Upcoming Events for Great American Craft Beer…

So now that we have a few weeks of interviews behind us, now comes the fun part: celebrating Great American Craft Beer. The lovely folks at Cambridge Common will be hosting the book release party for Great American Craft Beer on Thursday September 2, 2010, from 6-8pm. There is some information on Facebook and a little more about this event on BeerAdvocate. Everyone is welcome to join us and beer will be pay as you go.

Great American Craft Beer Book Release Party.

Come join us for the release party for beer writer Andy Crouch’s new book, Great American Craft Beer. He’ll be leading one of Cambridge Common’s Beer Skools, talking about selections from his book (all available on tap at the Common), and also will be signing copies of the book. There will be snacks, great beers, a wee bit of education, and a great night celebrating American craft beer.

Gordon’s Culinary Center and Beer Education.

Starting next month, I will be hosting a series of beer related events at the Gordon’s Fine Wine and Culinary Center in Waltham. We’re calling it “The Art, Beauty and Complexity of Beer; A Series of Not-So-Serious Discussions.” I will be hosting “a revolving lineup of engaging craft beer personalities as they dish out their opinions on everything from the state of American craft beer to the preposterous amounts of facial hair in the industry. As any good beer discussion must be, these intimate conversations will take place over samples of beer from the brewers themselves.”

The first installment of the series, “Brew to the Future,” first event will be held on September 8, 2010, and will go from 7-8:30 pm. I am fortunate to be joined by two of New England’s most interesting and exciting brewers: Dann Paquette, co-owner and brewer of Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project and Jon Curtis from the Haverhill Brewery. These two experienced and adventurous brewers will be discussing the impact of traditional brewing cultures on their work, from Jon’s modern take on German classics to Dann’s roots in English methods. With Jon and Dann, there will be no shortage of opinion, hilarity, and (of course) period costumes.

From the folks at Gordon’s on the venue: “Gordon’s Fine Wine and Culinary Center is the preeminent venue for beer education in the Boston area. Through trips, classes, festivals and electronic media, our knowledgeable beer staff is constantly busy championing the necessity for respect and admiration for mankind’s original beverage of choice.”

Great American Beer Festival – The Great American Craft Beer Experience.

We of course will be holding an excellent beer education and tasting event in Denver during the upcoming Great American Beer Festival. Join us for the Great American Craft Beer Experience, a tasting event featuring three of America’s most exciting and talented brewers.

Part book-release party, part celebration of American craft beer, the event will give attendees an excellent opportunity to taste beers from around the country and interact with the brewers.

Brewers will be attending from Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery (Paul Philippon), Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Matt Brynildson), and Odell Brewing Company (Doug Odell).

Beers: Duck-Rabbit: Milk Stout and Wee Heavy Scotch Ale; Firestone Walker: Double Barrel Ale, Union Jack, and Parabola; Odell: IPA and 90 Shilling. Other beers may be added.

Sponsored by BeerAdvocate, the event will feature at least six beers from these breweries, selected from Great American Craft Beer, in a tutored tasting event with the brewers themselves. Andy Crouch will moderate a panel discussion and attendees will be able to ask questions of the author and the brewers.

Limited to 50 tickets, for a more intimate event, so get yours while they last.

Ticket price is $45 and includes beer tastings, a signed copy of Great American Craft Beer, light appetizers, and a 6-issue subscription (just a taste) to BeerAdvocate magazine.

Buy Tickets

Please note tickets will be “will-call” (physical tickets will not be shipped; guest list at the event). And sorry: No refunds. No door sales. No media passes.

Newly opened, Stoney’s Bar & Grill is located at 1111 Lincoln Street in downtown Denver, Colorado.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Published in August 2010 by Running Press, Andy Crouch’s Great American Craft Beer takes readers on a passionate and informative journey through the most palate-pleasing ales and lagers produced by American craft brewers today. A personal guide and companion to the exciting world of American craft beer, this unique book also touches upon several related subjects including food, travel, history, and the stories and personalities of America’s best brewers. More than 60 styles and 350 beer profiles are accompanied by full-color photographs and illustrations of the beers and beer labels. It also includes perfect pairing recipes and profiles of 25 of the best beer bars in the country.

ABOUT ANDY CROUCH
Andy Crouch, an award-winning freelance writer, has provided articles to Ale Street News, American Brewer, Celebrator Beer news, New Brewer Magazine, Yankee Food News, and through his website, BeerScribe.com. He writes columns for both Beverage Magazine and BeerAdvocate Magazine. In addition, Crouch’s first book, The Good Beer Guide to New England, was published by the University Press of New England in May 2006. He resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Be Social:

Belgian Beer Fest Recap, Lawsuits Flying Around, and Other New England Beer Happenings…

It’s been a while since I wrote about the New England beer scene, as my focus has been more on the national and international. So I thought I’d take a few minutes this suddenly snowy afternoon to offer some brief updates on the New England beer scene.

Openings and Closings

Since writing The Good Beer Guide to New England, we’ve seen many breweries come and some go. In more recent months, the White Birch Brewing Company opened up a 1 barrel (you read that right) in Hookset, New Hampshire. A self-professed lover of Belgian-style beers and high alcohol American beers, this homebrewer turned professional brewery is presently trying to live the dream 31 gallons at a time. The economics are incredibly difficult to make work at that small a production level, just ask Andrew Carlson. From what I sampled of the White Birch products at the recent Belgian Beer Festival in Boston, including a Saison and several different Tripels, the transition from homebrewing to production brewing is clearly never an easy one. I understand that the beer is available at a limited number of New Hampshire stores and retails for above $10 per bottle, a pretty steep asking price (but understandably necessary in light of the small-scale) considering the quality of the offerings available for less than that amount. A beer festival is not always the best place to take the full measure of a brewery so I look forward to seeing how this brewery manages the hurdles it faces.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, run by brewer Dann Paquette and his wife Martha, continues to do very well in Boston and in a limited number of eastern markets. Instead of plopping down hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new system, the Paquettes decided to rent excess time on the systems of other willing brewers. Pretty Things produces a range of interesting and eclectic beers, possessing a broad profile of flavors, at very reasonably price points. Cheers to both Paper City and Buzzards Bay for allowing a fellow brewer to take over the reins of their breweries.

In the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, brewer Shaun Hill continues to ready his next brewing operation, a farmhouse brewery in Greensboro, Vermont. Having kicked around The Shed and Trout River Brewing, Shaun left Vermont a couple years back to brew at the Nørrebro brewhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark. We visited Shaun earlier this year and while he is full of plans for the future, they are tempered with the understanding of how difficult it is to open up a new brewery. He’s been slowly slogging through the required paperwork and zoning but there is no sure date on when this project will come to fruition. Shaun’s days in Copenhangen are numbered as he’s showing the ropes to his successor, Ryan Witter-Merithew, formerly of Duck-Rabbit in North Carolina.

In other farm-brewhouse news, brewer Paul Davis and his family continue their efforts to open their own production brewery, to be called the Prodigal Brewing Company. Located on the Misty Mountain Farm in Effingham, New Hampshire, not far from where Paul used to brew for the Castle Springs Brewing Company. He ambitiously hopes to start a small farmhouse brewery, where he’ll grow his own hops, and notably produce true-to-style German lagers. Paul has experience opening breweries, having helped direct the Troutbrook Brewing (Thomas Hooker) opening. Add to that honey, roses, and some animals and this functioning farm will be a very interesting addition to the New England beer scene.

Speaking of lager beer, it appears that the von Trapp family of The Sound of Music fame is readying its own production brewery attached to its Vermont inn and tea room. The project is apparently a long-time dream for the Stowe-based operation and the focus will be on lagers, though somewhat hard to understand with quotes like this from the local paper.

One will be a nice Salzburg-type beer,? von Trapp said. “It will be a terrific, flavorful beer that’s not too hoppy and not so strong that you can have one at lunch without getting a headache.

The lead brewer on the project will be Allen Van Anda, formerly of
the defunct Cross Brewery and the Rock Art Brewery. The company is in the process of putting together all the required legal groundwork for the operation, whose opening date is not yet known.

The guys who were to start the Nomad Brewing Company in North Adams in Western Mass have relocated their operations to Pittsfield and have nearly completed a buildout on the newly rechristened Wandering Star Craft Brewery. I imagine the business plan will remain the same, with a heavy focus on real ales.

Also some word that Ben Roesch, formerly of Honest Town, Nashoba, and Cambridge Brewing, is working on a new brewery in Worcester, with a release date of November on the first beer. Disturbingly named Wormtown Brewery, the brewery will run four different beers initially and will be Worcester’s first brewery in some time. In an odd twist, journeyman brewer Mike Labbe has taken over Ben’s old job at Honest Town, adding another notch on his well-worn resume of brewing gigs.

The Pennichuck Brewing Company of Milford, New Hampshire also just announced that it is closing up shops after a few years of service. In an era where craft beer sales are rising, even in a bad economy, it’s always difficult to know why any particular business cannot succeed. The New Hampshire market is a tough one and despite its minute size, Pennichuck distributed beers as widely as Alabama and Florida. The beer was not particularly well-established in the Boston market and we generally only saw the specialty offerings that were inexplicably sold in 1 liter bottles, usually at stratospheric prices (bottles of the imperial stout were $10 to the retailer, let alone with the additional consumer markup). UPDATE: There is news that Pennichuck has secured funding from an angel investor at the eleventh hour and will remain in business. Look forward to seeing how the brewery changes its approach to improve its financial future.

Lawsuits and Small Business Headaches

Speaking of Rock Art, I’ve generally avoided weighing in on the viral madness of the Monster Energy Drink and Vermonster saga. As an attorney, I’m interested in learning more about the intricacies of trademark law as it applies to this situation, but that isn’t likely anytime soon. I’ve been asked about the situation several times over the last week and my response is usually the same: Rock Art should capitalize as much as it can on the free press and viral word-of-mouth PR it will garner in the next couple weeks and then it should rename the Vermonster, a specialty beer that the brewery doesn’t produce much of, something cheeky but safe from litigation. The viral campaign against Monster does appear to be gaining some traction but Rock Art’s filing of an application for a national trademark may be sufficiently important to move to the courtroom, despite the PR fracas. To fight a mega-corporation with a $2 billion market capitalization, while perhaps principled, is a recipe for business disaster and doesn’t make any sense. I think the good folks at Rock Art probably know this and if not, they should listen to the wise counsel of Peter Egelston of the Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose Brewing who sums up with examples what I’ve been telling people this week.

Sales

And in a final bit of news, the La Resistance distributorship, run by the Shelton Brothers, has been sold to another Massachusetts distributor. La Resistance distributed beers from Paper City, Thomas Hooker, Pretty Things, Jolly Pumpkin, among others, along with the Shelton Brothers line of imported beers. No word on whether each of the products will remain with the new distributor.

Be Social: