s best for each others’ businesses. We’re many years away from being Pepsi and Coke.”

The alliance held its first meeting late last year, with owners from several breweries joining together to discuss challenges familiar to them all.

“I think we share a lot of the same issues,” Self said. “I think a lot of us think the same way about how we sell our beer and what we want our companies to be.”

These issues might include questions over how to handle permitting, licensing, installing equipment or purchasing ingredients – anything that brewery owners could encounter upon starting up or expanding.

For example, NoDa Brewing and Birdsong Brewing (currently neighbors on North Davidson Street) will open new breweries in Charlotte this year. Through the alliance, owners from these breweries could pick the brain of OMB founder John Marrino, who moved his brewery to a much larger location just last August.

Another issue common to the city’s brewers involves beer festivals. While many festival organizers pay for the beer served, others attempt to lure the breweries to these events solely with the promise of exposure. In the past, that has worked with younger breweries eager to get their beers in front of potential customers – but many of Charlotte’s more established breweries expect to be compensated for the beer they bring.

“It’s pretty obvious who is doing it the right way and who is not,” said Chris Harker, founder of Triple C Brewing. “If you can save a young brewer heartache by sharing with them, that’s a good thing for everybody.”

Also helping the city’s breweries is the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, a not-for-profit organization that represents member breweries and works to enact favorable legislation on their behalf.

But the creation of the Charlotte Brewers Alliance is a sign of how far the beer scene here has come in recent years. (The Asheville Brewers Alliance was formed in part to promote that city as a beer destination, and that city is now regarded by many to be among the nation’s best cities for beer.)

“We’re in one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation,” Harker said. “We just want to make sure the beer scene continues to head in the right direction.”

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Jan 16, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Food Trucks, Share The Lane. Food Bikes Are Merging Into The Business

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

The environmental benefits of ditching a motor are obvious — fewer emissions into the urban air. It also makes sense financially: A fully outfitted food bike costs just several thousand dollars — a fraction of the price of a food truck, which will runs tens of thousands.

But the main appeal, it seems, is far simpler.

“It’s more convenient being on a bike,” says Vincent Sterne, owner of Two Rivers Cider Company in Sacramento, Calif.

Sterne has been delivering cider kegs and bottles by bike to bars and retailers for 18 years.

“I go to all the local beer festivals on my bicycle, and I pull in and get set up and pull out again faster than anyone in a truck,” says Sterne, who uses four company bicycles. One of them is actually a moving bar: a cargo bike fitted with keg mounts and tap handles that he pedals to special tasting events. “I just roll up and turn on the CO2,” he says. “It’s that easy.”

Charlie Wicker, owner of Trailhead Coffee Roasters, uses a pair of cargo bikes for all deliveries within the six-mile radius of urban Portland, Ore. He even has the capacity to pull over anywhere to brew and serve coffee. He says riding even a heavily loaded bicycle in a congested city is swifter and more efficient than using a vehicle.

“We’re doing high volumes of retail business within the Portland area, and we use bikes because it works,” Wicker says.

He can carry 200 pounds of coffee at a time — even uphill — and says he pedals 600 to 700 pounds weekly to Portland cafes, grocery stores and restaurants. And he says he can make his routine delivery circuit faster than competing coffee purveyors, whom he sometimes slips quietly past in downtown gridlock.

“On a bike, you’re basically impervious to traffic jams,” he says. “I can calculate my delivery time down to the minute.”

Around the country, the fleet of food bike vendors is swelling — from the Taco Bike in Nashville to the West Sac Veggie Trike in Sacramento.

Portland-based Metrofiets Cargo Bikes is among the companies supplying the growing industry. Co-owner Phillip Ross says demand has ballooned beyond what he and partner James Nichols can keep up with.

Ross says he has shipped custom-built cargo bicycles to customers around the country and even to Europe. Most are fitted just for packing and transport. Some are also rigged for cooking, food prep and draft beverage service. At least one had an operating sink.

One of his earlier customers was Hopworks Urban Brewery, a Portland brewpub for which Metrofiets built a custom bar bike, fitted with keg mounts, tap handles, a pizza rack in the rear and solar panels to power an MP3 player at party events.

Metrofiets is a two-person outfit. Worksman Cycles, based in Queens, N.Y., is huge by comparison. The company, which has 55 employees, has been building custom bikes and trikes since 1898, says co-owner Wayne Sosin. He says firms big and small have long recognized the marketing value of a company bicycle.

“The public sees a bike or tricycle as charming, not like a truck spewing fumes,” Sosin says. A bike, he says, can work like a “moving billboard.”

Sosin says he’s built rigs for large companies including Whole Foods, Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which uses them as room service vehicles between buildings.

Moving through a busy street grid by bike may be easy, but cooking on one isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t even legal, as dishwashing stations and refrigeration may be required onsite by state health codes.

“If I put all that extra stuff on my bike, it would become a food truck,” says Alfonso Dominguez, owner of El Taco Bike. So Dominguez preps all the tacos at his family’s Oakland, Calif., restaurant, then pedals them to parties and street festivals for sale.

Berkeley resident John Romankiewicz, who will soon be serving Chinese crepes off a food bike called Jian Bing Johnny’s, hopes to amend existing law for the benefit of all food bikes. What he wants is for health officials to allow food bike operators to cook and serve food without onsite refrigeration for up to four hours — the same time limit granted to stationary food purveyors. This, he says, would grant wiggle room to work with.

“I’ll just pack up before the four-hour mark, and I’ll bring lots of spatulas,” he says, so he doesn’t have to wash them.

Europe’s fleet of food bikes is advancing at least as quickly as America’s.

Wheely’s Café is a Scandinavian concept aimed at creating a global franchise of trike-based coffee shops. A company called Foodlogica runs solar-powered trikes that operate “last-mile” food delivery services in Amsterdam.

There is even a $15,000 coffee-brewing bike, made by a London company called Velopresso, that grinds roasted beans via pedal-power, then brews you a cup of joe.

Clever—but Trailhead Coffee’s Wicker says he isn’t interested in such gimmicks.

“We aren’t a circus show,” he says. “This is a viable business.”

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Jan 16, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Ballpark Village’s Winning Homebrewer to Debut His First Beer January 18

homebrewab.jpgThe tasting will be at Budweiser Brew House at Ballpark Village. | Courtesy Ballpark Village

For the first time ever, Anheuser-Busch has brewed a beer created by a local home brewer. A limited amount will be available this Sunday, January 18, for tasting at the Budweiser Brew House at Ballpark Village (601 Clark Avenue; 314-345-9481). We talked to winning brewer Dave McWilliams and contest mastermind Tony Caradonna, beverage manager at Ballpark Village, about why this beer deserved to go to the big leagues.

See also: Urban Chestnut Buys a Brewery in Germany

Anheuser-Busch asked St. Louis’ seven home brew clubs to hold their own internal contests for an American-style IPA. Six of them chose winners, which competed against each other for the chance to be brewed by the beer giant. The judges were A-B’s own tasting panel, which taste tests beers from the company’s international range.

“It is clean, it is very aromatic, it is a beautiful linger. I like to use the world ‘linger,’ because 30 seconds after you taste Dave’s beer, it’s still kind of coating the tongue,” Caradonna says of McWilliams’ winning IPA. “It’s a gorgeous beer from start to finish — from the aromatic to the initial taste to the linger, that’s really what it comes down to. It’s the complete feel.”

McWilliams first began brewing his own beer in the late 1980s with an old friend who was working as a microbiologist. He took it up in earnest again around ten years ago and made beers from home brewing kits with a group of friends. After a few years, he was entering festivals and competitions.

“The first competition [I] entered was the Microfest nine years ago. I won a gold medal,” McWilliams says. “I have entered the Microfest competition every year since and have never been shut out, with at least one medal [every year].”

McWilliams says since then, he has met many more fellow home brewers, discovered home brewing clubs (he’s currently a member of Garage Brewers Society and STL Hops) and gained a lot more knowledge. He has been perfecting the recipe for his winning American-style IPA — which uses Golden Promise pale malt, Simcoe hops and a yeast called 1056 — for a while now.

“It was a win-win situation. Ballpark Village hosted the event, Budweiser was the sponsor and the home brew community got to be featured,” Caradonna says. “Home brewers have always been part of beer festivals all over town, but never to this degree — [here] they are the main event. It’s just really cool for a first-time event.”

Eight kegs of McWilliams’ IPA will be tapped on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m. for complimentary sampling on the second floor of the Budweiser Brew House. Caradonna doesn’t anticipate having any left over, but it will be available until it runs out.

“I made a brew that was clear, malt balanced and highly aromatic. It’s a clear, golden, smooth IPA with a hop-forward aroma, dry hopped with Simcoe with just enough malt backbone from the Golden Promise pale malt to support the IBUs [International Bittering Units],” McWilliams says.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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Location Info

Ballpark Village

601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO

Category: General

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