Browsing articles tagged with " Craft Beer"
Mar 11, 2014
Terri Judson

New festival approach brewed up for beer

Surry County’s wine industry has been the subject of much hype in recent years, but a decision last week will allow craft beers to increasingly belly up to the bar as a festival attraction.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voted unanimously during a meeting Thursday night to amend a city ordinance, which is expected to lead to a greater beer presence during the upcoming Budbreak Wine Festival downtown. The change also will pertain to other events.

Thursday’s action resulted from a request by Budbreak organizers, which recognizes a reality among modern consumers. “The request is to have crafted malted beverages treated in the same manner as the wine industry,” according to a city documents regarding the issue.

“It is our observation and belief that the craft beer/micro-beer segment is as popular as the interest in the wine industry,” the organizers’ request further stated.

“Craft beers are becoming a big thing, and if you think about it, everybody doesn’t drink wine,” one organizer, Bob Meinecke, said Monday.

“People, for the same reason they like wines with food, like good-tasting beers with food,” he said.

Last week’s vote by the city commissioners is paving the way for a craft beer presence on the street for the first time ever during the Budbreak event, now in its fifth year.

It also will represent a first from a festival standpoint. While an area might host a beer or wine festival, the marriage of the two hasn’t been attempted as it will be during the upcoming Budbreak gathering sponsored by the Mount Airy Rotary Club in cooperation with the Downtown Business Association.

“It’s our notion that no other wine festivals around the state have introduced craft beers,” Meinecke said.

“We don’t want to become a beer festival — we just want to enhance our wine festival,” he explained, while also supplying a product people want and ask for at such gatherings.

The city’s action last week struck down a restriction on street festivals that any craft beer involved must be manufactured in Surry County. A change in language will allow craft beer made “in any North Carolina county” to be included.

“It is a recognition that North Carolina is developing a craft beer industry and it is a part of North Carolina’s economic base,” Mayor Deborah Cochran acknowledged Monday. “The governor has designated April as North Carolina Beer Month.”

The ordinance tweak is expected to lead to about four craft beer operations being allotted space on the street during the Budbreak festival, which Meinecke says is quite limited at the event that has become popular with vendors. Organizers are hoping to attract larger participation overall as a result.

The ordinance change recognizes that craft beer products carried at Old North State Winery downtown are manufactured by the Foothills brewing operation in Winston-Salem. Since craft brewing is now done on a limited scale in this area, lessening the restrictions to include any North Carolina county will promote the greater craft beer presence at Budbreak.

When the action was taken last week by the commissioners, the distinction was made that the measure pertains to craft beer producers and not major brands such as Budweiser.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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Mar 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

CRAFT BEER CORNER: You Haven’t Tasted Craft Until You’ve Tasted "Real Ale"

One hasn’t really tasted craft beer until they’ve tasted cask conditioned or “real ale,” unpasteurized, unfiltered beer that comes out of a firkin.


Normally, beer is fermented and passed through a filter, permanently stopping fermentation and removing the yeast and other proteins that can cause cloudy beer. It is then pumped into kegs, force carbonated and delivered to a pub, hooked up to the tap system, and served to the customer.

Cask-conditioned ale is put through an entirely different process that allows it to remain a living product with yeast that is still active or in suspension from the time it is made to the time it is drunk. After the beer’s initial fermentation, this beer, unfiltered and unpasteurized, is dosed with a bit more sugar, and pumped into smaller stainless steel or wooden casks called firkins where the yeast begins a secondary fermentation process consuming the new sugars, excreting CO2 and carbonating the beer in its container.

Unlike modern kegging systems, these firkins are simple uncomplicated barrels with no internal plumbing or valves. The firkin simply has two holes, a bung to which a faucet will be attached for pouring, and a shive where the beer is pumped in and later will act as a regulator allowing air to pass into the keg during serving.

Before industrial processes were applied to beer, this was how all beer was packaged and served. Brewers would simply pour their beer into barrels, deliver the barrels to publicans who would place the beer in their cellars, let the yeast finish its job and when the publican deemed the beer ready, he’d roll the barrel onto the bar, hammer in a faucet, loosen the bung and letting gravity do the work, he’d pour his customer’s pints.

Today the gravity faucets used to pour cask-conditioned beer have largely given way to a hand pump called a “beer engine.” The hand pump literally pulls the beer from the firkin into the glass, agitating the naturally carbonated, unfiltered beer as it comes out to create what I would describe as a whipped, cloudy and denser beer that is smooth and has a much fuller body and feel than a normally kegged beer.

What’s more, these beers are traditionally served at cellar temps (50-55º F), opening up the beer’s complex aromas and full flavors. This way, hops become more pronounced and the bready, biscuity, sweet flavors of the malt are more evident. The still live yeast and other particulates give the beer a yeasty bite and add even deeper layers of complexity offering up flavors that go missing in cold and filtered beers.

Because it’s a live product cask-conditioned ale allows little in the way of consistency of flavor from pint to pint or firkin to firkin. Nor does the beer have the consistent effervescent carbonation that many beer drinkers expect from modern beers that have been subject to the brewing processes that lead to a consistent product. Real ale is fragile and doesn’t travel well. It has a relatively short shelf life, and is best served fresh; the longer it sits or the more it’s subject to the jostling of shipment the more oxygen the beer is subjected to and the higher the risk of it developing off flavors.

The brewer thus takes a lot of risk introducing the beer to the things they usually try to avoid, and those who do offer their beer in firkins will do so only in limited runs making a firkin of beer a rare treat and one that all beer drinkers should seek out.

Craft brewers, however, serve the needs of the local community and their commitment to and engagement in the local community means they can afford to provide the neighborhood pub or their tasting room customers with a firkin or two of real ale. In this case, smaller is better and craft brewers are better able to serve such a fragile product to a local market. As such some craft beer geeks have become quite accustomed to cask-conditioned ale and make pilgrimages to bars that serve it.

If you’d like to join the club, Greg Nagel, beer writer at OCBeerBlog.com has organized Firkfest (firkfest.com), the first all cask ale beer festival in Orange County. On March 22 at Farmers Park in the Anaheim’s Packing District (400 S. Anaheim Blvd.), the festival will feature more than 30 Southern California breweries who will each bring a firkin or two of their wares. For $50 (proceeds go to Inspire Artistic Minds) guests of the festival will be treated to unlimited 4 oz. pours of these delicious cask-conditioned ales.

The festival is generating a lot of buzz, according to Nagal, who said, “With Firkfest, I have breweries nagging me… It’s weird to have a brewery wait-list.”

Nagel said he organized Firkfest because he wanted to bring a fresh approach to beer festivals, one that “focus on unique nuances of modern craft beer.” He added that he hoped Firkfest would be the first of many festivals in Orange County that highlight the region’s growing craft beer culture.

If you can’t make it to Firkfest, there is always your local craft beer pub. Beachwood BBQ on the Promenade downtown always has at least one beer on cask, as does Congregation Ale House. If you’re willing to travel to the South Bay, Smog City and Monkish often offer their beers straight from the cask, and The Bruery in Orange County celebrates what the call “First Firkin Friday,” on the first Friday of every month, where they feature one or two of their beers on cask often adding fresh fruit or other exotic ingredients to the cask.

Sean Smith is an award winning homebrewer, historian and writer. You can find more of his writing at JustAnotherBeerBlog.com.

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Mar 3, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Local group shares insights in brewing craft beer

For some members of the Beer Alchemists of Coastal Carolina, brewing beer is more than a hobby — it’s a culinary experience.

Gunnery Sgt. James Lafferty, the unofficial leader of the Jacksonville-based homebrew club said brewing beer should be “an enjoyable experience, not just something to drink to be inebriated.”

The Beer Alchemists of Coastal Carolina, or BAC², serves as a gathering place for beer-enthusiasts to fraternize and is also an educational tool for members, some of whom wish to make brewing an occupation one day.

Club members typically meet from 2 to 5 p.m. the first Sunday of every month at the Fermentation Station located at 216 Henderson Drive in Jacksonville. There are no dues to join the club, according to Gunnery Sgt. Ian Peterson, who is one of the club’s unofficial leaders along with Lafferty. 

“It’s literally just show up and bring beer,” Peterson, who has been brewing for nine years, said. 

Each month, the club focuses on a different style of beer and members are encouraged to brew a beer in that particular style for the meeting. Then they bring samples for other members to taste, and the leaders bring some commercial brews as examples of the style, Peterson said.

“For those who didn’t get it quite right, we give pointers on how they can better their beer for that style,” Peterson said. 

Meetings encompass different activities, too, not just tasting. Peterson said they do brewing demonstrations, beer and food pairings and more. 

“We get pretty geeky, very technical sometimes,” Lafferty said. “We educate people on what they should be smelling and tasting.”

One of the club’s newest members, Greg Campbell, will be opening the first brewery in the Jacksonville area. Campbell’s brew pub, the High Tide Brewing Co. is located at 1002 Henderson Drive, Suite A in Jacksonville, and is currently under construction, but Campbell said they are slated to open in a couple of months.

Lafferty said the club is helping Campbell get the business up and running, by providing brewing tips. Campbell, who has been brewing for 15 years, said he has been working with the club on recipes. Their local expertise has been invaluable in knowing how to modify the area water to ensure the best flavors in his brews.

“The minerals in the water and their chemical makeup need to be modified or augmented or reduced depending on the type of beer that you’re brewing to make the flavors better,” Campbell said.

Once High Tide Brewing Co. opens, Campbell said they will serve light food fare including appetizers, paninis, and desserts, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in addition to having four to eight hand-crafted beers made on site on the tap at all times. Four beers – an IPA, porter, pale ale and blonde ale – will always be on tap, according to Campbell.

High Tide will also sell growlers, or 64-oz. jugs, for $4 and $12 can fill them up with beer. Customers who clean out and bring back their growlers for refills only have to pay the price of beer. High Tide will also have a tap room attached to the brewery, which will allow customers to purchase beer in pints, sampler flights and growlers. 

Phillip O’Hara first joined the BAC² in November 2012 as a way to learn more about making whiskey and beer in preparation for starting a distillery business.

The owner of Diablo Distilleries LLC, located off Ramsey Road in Jacksonville, O’Hara, who already has his federal and state licenses to distill, bottle and distribute his liquor, is currently in the process of getting product approval from the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission to sell North Carolina corn whiskey under the name Hell Hound Shine in liquor stores. 

O’Hara said “hell hound” is the term originally used by the Germans to describe Marines in World War I. The term was later translated to Devil Dog, which is a common name for Marines today. 

According O’Hara, 10 percent of the net profits will be donated to the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior project and other organizations which get veterans outside participating in activities.

Initially, the distillery will make the moonshine product, but O’Hara said he plans to open a brewery a few years down the road.

O’Hara said since he joined the club, his beer has noticeably improved. 

“Instead of reading a book on brewing, you can show up to the club and learn just as much,” he said. 

In addition to becoming better brewers, he said the club helps members learn how to taste different ingredients in the beer and teaches them what types of beers pair up best with different foods.

“It is a great way to expand your palate,” he said. 

For those who do not know how to brew but are interested in learning, O’Hara said brew days offer a great start.

“On brew days, you can learn a tremendous amount in a few hours time,” he said, adding that coming to a meeting and gleaning information from the leaders of the club is a faster way to learn than trying to do it all on one’s own with a homebrew beer kit.

The club teaches members about all different types of beer. As an added bonus for O’Hara, he said he has hopefully found some “potential guys to hire in a couple years” when he starts up his brewery.

Only a handful of the club’s members compete in competitions, including the Carolina Brewer of the Year circuit, which puts on six or seven competitions in North Carolina and South Carolina throughout the year. Other major breweries in the state also put on competitions which these members compete in.

Peterson said the club also puts on a “very small” competition quarterly throughout the year, which mainly involves club members. 

In February, Lafferty said the club brewed a beer with Beer Army Combat Brewery based out of Trenton. The robust porter called Port Arms, will be released soon, according to Lafferty, and will appear at the Beer Army Outpost and other select locations.

“As a club though we’ve had a booth at several beer festivals around the state,” Peterson said. Members who want to participate donate five gallons or more for tasting, and Peterson said the festivals are a chance to showcase more experimental beers – in the past they have showcased flavors such as a prickly pear hefeweizen, a mango habanero beer and a strawberry rhubarb blonde. 

Typically at the brew festivals the club brings on average approximately 10 different beers in flavors “from mild to wild” which are on tap for people to taste,  according to Peterson.

But more than anything, members come to gatherings to enjoy a passion with like-minded people.

“Part of it is just the camaraderie,” O’Hara said.

 

Get involved

To learn more about the club and when it meets, visit the BAC² Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/193300487373317/ or the club’s page on BeerArmy.com at http://beerarmy.com/group/bac2?.  

Join the club’s mailing list by calling the Fermentation Station at 910-455-7309 or contact the club on the Facebook page. 

To learn more about the High Tide Brewing Co. and to keep updated when it will open, visit the company’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HighTideBrewing?ref=br_tf. 

To learn more about Diablo Distilleries, visit diablodistilleries.com or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/diablodistilleries.

 

Contact Daily News reporter Katie Hansen at kathryn.hansen@jdnews.com.

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Feb 25, 2014
Freddie Kitson

New craft brewery planned for Gig Harbor

GIG HARBOR — After two-years of planning, procrastinating, and persuading investors, a new brewery and taproom — the Gig Harbor Brewing Company — will be opening in the new year.

The brewery will be a 10-barrel, multi-vessel automated system engineered specifically for Gig Harbor Brewing Company’s beer styles. Plans for the new brewery have the first kegs rolling out in late-November 2014, with more starting to show up shortly thereafter wherever great beers are sold in Western Washington.

The new brewery is the result of co-owner and sales manager John Fosberg’s long-held enthusiasm for craft beer.

“First we got hooked on the incredibly-creative beers produced locally — 7 Seas, Harmon, Duo Brewing,” he said. “Then it was attending and volunteering at beer festivals around the Northwest — then we starting brewing our own — and before we knew it, we were producing the Gig Harbor Beer Festival. Starting our own brewery is the next logical step in our craft beer dreams.”

Fosberg said that he had been kicking around ideas for a brewing company for several years, learning as much as he could about the industry through various organizations, the Gig Harbor Beer Festival, and talking with other brewers, but start-up costs and his busy creative agency, Fosberg Media Group, kept getting in the way of moving beyond the planning stages.

“I really loved the passion this industry has for its product, and I kept feeling that I really wanted to be a part of something like that. I couldn’t shake it,” Fosberg said.

A chance meeting during a trip to Europe in 2012 was enough to finally convince Fosberg to move forward with his brewery ideas. “I was walking along the streets of Nuremburg, Germany during the Christmas Markets. It was pouring down snow, so I stopped into a local pub, and there, sitting at the bar was a 40-something bloke from England wearing a “Beer Advocate” cap. I thought, ‘it’s a sign’. We talked for a long time about craft beer, breweries, and festivals in Great Britain, and all the places he had specifically traveled to in the U.S. just to visit craft breweries and taste the beer. Now that’s passion. That was the moment I decided to go forward. The Gig Harbor Brewing Company had to happen.”

On his return and with a renewed enthusiasm for the project, Fosberg said he quickly enlisted the help of several trusted advisors, two of whom were a lawyer and an accountant to put the final finishing touches on the new venture’s business plan.

Once the business plan was complete, Fosberg started talking to potential investors, and found it easy to convince people to get involved. “Everyone loved the idea from the start. We’re still looking for a few more investors to be a part of this, but a big chunk of the money has come from a small group of people who really fell in love with the project,” he said.

Trevor Nicol, a local brew master from Tacoma will be in charge of brewing at the new company. The brewery’s first three beers will be Galloping Gertie Pale Ale, Round Rock Pilsner, and Mosquito Fleet IPA™. The beer names have been chosen to represent some of the historical local icons and traditions of Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula, and Tacoma Narrows. “We wanted the beer names to be very locally tied to the area — a real Harbor flavor,” added Fosberg. In the future, other seasonal and limited-release recipes are also planned.

The location of the new brewery and other details will be announced later this year.

 

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Feb 25, 2014
Terri Judson

Foodies flock to flavorful Cape Town

From secret food meets to trendy markets, original food trucks and award-winning restaurants, Cape Town continues to offer a rich variety of foodie experiences.

A year-round calendar of popular food and wine festivals, such as Taste of Cape Town in April and the Good Food and Wine Show and Gugulethu Wine Festival in May, are amongst the events that Capetonians and travelers look forward to every year. The alluring Spier Secret Eat events include pop-up food and movie nights, and a secret harvest market in March. But it’s the day to day hum of a vibrant coffee culture, (Cape Town’s steampunk-style Truth Coffee Shop was named best in the world by MSN Travel) and the after work craft-beer community, make Cape Town a place you need to taste.

With fresh produce, gourmet picnic food and skilled Saturday chefs galore, markets have become social hangouts for weekend mornings, occasional evenings and celebrations. The Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock may have set the benchmark but there are now more than 70 markets in just about every corner of Cape Town and surrounds– most are family friendly and full of eye-candy, with the most delicious culinary offerings and many opportunities for people watching.

In addition to its food and wine events, Cape Town is also well known for its award-winning restaurants and top chefs. Eight of the Top Ten South African Eat Out Restaurants for 2013 are situated within or on the outskirts of the Mother City with the Test Kitchen topping the list once again. From fine dining to African, Asian and a fusion of flavors in between; all of it can be served up with excellent, often award-winning wines (many of them garagiste or small yield) from the region.

This year a project called 2014 Food will also run throughout the year at various venues around Cape Town for World Design Capital 2014. 2014 Food curates a series of food events that aim to activate the public and stakeholders to take a sustainable approach to growing fresh produce for our urban food economy.

Match food with design and culture and come to Cape Town in its ‘cozy season’. Winter also means that Cape Town restaurants offer up excellent specials to enjoy gourmet for less, watch Cape Town Tourism’s blog for details.

UK expat Luke Dale-Roberts, owner of The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club, says: “I’ve lived in South Africa for seven years now and during that time the food scene has really exploded. Seven years ago the food scene had just started taking off but in the last three to four years there has been this trend of setting up smaller offerings like burger bars or tapas restaurants, where the usual rule book is thrown out and start-ups go with their gut feeling. I think that in the next few years we will see even more of a boom in the food industry. I have a lot of favorite eateries in Cape Town – some of my favorites are 95 Keerom in central Cape Town for beautiful Italian food, the exceptional Chef’s Warehouse in Bree Street by Liam Tomlin, and a more recent find is Redemption at the Old Biscuit Mill for really great burgers.”

CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, concludes: “As the original port city in South Africa we have been influenced by food and flavor for many years. Today this has culminated in an extraordinary food scene. The year-long calendar of gastronomic events adds to the international appeal no matter the season and is a big part of what visitors love about Cape Town.”

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Feb 15, 2014
Kim Rivers

Rochester Public Market to hold Sno-Deo


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Created: 02/13/2014 12:34 PM WHEC.com

Who says you have to wait for summer for the food truck rodeo?  The Rochester Public Market is hosting Sno-Deo on Sunday.

Several of Rochester Food Truck Alliance member trucks will be serving up their specialties from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the public market.  Two of the trucks participating are Wrap on Wheels and Roc City Sammich. There will also be craft beer from Rohrbach Brewing Company. There will also be family-friend activities.

For more information, click here

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Feb 13, 2014
Terri Judson

Fun! 10 things to do this weekend in Arizona – ABC15.com (KNXV

Choose from an Arabian horse show, beer and wine festivals, and a book sale featuring over 200,000 books. It’s going to be another spectacular weekend with something for everyone in Arizona.

How about some fabulous concerts? Arizona Musicfest is still going strong. Music of every genre – classical, jazz, rock, chamber – is represented in various concerts throughout metro Phoenix.

Thousands will be headed to Wickenburg to celebrate Gold Rush Days. It’s a weekend of arts and crafts, gun fights, gold panning, cowboy theater and delicious eats.

And are you a bookworm? The annual VNSA book sale is this weekend. But it’s not just books. It’s over 200,000 books, DVDs, videos and other items.

How about kicking back with some craft beer and great food? The weeklong ‘Arizona Beer Week’ festival kicks off this weekend over 120 breweries represented and 300 craft beers. 

Now your turn! Keep sending your events to both PDixon@abc15.com and Josh.Frigerio@abc15.com with the skinny. We’d love to hear from you!
 

66th ANNUAL GOLD RUSH DAYS

Where: Wickenburg
When: Friday, February 14 through Sunday, February 16
Rodeo, arts and crafts, gun fights and a celebration of this beautiful, old mining city.

ARIZONA MUSICFEST

Where: Carefree
When: Now through February 28
Cost: Varies
Check website for locations and ticket prices for this weekend.

VNSA USED BOOK SALE

Where: Phoenix, Arizona State Fairgrounds
When: Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16
Cost: Free Event
More than 200,000 books are for sale. Sunday is half price.

ARIZONA BEER WEEK

Where: Phoenix, Steele Indian Park
When: February 15 – February 22
Cost: Start at $50
Beer tastings, craft beer ice creams, brewery tours and more. 

GRAPE ARIZONA WINE EVENT

Where: Phoenix, Irish Cultural Center
When: Sunday, February 16
Cost: $60
Fine wines from vineyards across Arizona. Silent auction, food and good times.

ARABIAN HORSE SHOW AND SHOPPING EXPO

Where: Scottsdale, Westworld
When: February 13 through February 23
Cost: Start at $10
Nearly 2,400 horses with top owners, trainers and breeders competing.

DEMI LOVATO

Where: Phoenix, Jobing.com
When: Saturday, February 15
Cost: Start at $22.55
The former child star has blossomed into a singer, actress and performer.

GREATER PHOENIX JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

Where: Scottsdale
When: Now through February 23
Cost: $10
15 days, 12 films. Entertaining, provocative indies with Jewish themes that cover the world over. 

LA BAYADERE: THE TEMPLE DANCER

Where: Phoenix Symphony Hall
When: February 13 through February 16
Cost: Start at $25
Set in India, La Bayadère:The Temple Dancer is the visually stunning story of a temple dancer, her lover and the vengeance that separates them.

CAREFREE FESTIVAL OF FINE CHOCOLATES AND FINE ART

Where: Carefree
When: February 13 through February 16
Cost: Free Event
Over 100 chocolatiers will be on hand. Come enjoy some decadent, divine chocolate!

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Feb 12, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Top beer festivals join forces

The Great Australian Beer Spectapular (GABS) will be an official event in the Good Beer Week calendar for the first time this year.

Good Beer Week and GABS have both been independently described by top international brewers as the “the best beer festivals in the world”, and in just three years have drawn in brewers and beer lovers from five continents. 

“Due to the success of both festivals, it seems only natural that GABS and Good Beer Week should join to create a momentous week of celebrating all things craft beer,” the organisers said this week.

The fourth Good Beer Week is expected to be the best yet, with the festival team recently revealing a teaser for their 2014 lineup that boasts talent from the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Japan, New Zealand and of course Australia. The festival will host around 200 events across Melbourne and Victoria. 

GABS will take place from 23 – 25 May, during the final three days of the nine-day Good Beer Week festival, attracting an audience of 12,000 people to celebrate the innovation and diversity of craft beer.  

Good Beer Week Founder and festival director, James Smith said: “Like Good Beer Week, the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular has played a key role in raising the profile of the Australian beer scene here and abroad. Working in tandem for the 2014 festival will help us create one of the greatest beer weeks on the planet and will ensure the good beer message reaches a bigger audience than ever before.” 

GABS co-founder Guy Greenstone added: “As both festivals are about promoting and appreciating fantastic craft beer and the people behind it, we are delighted to join forces with Good Beer Week to create a world class beer experience for visitors.” 

GABS will this year see around 120 creative and modern artisan beers brewed specifically for the event by leading Australian and international brewers, and feature more than 250 beers from 130 breweries, as well as gourmet street food, a fromagerie, live entertainment, brewery and industry stands and free educational seminars. 

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Feb 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

25 questions about Sacramento Beer Week with founder Dan Scott

SACRAMENTO – Football fans have the Super Bowl. Techies have CES. Fantasy and sci-fi fanatics have Comic-Con. And for each of the past five years, craft beer lovers within reach of California’s capital city have had Sacramento Beer Week to look forward to every February. Dan Scott, the founder and executive director of the annual gathering of beer geeks and foodies, spared a few precious moments from his frantic February schedule to discuss the origins of the event, what’s new this year and how to get the most out of the 2014 edition of the 11-day celebration of craft beer.

News10: What does being the founder and director of Sacramento Beer Week entail?

Scott: It’s really being the hub of a wheel. Sacramento Beer Week is really nothing without the brewers and pubs and restaurants doing their events and hosting breweries from around the area and around the world. What I do is I get the word out.

News10: Do you do it alone or do you have people working with you?

Scott: We have a team of designers and social media experts, and a team of beer lovers who get the word out about all the events and promote Sacramento as a craft beer destination.

News10: Are the team members freelancers, volunteers, employees?

Scott: They are freelancers but they get a small stipend. We all work primarily for the love of craft beer, and the love of our home town.

News10: What do you do when you’re not doing this?

Scott: Different things. I started this when I was writing my master’s thesis for public policy. So, I also do consulting on political issues, public policy issues. I do a lot of different things.

News10: What inspired the idea for beer week?

Scott: It was a topic of discussion among local brewers, restaurateurs and distributors that this is something we really needed to do. And so I was asked to explore the idea and see if it would work, and luckily, thanks to all our great beer businesses in the area it did. They embraced it immediately as participants and hosts, and as you know, Sacramento’s a beer town and a drinking town so the response was great.

News10: How many local brewers were involved in the first Beer Week?

Scott: There were nine, what we would consider local brewers in the Sacramento area – and that includes Two Rivers Cider. When we talk about craft beer, we’re always talking about cider. And when we’re talking about local beer, we’re talking about Two Rivers Cider. They are an integral part of our scene and have a long history with all of our brewers as well.

News10: How many are there this year?

Scott: This year we have 27 local breweries. What I mean by local is within about a 45-mile radius. The Sacramento beer area goes from Berryessa Brewing Company in Winters to the west, up to Sutter Buttes Brewing Company which is in Yuba City, and to the east there’s Auburn Alehouse in Auburn and Nevada City has Ol’ Republic. We don’t really go very far south.

News10: Do you remember how many events there were in that first year?

Scott: I think there was 150-ish.

News10: And this year there will be?

Scott: Three hundred to 500. The thing is, beer week has taken on a life of its own outside our immediate campaign. So there are businesses that choose to participate in the advertising campaign. They all chip in a little bit of money to help get the word out. And some businesses just say, “hey, we’re doing a beer week thing.” There’s a lot of unofficial events and a lot of official events. So there’s no real way to know. I would say 500 events is very likely among 100 local businesses.

News10: What would you say is a key factor to the continued growth and success?

Scott: It’s all about providing enough options for different people because not every event is going to appeal to every person. There’s rare, weird beers out there that the craft beer hardcores are going to embrace. And then there’s just the craft beer curious. Or there’s people that just enjoy very standard beer styles, pale ales, red ales, stouts and lagers that want to go out and celebrate our local scene. That’s one of the great things about it, is that there’s an enormous diversity of events that go on for pretty much anybody… if they’re over 21.

News10: Did you envision it would grow this much this quickly?

Scott: That’s tough to say. I knew that the craft beer scene was exploding. I did not think it was going to boom as hard as it is right now.

News10: What is the planning process like for an event like this?

Scott: Usually in the fall we’ll announce the dates, let people know what’s up. It’s up to the individual businesses to plan out their events. And these are thing that can’t be planned out too far in advance. Back in November when we start talking about beer week, these businesses are thinking about Thanksgiving, then they’re thinking about Christmas, for January they’re thinking about the Super Bowl. Once the Super Bowl’s over, that’s when they can really concentrate on things – except for some of the local restaurants who are pushing Valentine’s Day. A lot of it is last-minute planning. There’s a lot of forethought and thinking and tentative plans but it all explodes in February. On a year-round basis I’m in communication with larger entities, some beer magazines, some media so it’s always in the back of my mind, but it’s a little ridiculous to talk about beer week all year long.

News10: How does beer week benefit the city of Sacramento?

Scott: On one hand it’s simply dollars in the coffer. Most participants in beer week that I talk to say their busiest week all year long is beer week. Also it’s a matter of branding Sacramento as a destination for craft beer lovers. And that goes hand in hand with the farm –to-fork movement because local craft beer is farm to fork. We have these local people taking agricultural products and turning them into a local product that’s fresh, has an expiration date and exhibits a bit of a terroir if you will. That comes from the earth with wine, but it comes from culture and style with beer where they’re drawing from our region and our agricultural influences in order to make beer that says Sacramento.

News10: With an event like this, I’d imagine there’s a tourism draw too?

Scott: Absolutely. I get emails from people each year, and they ask me, “Hey, when’s that beer festival going to be? I have friends from A, B C coming to visit from out of state,” or, “I live in Florida.”

News10: Have you had any pushback for having a week that celebrates the consumption of beer?

Scott: No.

News10: What’s new this year?

Scott: As I mentioned, there are many new breweries. The biggest new thing different from last year is that we’re bringing back the Sacramento Brewers Showcase. It was done in past years, but last year it didn’t happen. This is the beer festival that is exclusively for Sacramento-area breweries. That’s going to be held at the California Auto Museum on Thursday the 27th of Feburary. There’ll be a dozen restaurants as well serving food samples. That’s the standout event to me because it’s showing what we have here that’s unique to Sacramento.

As in the past several breweries are making beers exclusive to this week, including some teaming up and making one together. This includes a collaborative beer where each brewery starts with the same pale ale recipe and puts their own spin on it. At the Sacramento Brewers Showcase, each brewery will bring their creation for sampling and guests will vote on their favorite for a People’s Choice award. This is the first year this is being presented and they will get a trophy that gets passed to the winning breweries each year.

The other big change is the Capitol Beerfest, which is in its fourth year, is moving to downtown Sacramento on the Capitol Mall on March 9. It’s amazing that the city and the Convention Visitor’s Bureau are embracing this idea that we can bring beer and food down to a giant outdoor area like so many other cities do. I can’t imagine that it’ll be anything but successful. It’s one of the largest beer festivals in California.

Another new thing that is different this year is that we are offering the Beer Week Geek Membership. This is to reward the people that are going out the most and are really into going to the big events. As a beer week geek, you’ll get expedited VIP admission to both beer festivals that I mentioned. You’ll also get an exclusive tulip glass which is not going to be available on the market. It’s a $150 value for $75. So it’s a great way to tell the geekiest of the local beer geeks that their participation is appreciated.

News10: Where can people get the Beer Week Geek membership?

Scott: They can order that on the website.

News10: Can you discuss the partnership with Uber this year?

Scott: We’ve always considered responsibility and safety to be important. But as we get larger, we have more opportunities to make sure that people are aware they are responsible for their behavior and businesses need to do their best to help put the word out. So we have Uber as the official safe ride of Sacramento Beer Week.

News10: What other efforts are being made to ensure safety?

Scott: We’re also working closely with an organization called Drink Safely Sacramento, which is a new nonprofit that we helped establish last beer week. First of all it’s a localized campaign that hopefully will grow. But secondly, it’s not all about preventing driving under the influence. People have personal accidents when they drink too much, there’s public violence, domestic violence, vandalism. There’s so many things that are the result of people being irresponsible. It’s a great thing that this campaign is going to help remind people, even in small ways, that there are safer and smarter ways to enjoy yourself without doing things that you might regret, or particularly that might hurt other people or businesses. It’s all about being a responsible member of your community.

News10: How much would you estimate Beer Week has contributed to the growth of Sacramento’s craft beer scene?

Scott: It’s a chicken and egg type of thing. I’d say it supports it. It assuredly supports it. My favorite thing I hear all year from the public is I constantly hear people saying, “If it wasn’t for Beer Week, I would have never heard of this business, or this brewery.” It’s a great way for people to discover new places that are serving beer or food that they enjoy, or places they simply enjoy hanging out. I think craft beer is a runaway train and no one thing is going to be stopping it or improving it. It’s all a giant cultural movement. It’s way bigger than any of us here in town, or any single brewery or business.

News10: If you could describe Beer Week in one sentence to someone who’s never experienced it before, how would you do it?

Scott: The largest variety of beer in the area all year long.

News10: What advice would you offer someone trying to fit in as many events as possible?

Scott: Well, of course my first piece of advice is be responsible. You don’t want people driving around all day going to a dozen events. There are some hot spots where you can walk all day long to a variety of events. Downtown, midtown, East Sac, Roseville, even Auburn have several businesses. Particularly though, downtown, midtown and East Sac are the concentration.

It’s easier for someone who is craft-beer conscious because you can look at breweries you’ve never tried before, or breweries you know are doing new and interesting things. If you’re completely new to craft beer, there are many businesses that are featuring what the calendar is going to list as a “mini fest” where there might be 10 different breweries. So they’ll be pouring samples. You don’t have to go to an event and buy a pint of beer, and if you don’t like it, you’re out of luck. Or, if you do like it, there’s only so many pints of beer you can drink. Most of these events do small samples of these beers where they’ll put together a tray of whatever it is that they’re serving.

Also, go to places that you already know you enjoy. A lot of people’s favorite restaurants are going to be participating. And maybe they’ve never had a beer dinner at one of these places. That’s a great way to sit down, relax, get a great meal and good beer.

Talk to your friends. If you can’t decide what to do, maybe a buddy of yours has a really good map or agenda lined out.

And don’t be afraid to try new things.

News10: What are your favorite type of events?

Scott: That’s difficult to answer simply because I’m on the extreme end of beer geekery. I like events where there are as many different breweries as possible, because I’m looking for variety and novelty. For me the weirdest beer, and the most cutting edge beer is at the sour fest at Sam Horne’s Tavern, but there are several other sour fests being planned that week, so I don’t want to just limit it to that. Any sour beer fest, that’s one of the ones where you’re going to find me.

Another one that I really like for its novelty is the cask fest, the firkin fest I believe it’s called over at Rubicon. They have a dozen or so, maybe more, different beers that are on cask. That is the old way of way of serving beer before we had gases propelling carbonated beverages. It used to be in a barrel. You put a hole in the barrel and the beer would pour out. And so this is beer that is a little bit warmer, more at a cask temperature than it is a chilled temperature, and these are the freshest beers that you’re going to find unless you go to the brewery where they’re being made. Many of these beers are not available year round, they’re specifically put into the cask for this event. So that’s another one where there’s going to be beer that is interesting. You probably haven’t had it and if you have, you probably haven’t had it in that format.

News10: Now for the question the beer geeks are waiting for, where is Pliny the Younger going to be?

Scott: Nobody ever knows. It’s like the magic elf appearing out of nowhere. For the uninitiated, Pliny the Younger is a very limited version of one of the Holy Grail beers that is most widely regarded as that beer you have to try. It’s from Russian River Brewing Company is Santa Rosa, California. Every February, they make their triple IPA version of their double IPA, Pliny the Elder. It’s made in very small amounts and luckily Sacramento has grown to be enough of a beer market that we are getting this beer. You will get this beer in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego, Colorado, Philadelphia, Portland, probably Seattle too. That’s really about it. It’s in a handful of markets. Gosh, there might be a total of 50 places in the United States that’ll get it. You’ll probably find it at five or six places around town during the week where you might expect it. Places serving the widest variety of craft beer. Keep your ear to the ground. Keep your eye on Twitter. That’s usually where you’ll find somebody announce that it’s going to be happening.

News10: Anything else you want people to know?

Scott: As I mentioned before, beer week is a week to go out and try something new and to broaden your horizons, as well as to go to your favorite place and enjoy your favorite beer. It’s really an opportunity for people to celebrate one of the things that’s great about the Sacramento area, that we are a fantastic craft beer scene. Our beer scene is tied into our local agriculture and we are able to enjoy things that nobody else in the world can, and that’s special. It’s a great time to be a beer lover in Sacramento.

Follow Paul Janes on Twitter: @News10_Paul

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Jan 14, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Drinks Americas (OTC: DKAM) Craft Beer Available in Over 700 Accounts in … – 4

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Drinks Americas (OTC: DKAM) a leading U.S. broker for authentic Mexican craft beer proves to be right on trend with Day of the Dead Craft Beer. Since their roll out in Florida with Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), the brand is now available in over 700 accounts, including Cost Plus, Fresh Markets, Disney, World of Beer, 7-11′s, Mexican restaurants and other independents. RNDC is working diligently on supporting the market with presences at beer festivals, tastings and gaining placement at well-known retail chains.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131203/NY26893 )

“Republic is carrying all six labels- Death Rides A Pale Horse Blonde Ale, Immortal Beloved Hefeweizen, Death Becomes Her Amber Ale, Queen of the Night Pale Ale, Immortal Beloved IPA and Pay The Ferryman Porter – We have full intentions to support Day of the Dead Mexican Craft Beer. They are all equally performing well for us and we are excited to have a great tasting, eye catching, unique brand in our portfolio,” said Colin Hof, Beer Marketing Manager, Republic National Distributing Company.

“I have worked with RNDC for several years and couldn’t be happier with their performance so far in Florida. Colin and his team communicate regularly and have great rapport with the accounts in Florida. We have also launched with RNDC in Colorado and now have verbally solidified a partnership in Nebraska,” said Joseph Belli, VP Sales, Day of the Dead Beer.

Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) is an organization built on the strong foundations of long-term, well-established family owned companies. The earliest RNDC predecessor company traces its roots back to a single distributorship that was founded back in 1898 in Pensacola, Florida. The Companies vision is to be the national distributor of choice of beverage alcohol producers who value the three tier system, building branded products and profitability for all parties involved and serving the needs of our associates, suppliers, customers and community.

Today, RNDC is the second largest beverage alcohol distributor of premium wine and spirits in the U.S. with wholly owned operations in Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. RNDC also operates in Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina through venture partnerships. In total, RNDC employs more than 7,500 hard working individuals nationwide.

About Drinks Americas Holdings (OTC: DKAM)

Drinks Americas is the exclusive United States broker for leading premium authentic Mexican beers currently present in over 32 states and is on target to be the leading broker for this growing category in each of the markets in which it operates. All the beers are brewed in Mexico’s third largest brewery, Cerveceria Mexicana, which is proudly Mexican owned and uses state of the art processes, fermentation and aging systems. Drinks Americas leading premium authentic Mexican beer brands includes specialty craft beer Day of the Dead, Mexicali(TM), Rio Bravo(TM), Crazy Pig(TM) and Chili Devil(TM). Drinks Americas (OTC: DKAM) brands continues to forge strong connections with consumers through some of the largest retailers and restaurants in the country.

Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this release, including the description of the company and its product offerings, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the historical volatility and low trading volume of our stock, the risk and uncertainties inherent in the early stages of growth companies, the company’s need to raise substantial additional capital to proceed with its business, risks associated with competitors, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company’s most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Investor Relations: 866-501-6582
Email: Lauren@ChooseWindmill.com

SOURCE Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd.

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