2 Beer Guys Blog

Welcome to the 2 Beer Guys Blog! Here, you will be able to read our stories and adventures as we travel through the world of craft beer.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Labrea Tar Pits Stout

Here's a couple of pictures from this weekends brewing. The wort looked so good in the pot it was hard not to just scopp some out for a taste! This was the first time I've used a blow-off tube instead of a regular air-lock. I've read in forums and other homebrewing sites that high gravity beers tend to have really intense krausens anda normal airlock usually gets clogged with foam overflow and can bow right out of the top, leaving a nasty mess to clean up! Well, here's picture evidence, wow, I'm glad I followed the advice!!! Normally the Krausen layer gets about 2 inches high, but never hit the airlock itself... Can't wait to see how this bad boy turns out.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Harpoon's Newest 100 Barrel Series

Sounds like a yummy new option. Tuesday is the night!!

Friends of Harpoon are invited to join us for an another Friend of Harpoon 100 Barrel Series event for Glacier Harvest Wet Hop Beer. This special 100 Barrel Series event will take place next Tuesday, October 2 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Olde Spot Pub in Salem. Stop by the Old Spot Pub and show your Friend of Harpoon card to the Harpoon rep and Harpoon will purchase a pint of Glacier Harvest Wet Hop Beer for you.

About Harpoon 100 BBL Series Glacier Harvest Wet Hop beer
The 20th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series has been brewed to celebrate the annual hop harvest. Harpoon Glacier Harvest Wet Hop beer is a pale ale made with fresh hops picked just hours before being tossed into the brew.

The Olde Spot Pub is located at 121 Essex Street in Salem, MA. Don't forget that beer is best shared with friends, so bring some pals along with you.

If you are unable to stop by for this tasting, don't worry. The 100 Barrel Series Glacier Harvest Wet Hop Beer will be on tap for the next couple weeks at the Olde Spot Pub in Salem. We hope you will join us!

Oktoberfest reveler stuck in chimney for 12 hours

Provided by Routers and posted on CNN.com

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man who had been drinking heavily at Munich's Oktoberfest beer festival got stuck in a chimney for 12 hours while trying to climb into a friend's apartment, police said Friday.

After finding his friend was not at home, the 27-year-old climbed on to the roof of a neighboring building at about 2 a.m. Thursday and headed for what he thought was a gap in the wall between the two houses.

He found himself sliding almost 30 meters (98 feet) head first into a chimney, a spokesman for Munich police said.

An 82-year-old janitor from the hotel next door eventually heard the man's calls for help and he was rescued at around 2 p.m. by fire brigade officers who knocked a hole into the side of the chimney to liberate him, the spokesman said.

He had managed to turn around and had removed his clothes to try to help him squeeze back up.

"Miraculously, he was only slightly injured in the fall, sustaining just grazes and bruising," police said. The man was taken by helicopter to the hospital, where he is being treated for hypothermia, they added.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Ignace We Trust

In honour of our good friend Ignace, the United States Treasury has issued a limited-edition commemorative ten dollar bill. It can be viewed here.

Ok for safety sake, this is not legal tender, and the treasury has nothing to do with it! Don't try printing it and buying a six pack, you might get arrested!

Hold the milk, pass the lager

Well, this article might be six years old, but it still amazed me when I read it. Apparently, an organization approached schools in Belgium about replacing soda and juice in their lunch program with table beer, which falls somewhere around 2% abv. Their contention was that it was much healthier than the sugary drinks the children were currently consuming. And it turns out, a couple of schools agreed with him! Click here to read the article.

Ignace Update

I'm sharing this message, because it's the easiest way to share information with everyone... If you have any questions, please let me know.


My sister was kind enough to send this message on my behalf.

This has been a unique learning experience although I have to strongly recommend against, going through the exercise just for the pleasure of getting to know
yourself better. However, I was there, it did happen, this is what I found out.

1) I kick ass really, I do when confronted with a life-threatening situation. I was able to conceive and implement a plan to survive. Many people can do that too, I am far from unique.

But when asked naw "what would you do if".....

I can answer with certainty, it' s a great feeling (and I hope I won't do it again!!!!)

2) I can crack wise- anytime-, the expression on the doctor's face when you ask "so, when do you think i could go back to work" right before you flatline priceless ( but again, i can't recommend going through all that, just so you can deliver the line)

3)There is-no- bright light at the end of the tunnel, you fade out and somebody will go: "sir, sir! wake-up, sir you either hear them and respond or you don't.

Thank you all very much again, you're chrome steel on the outside and butter scotch on the inside.

See you all soon!!!


Here are some of my favorite Ignace pics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

With fall nearing, beer lovers celebrate brewing

This article was posted on CNN a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to share with everyone who missed it.


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

With fall nearing, beer lovers celebrate brewing

Two of the biggest beer festivals take place each fall
Germany's 185-year-old Oktoberfest is held September 22 to October 7
There are 364 microbreweries and 975 brewpubs operating in the U.S.
Rather do it yourself? More and more people are trying home brewing
By Linda K. Harris

---- Sometimes, a hobby can take on a life of its own. That's what happened to Sam Calagione of Lewes, Delaware. He began brewing beer at home in 1993. Two years later, that avocation blossomed into a full-fledged business: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
"We're proud of our growth," Calagione said of the Milton, Delaware-based brewery. "But what we're most proud of (is that) we've been able to continue this growth without dumbing down our beers. We opened with the mission of off-centered ale for off-centered people."

This has meant trying out such unusual ingredients as maple syrup, raisins and St. Johns Wort.

Dogfish Head brews run the gamut from their signature 60 Minute IPA, an India pale ale available year round, to limited and seasonal specialties like Punkin Ale, released in September and October.

Oktoberfest and Beyond

Whether the drink in question is an American craft brew, a German pilsner or an Australian ale, there are festivals the world over dedicated to celebrating beer. Two of the biggest beer festivals take place each fall. Germany's 185-year-old Oktoberfest, held September 22 to October 7 in Munich, is perhaps the best-known celebration of beer.

In the United States, the Great American Beer Festival is the big beer event. Now in its 26th year, this gathering in Denver, which takes place October 11-13, offers competitions, socializing and lots of beer tasting. In 2006, 41,000 people turned out, and attendance this year is expected to be comparable, as interest in craft brewing continues to be strong.

"The first (festival) was in 1982. There were 22 breweries, 40 beers and 800 attendees. This year there are 470 breweries entered," said Julia Herz, a spokeswoman for the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, and a home brewer herself. "The growth of craft beer in the U.S. is based on the marketplace's demand for flavor and diversity."

Craft beers, according to the Brewers Association, are "made using a traditional process of blending the sugars from malted grains (such as barley or wheat), with hop flowers and water."

The association, which tabulates industry data, reports that, "The volume of craft beer sold in the first half of 2007 rose 11 percent compared to (the) same period in 2006, and dollar growth increased 14 percent. For the first time ever, craft beer has exceeded a 5 percent dollar share of total beer sales," and the demand is spreading to markets in Europe and China.

If you can't make it to Munich or Denver, there are plenty of other beer festivals in the U.S., including The Oregon Brewers Festival in July in Portland and the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, Wisconsin, in August.

Overseas beer celebrations include the Great British Beer Festival in August and Belgium's Zythos party in March, as well as similar events in China, Japan and Australia.

Rather not travel too far for your brew? There were 364 microbreweries and 975 brewpubs operating in the U.S. in 2006 pumping out 6.7 million barrels, according to the Brewers Association.

Brew it Yourself

Interest in making beer at home also appears to be growing. The American Homebrewers Association reported a 20 percent increase in membership in 2006. Although they don't conduct formal research on brewing at home, the association estimates that 500,000 people in the U.S. make their own beer. Vermont-based Brew Your Own magazine puts that figure at about 1.25 million.

One of those brewers is Phil Clarke, who lives in New York City and works at Maltose Express, a home brew supply store in Monroe, Connecticut. He devotes a whole room in his apartment to the craft, making British ales and German lagers, a little mead and even some wine. Clarke says he brews about 60 gallons, or four cases, of beer a year. But he doesn't keep it all for himself.

"A lot of it goes to competition," Clarke says. "I probably drink about a third of it."

He leans toward Scotch ales, fruit beers and smoked beers. Once he made a prize-winning blackberry porter and he's also won for a beer using spruce tips, an idea he got, he says, from a technique used during the colonial era.

"I like my strong scotch ale, that's my signature beer," Clarke said. "Scotch ales are all malt, they're very chewy, very sweet, lot of character and depth."

Finding The Best Brews

If brewing your own is a little too much work, but you want to expand your beer horizons, look for recommendations at beeradvocate.com and ratebeer.com, which rank the best beers in the world. Both of these sites are dedicated to all things beer and feature lively online communities of beer aficionados from the world over.

Click Here for the article

Where have YOU been lately?

PHEEEEEEWWWWWW.... boy have we been busy!!!

OK, I apologize for being silent on the blog for a bit lately. I have a medley of topics that I want to recap on. If you have anything to share, please add a comment.

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

The Liberal Cup

The Liberal Cup 115 Water Street, Hallowell, Me. 04347
Old world style English Pub. Comfortable, friendly atmosphere serving delicious homemade fare and fresh brewed beers crafted in our brewery on the premises.
Bar Business Hours: Daily 11:30 am - Closing
Restaurant Business Hours: Serving lunch & dinner daily from 11:30 am - 10:00 pm

After we closed on the camp in Maine, Amber and I grabbed some dinner at the Liberal Cup (With Tom/Cathy/Josh and Mackenzie). The pub has a rustic bar, but clean atmosphere. The walls were covered with beer sign and many different beer bottles from other breweries. They had a wide variety of food on their menu. With our meal, Amber and I shared their sampler of beers. I enjoyed their CASK ESB the best, while Amber like the Lake Trout Stout (offered by their Guest Brewery - Sebago). It's great that this brewery is only 7 miles away from our Camp. Can't wait for everyone to check it out!!!


Wachusett Blueberry

I picked up a couple of 6 packs at Leary's last weekend and placed them in the top portion of the shopping cart. I was shocked that a bottle of Wachusett's Blueberry exploded while it was in the cart. I took the 6 pack off that was on top of it, but for some reason, the bottle exploded and sent everywhere. I only received a few scratches, but please be aware when stacking 6 backs.

Tap Riverfest...

The Tap Riverfest has come and gone. Andy, George, Ryan and I worked the event. Also present at this event were Ian, Kristen, Kat, Amber, and Lisa. I was glad to be a pourer at the Cask Ale station. One for YOU, one for meeeee. Well, no, it didn't really go that way, but it was a fun time. I plan on volunteering for this event next year (if we aren't helping organize it)...

Woodstock Inn Brewery

On Saturday night, Amber and I traveled to Lincoln, NH to meet up with Ryan, Jen, Oliver, Ian, Kristen, Matt and Megan. I was excited that we were going to the Highland games on Sunday. After taking the 2 hour trek, we departed the hotel for dinner and beverages at the Woodstock Inn.

It was rather crowed when we arrived, so we put our names in for a table and headed to the bar. The layout of the brewpub is rather hodgepodge, like a series of additions were added on to the existing building. Each room had it's own atmosphere, but unfortunately, this meant crowded walk ways and made it somewhat difficult to navigate.

After enjoying some pints and peanuts, we decided to get a pitcher (because we saw someone else with it). I am glad that we got pitchers of the Cask IPA and the Pigs Ear Nut brown. Both offerings were very tasty. We also tried their Scottish Ale that they made specifically for the Highland Games. It was very good.

At the end of the evening, I met head brewer Errol 'Butch' Chase. He was rather busy working the bar, so we didn't bother him. Overall, the beer was tasty and the atmosphere was awesome. I would definitely go back for more.


New Hampshire Highland Games

On Sunday, we ventured over to the Highland Games. It was fun watching the tough man competitions, see all of the dancers and listen to the different Bag Pipe bands. Towards the end of the day, I tried Redhook's Scottish Ale that they made for the Festival. It was tasty, but not as flavorful as Woodstock's Scottish ale.

I hope that I am able to attend the Highland Games next year.

1st Annual Brew Fest

I was slightly hesitant to post this, but someone needs to go on a scouting mission. Being involved in the 2nd annual Brew Fest might be a something for 2008.

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Address: Amesbury Sports Park, 12 South Hunt Road, Amesbury
Hours: Doors Open at 4
Cost/Cover: $10
Contact Info: MaryCarol at 978-388-5788

Details: Join Amesbury Sports Park and Coors Light at the 1st Annual Brew Fest on Saturday, October 6th. Food, music and fun for all ages! Doors open at 4 and show begins at 5:30. Show will feature live music from The Digbees, Sunchunck, Third Man High and Michael Bernier & The Uprising! Visit www.amesburysportspark.net for more information.


Event is on: One day only
Audience: All Welcome
Category: Big events (festivals, conventions, flea markets etc.)
Location: Amesbury, MA
Sponsored By: Amesbury Sports Park

Some day... Over the Beer rainbow

When will then be now?

It's tough to see all these images of Oktoberfest and not want to be there.

We need to be there. We need to have our beerfests......

Some day... (when hell freezes over) we'll make the journey.

(waking up and coming back to reality)

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Sign....

This is a picture of a great sign I saw while on vacation in Florida.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

2Beerguys listed on WorldCulinaryInstitute.com

I am not sure how this was located, but today Ian found the 2Beerguys.com listed on
WorldCulinaryInstitute.com. Normally, this isn't blog worthy, but we someone else has added us to this list without our prompting. We're prime time baby!!!


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

p.s. It's rather odd that the title of this section is "Gastronomy Directory"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ringwood, like it or leave it...

So, this is a long one but the article kept my attention, hopefully you will all enjoy it. I have really begun noticing beer with the Ringwood strain of yeast. If you are not sure you really understand what yeast does for beer....well...here's some info. If you don't know much about yeast, you might not know about the ringwood controversy. Many beer drinkers (the geeks among us) think the buttery flavor of this yeast masks the mistakes in the brewing process. Maybe...but I don't drink only ringwood beers so that is not a problem for me. Other beer geeks LOVE it and appreciate its integrity and the 150+ years it has been around. I drink a wide variety of beers and appreciate Ringwood for what it is...a lovely buttery addition to my beer...yum. An occasional ringwood laced beer is definitely welcome on my palate. I rather like it...taste some yourself and you be the judge.
Good luck and God Speed!

California is now recognized by most of the world as a wine region. Kentucky is a whiskey region,the home of every bourbon distillery still operating.But we've got a distinctive beer region right here in our backyard,and it's all because of one yeast,and the man who brought it to New England from the old England.New England is Ringwood brewing territory,thanks to Alan Pugsley, the man who brought this hardy and distinctive yeast to our shores.Maybe it's time to start making more of a big deal about it.
What difference does yeast make?

A lot, but you'd never know it from asking beerdrinkers. Ask any winedrinker what kind of wine they like, and chances are very good that they'll tell you the name of the grape: "I like chardonnay" or "Mostly merlot". They might prefer a particular vineyard's wine within that category, or a region's production. Even the person who just drinks a bottle of table wine with meals, or to relax in that magic hour after work, will probably have a preference for white or red.

Don't ask a beerdrinker that question with any kind of high expectations. The chances are about 9 to 1 that you'll get only a brand name or a jocular "I like cold beer!" Maybe they'll pick light beer over what they'll call "regular beer". And don't think you'll get much better answers from the so-called beer geeks. They might pick out a particular style - "I really like stouts the best" - or maybe a particular brewer, but you'll rarely find the winedrinker's interest and knowledge of what goes into the drink.

Yet there are distinctive differences that come from seemingly unimportant sources. I'm not talking about the malt: anyone who's ever seen the roasted black malt and barley that goes into stout knows clearly how that makes a difference. It's not even the hops: blazingly aromatic hops make blazingly aromatic beer, if the brewer knows what they're doing and wants that.

It's the yeast, and Ringwood's one of the great ones. Shipyard Brewing's Alan Pugsley knows it like an old friend, and sometimes when he talks about it you'd think it was his best friend. That's no surprise, really, he's been working with it for nineteen years. "Working at the Ringwood brewery was my first and only brewing job in England. It was my first brewing job anywhere," Pugsley reminisced. "I started on January 4, 1982 - I'll never forget the date. I had a biochemistry degree from the University of Manchester, that and my love of English pubs pollinated each other, and I had a desire to brew."

Pugsley applied to the relatively new Ringwood brewery first. "Peter Austin was the main owner," he said, "the godfather of microbrewing. The big brewers were trying to kill real ale because it was a pain in the arse, and CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale, an English beer drinker's group) was making a stink about that. In the middle of it, Peter retired early from the North Country brewery in Hull and opened Ringwood in 1977."That's where Pugsley met the Ringwood yeast. "The yeast strain is well over 150 years old," Pugsley began. "Peter had used it at the brewery in Hull, where he was a brewer from late 1940s through the 1970s. That was the yeast they had used from the brewery's advent in the 1800s. It had originally come from the old Halifax brewery. They used to send yeast to and fro in wooden barrels on the train. You know, send a lad in his cloth cap down to the station with a barrel of yeast on a handcart, get on the train with it. Very Yorkshire."

That fits, because just as the famed German hefeweizen yeast is a Bavarian yeast, and the clean-fermenting altbier strain is a Dusseldorf yeast, Ringwood is a Yorkshire yeast, typical of the yeasts used to brew ales in Yorkshire. What's that mean? You'll get plenty of esters from these yeasts, the fruity aromas and flavors that make a good British ale so nice and so refreshing, even at low alcohol levels that would render other beers tasteless. You'll also get varying amounts of diacetyl ("die-ASS-uh-till"), a fermentation by-product that has an aroma of butterscotch, or butter, a sore point with Ringwood's detractors.

These yeasts are very vigorous, and plow through a batch of beer in jigtime, and sometimes don't know when to quit. They will eat up every scrap of fermentable sugar in a beer, leaving a nicely dry malt finish. Brewers call that a high degree of attenuation, the level to which a yeast will ferment the sugars in a beer. Bob Johnson, partner-brewer at Magic Hat, another one of New England's big Ringwood brewers, loves that about Ringwood. "Everything that can ferment, will. It's a rocket."

Something else these yeasts have in common is a requirement for open fermentation. That means that the fermentation tanks have to be open to the air, with no covers. "It may sound weird," said Pugsley, "but a yeast gets used to its environment, and Ringwood requires the open top. It needs the light, the air, whatever. It's still mysterious, it's not clear-cut, but nobody really knows why yeast works the way it does."

"A lot of people are scared of open fermentation," he continued, "because they think it's prone to infection. That's far from the truth. It develops a rocky head and throws off a lot of carbon dioxide; that's its protection - the barrier. Then we leave a 3 to 4 inch coating of yeast on top that gets crusty - and that's a physical barrier. We take the beer from the bottom and the crust is never broken. As long as you clean properly and use sterile techniques, you've got no worse protection than a closed vessel. You've got to be open-minded about open fermentation."

Bob Johnson was open-minded. When he and Alan Neuman were just starting Magic Hat they were homing in on a Peter Austin system, and open fermentation was a very big factor. "One of the things I liked about open fermentation," he told me, "was the tradition of it. I liked Alan's beers, we went over to Kennebunkport and tasted them. I liked the very hands-on way things are done. I wanted as little technology as possible - if it broke, I wanted to be able to fix it. I wanted to learn as much as possible about it and really learn our craft. Now we've got 150 barrel open fermenters. As long as you keep Ringwood happy...it's going to work for you."Mike McDonald, who's been making excellent Ringwood beers at the Red Brick Station brewpub outside of Baltimore, after a long stretch at New Hampshire's Old Nutfield brewery, has a short cautionary tale about open fermenters. "It's a fast fermentation, and it sucks up so much oxygen you can notice low oxygen levels in the fermenting room!" he laughed. "If I've got four fermenters going at once, and a server goes in there to clean windows, the server will get lightheaded." He chuckled, "I don't even notice it anymore. I guess all those years with Ringwood have burned out that part of my brain."

One thing Pugsley told me was news to me, even after drinking Ringwood-brewed beers for over a dozen years and talking to brewers about them for ten years - Ringwood is actually a multi-yeast strain, a combination of multiple yeasts. "It is a multi-strain," Pugsley continued, "and the strains have to be grown up separately and blended in the right proportions at the right time. I know some brewers have taken a sample from a bottle but... you don't get it right. They can't, it behaves differently if it isn't grown up the right way. That is officially the Ringwood yeast, and only Ringwood (Brewery) and I can access it from the yeast bank. You can buy something called Ringwood from yeast labs, but I know for a fact it's not the same. The mix isn't right. People think they have Ringwood, but the only people who really have it are the ones who bought our systems."

That's how all these Ringwood breweries popped up in New England. In 1983, Peter Austin advertised in the first issue of New Brewer magazine for people to come to the brewery and learn to make beer on a small scale. "In two years we had 24 or maybe 30 people come through and learn to brew," said Pugsley. "We built breweries for a lot of them. That was the first seed of the yeast coming to the States."

One of those people was David Geary, at the final stop of a brewing odyssey. "Peter Maxwell Stuart, the Lord of Traquair, arranged that for me," David told me. "I met Peter when he was exporting his Traquair House ale to this country, in 1982. We talked about small commercial breweries, 'minibreweries' he called them. He told me that if I wanted to start one, to come see him. So I did, and he set me up. I worked at Belhaven and at Sam Smith's, and some at the David Bruce Firkin chain brewpubs, and finally at Ringwood. I liked what they did.

"I had looked at a bunch of systems," Geary continued, "but I loved Peter Austin. He was a wonderful teacher, a wonderful man. I learned quickly that I would have to hire a working brewer to get us started. I hired Alan, and it seemed logical to use Peter Austin since he knew it already. I wanted to brew an English-style pale ale, and Ringwood brewed a very good example of it. We didn't use a Ringwood recipe, but as far as flavor profiles and styles go we were able to use the yeast, and the rest is history."

"He offered me a position to set up the brewery and brew," Pugsley continues the story, "and I did in 1986. We were the first packaging micro in New England, and that was the first Ringwood yeast brewery in the US." It certainly was not the last micro Pugsley helped get started with a Peter Austin system. Some of the better known ones would include Magic Hat, Tremont, Old Nutfield, Sea Dog, Old Saddleback, and brewpubs like Gritty McDuff's and Federal Jack's. That last one, of course, would lead to Pugsley's own big Ringwood brewery, Shipyard, where he works with his old multi-strained friend every day.

Dave Geary still grumbles a bit about the number of systems Pugsley and Austin set up, all using Ringwood yeast. "There was a point back in the early 1990s," he said, "when virtually every brewery that opened in Maine was using Ringwood, much to my chagrin. Any distinction that Ringwood had (for our beer) was lost in the proliferation of Peter Austin breweries. Wherever Alan opened a brewery, that's what he used."That's what Atlantic Brewing (better known for their Tremont brand) got, and that's what Chris Lohring wanted. "We wanted British-style beers," Lohring said. "It was the British yeast we liked the best." What was it about Ringwood that they liked? "A couple things," Lohring explained. "The flavor profile is what people talk about. I liked the esters and the attenuation level. It allowed you to brew a dryer beer. It's well-attenuated, dry, and allows a good hop finish."

I asked him if it was a tough yeast to use. "Yes," he said quickly, and told me why. "It needs a very specific environment: time, temperature, amount of yeast added, oxygenation of the beer, they all have to be right where you need them or you'll have a mess. We've found that it has a high oxygen demand at the beginning of fermentation. It's very forgiving temperature-wise, but the ester production at higher temperatures can overwhelm."

That bit about fermenting temperature is something I heard from a lot of Ringwood brewers, but it's part of what makes Ringwood so versatile. Lohring again: "We use different temperatures for different styles. Our Winter Ale, which is very estery and fairly high in alcohol, we ferment at a warmer temperature. Our Summer Ale, a lighter ale, we ferment at a much colder temperature." By playing the yeast this way, Lohring gets just the character he wants.

If you don't work this yeast right, you can get too much diacetyl, which means a beer that smells like a big tub of buttered movie theater popcorn. Unfortunately, Ringwood suffers from a bad image of always producing too much diacetyl, and some beer geeks will slam any Ringwood beers as being full of diacetyl...sometimes before tasting them. If you hear someone talking about Ringwood beers like that in your store, here's some information to educate them a little.

Pugsley is tired of the questions about diacetyl. "It's a function of the beer, largely," he said. "If it's an ESB, or our Old Thumper, which is produced under license from the Ringwood Brewery, there's a requirement for diacetyl. Our Goat Island or Export Ale have real low levels of diacetyl. Some beers require it, but that can be controlled by the brewer. Of course, there are non-Ringwood yeasts that throw a lot of diacetyl." It's true, Redhook's ales are known for their diacetyl levels, and you'll even find it in some lagers.

Chris Lohring makes a very good point about the diacetyl complaints. "Okay, if you took all the Ringwood-brewed beers," he started, "you'd have varying degrees of diacetyl. But if you remove all of it from British-style ales you're removing a very important component from the beer. It's like taking the clove and banana phenols away from hefeweizen or the funk from lambics. All these other odd characteristics are okay, but diacetyl isn't? That bothers me." He thinks a lot of the complaints are based in ignorance. "If you don't know a lot about beer and you want to look like you do, you can just say what other people say."

Pugsley told me that David Geary was a good person to talk to about controlling diacetyl in Ringwood beers. I asked him about it, and he gave me a classic David Geary response. "I hate diacetyl," he growled. "It's that chemical butterscotch flavor. I made a fake banana flavor back in college chemistry and I haven't been able to eat a banana since. One of the things we felt was necessary (in our brewing) was to deal with the relatively high levels of diacetyl, and we have. I think we've done a better job in reducing diacetyl than anyone. After fifteen years our beer has a house character. Yeast is pretty mutagenic and we've gone through 3000 generations; you're going to have some changes."

Three thousand generations? Most yeasts run for two or three months, then you culture up new yeast and start fresh. Three thousand? Bob Johnson confirms it. "The Ringwood really does take on a house flavor," he said, "because we use it over and over. You're not dialing 1-800-YEAST-ME every 6 months - we don't go back and start a new strain every 6 batches. We're still using the same strain since 1994. When we moved to this new brewery we brought over a bucket with 50 pounds of yeast and pitched it in the tanks. But it's taken on Magic Hat house flavor. People ask, this is really a Ringwood beer? And we're all using Ringwood, but among us - Geary's, Shipyard, ourselves - our beers are a lot more different from each other than the 1056 brewers."What are "1056 brewers?" Well, that's what Ringwood brewers bring up whenever anyone gets on them about the number of Ringwood yeast breweries or the supposedly identical character of Ringwood beers. "1056" is the Wyeast catalog number for what Wyeast, a brewing yeast supplier to commercial and home brewers, calls the "Chico" strain - the strain used by super-micro Sierra Nevada. It is a very easy to use, clean-fermenting yeast that really gets out of the way of malt and hop flavors, almost as much as lager yeasts. It rubs Ringwood brewers most definitely the wrong way:

CHRIS LOHRING "People say Ringwood beers have a similar taste profile, and they attribute it to the yeast. But you never hear people say, "oh my God, it's that Sierra Nevada Chico ale yeast," even though a lot of brewers emulate it. That yeast contributes nothing to the beer."

BOB JOHNSON "I can probably pick out "that Chico flavor" easier than "that Ringwood flavor" people talk about. What's interesting is that there's been conversation about "all those Ringwood breweries". I think there's probably 10 brewpubs out there using Chico/1056 for every Ringwood brewery." It's probably even more than that.

ALAN PUGSLEY "Every yeast has its own traits. A lot of people like the traits Ringwood beers have. But they're British ales, not American. The Chico yeast, that no one talks about. That has more of a trait than Ringwood, but it's American. That's why I say it's jealousy. Someone's got to be negative about it. It's not amongst consumers, it's brewers. If you took the brewing magazine articles that are negative, we should be out of business. But we sold 32,000 barrels last year, and we're up 12% this year. Magic Hat, Geary's, Gritty's, they're all doing well and the list goes on and on. Every brewery shouldn't use it, of course not. I would never even dream of writing on why Chico yeast is bad, I've got better uses of my time."

Which finally brings us back to the beginning. Is the yeast strain something consumers should look for, and is it a selling point? To be honest, probably not. Chris Lohring told me about a study he read, put out by one of the brewing industry groups. "They asked a bunch of questions," he said, "and found out that the average consumer doesn't give a damn about yeast, hops, water. They're worried about three things: Is it quality-made, does it taste good, how is it packaged? A tiny minority cared about the ingredients and process - that was a shock to a lot of the industry. The consumer doesn't really need that specific information."Not yet, anyway. There's no reason why it shouldn't start, though. Every step craft beer takes towards the kind of status and image higher level wines have is another step towards the kind of price tag and margin higher level wines have.

Chris Lohring has seen an effect from the Ringwood yeast. I asked him if the yeast had made it easier to differentiate Tremont beers in the marketplace. "For Tremont it's been easier," he confirmed. "The Boston-area craft beer market is dominated by Harpoon and Sam Adams. They make great beers, so we had to come out with something really different." Lohring is quick to point out that it's not all Ringwood. A large part of the beers' character comes from the water treatment, malts, and hops used by the brewery.

Bob Johnson hasn't seen as much of it at Magic Hat, but that's largely because Magic Hat's beers are so defiantly out of style anyway. He does see possibilities for this kind of distinction. "I think there's some appellation distinction starting to happen." he mused. "The consumer and the market is reaching the maturity to note some things, like the difference between East Coast and West Coast beers. The hops are big and fresh in west coast beers. East coast beers tend to be understated.

"Is the consumer going to get to the point where they understand yeast?" he continued. "I don't know. They're certainly going to get to understand malts and hops. They're getting more sophisticated, not in a real geeky way, more like a chardonnay vs. Sauvignon blanc, or stainless vs. oak-aged way. That's going to continue. As people get interested, they learn things. We're getting more and more market share, and the consumer gets more and more sophisticated, which means we've got to get better at our craft. But remember, even most wine drinkers drink it just to have a glass of wine."

It only seems fair that the last word go to brewing's Johnny Appleseed, the disseminator of Ringwood yeast, Alan Pugsley. I asked him about why Ringwood beers have done so well in New England. "It's been controversial, he said. "We're hardly Sierra Nevada in size, but no one else is. Maybe the New England palate has gotten used to the taste." The west may be in love with hops, and the mid-Atlantic region's brewers have proven their mettle with malt, but Alan's right: New England's brewers have made their mark with the traditional character of a 150-year-old yeast from the heart of Yorkshire.By, Lew Bryson

Second Annual - Riverfront Brew Fest

The Haverhill Brewery presents - Riverfront Brew Fest

Saturday, September 15th, 2007
2 Sessions:

Noon to 4:00 pm
5:00 to 9:00 pm

100 Washington Street, Haverhill MA

A portion of net profits benefit: Haverhill Public Schools- Textbook Project

Come taste the best beers of New England in the comfort of a riverview setting.

More than 15 different breweries will be on-site to show off their latest brews. PLUS nte his year: A CASK CELLAR!!!

Enjoy food from The Tap Restaurant and Brewpub; Downtown Sausage & Dogs; Sparky's Wings and Things.


Monday Riddle - from Tom

This will Mess With Your Head...











Homebrew Competition - Topsfield fair

On Saturday, after band practice and before the Ribs and Brew festival, I ventured over to the Topsfield fair to watch/participate in the home brew competition. I hoped to check it out and learn how it works.

Getting there was kinda like a comedy of events.

I ventured into the parking lot and drove pass the 30+ school buses in the parking lot. I didn't see anyone at the clubhouse.. so I asked someone in the area where it was. He pointed to an area that I could only get to from driving on RT 97 (because of a locked fence). I thanked him and ventured on.

When locating this adjacent lot, I was shocked to see the number of cars and tents setup. I thought... wow.. this is cool. I didn't know people came to watch and brought their dogs. Anyways.. I walked closer and realized that it was a dog show/competition. Pretty cool, but no beer.

When I was going to 97, I noticed another parking lot with many cars. Ian mentioned that it was outside or something, so I ventured to that lot. Upon arrival, I learned that it was an outdoor mountain bike competition (obstacle course for a younger crowd). Anyways, still no beer.

So I traveled back a bit and saw that the front gate was opened. I drove right in and FOUND DA BEER. It was break time and everyone was eating lunch. When it got started, I walked around and checked out what everyone was reviewing/writing. I asked one table if they minded if I read over their shoulders and was invited to join in with the judging. WOW..

I sat down with Dan (Brewer from Mercury) and Paul. We were in responsible of reviewing the Miscellaneous/other category. So, off to Honey beers and other Smoked beers. Four honey beers and 5 smoke/other beers later, we narrowed down the selection to the top 3 overall. It was fun. Very similar review style that Ian and I use, but more related to the specific style vs. overall yumminess.

If anyone is interested in becoming a judge, let me know. I am thinking about going for the certification.

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Cape Ann Brewing Company

Andy saw this post on beer Advocate and I wanted to share.

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Cape Ann Update

Hi Everyone!

Since we had a setback with local licensing to have a tap room at our brewery, pending our appeal, we are offering for sale growlers of all our products, filled fresh from the tap. The price is $12 with $6 refills! Right now our over the top awesome Pumpkin Stout is available as well as Fisherman's Ale, Brew IPA and Navigator. The Pumpkin Stout should be available to stores and taps in the next week or so. Feel free to come by, have a pint on us and leave with a growler. Our hours are limited so call or email in advance. Cheers!

Mike Beaton, President
Cape Ann Brewing Company
27 Commercial Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

link to post

Time for a T-Shirt - Please Vote

It's time to create a t-shirt... Here's our ideas for the back of the white shirt.
(the front will say 2beerguys.com).

1) Dive In

Dive in!!

2) My other ride

My other ride!!


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Lowell Ribs and Brew Fest 2007

The Ribs and Brew fest was awesome again this year. With tons of beer vendors, and to die for BBQ, I'd say it surpassed my expectations that were set after last year's event.

The air smelled of smoke from a bar-b-que as you approached the event. Immediately, upon entering, we headed for Firefly's BBQ and I got what I'd been waiting for with this event: ribs. Smokey, tender, falling-off-the-bone kind of ribs. And I drowned them in a sweet and spicy bbq sauce. They were amazing and satisfying and everything I hoped they would be. Finger lickin'!

The beer tent was over flowing this year; it appeared more people heard of this event that had last year. There was actually a line to get in! And, props to Sean, Ryan and Ian for working the event this year. We saw Sean and Ryan Saturday night. We got in, got our score cards and proceeded to try anything and everything that piqued our curiosity.

There were several brews that really stood out for me. The Ten Penney Ale from the Olde Burnside Brewing Company, had a really smooth texture and an almost cognac type quality to it. I also enjoyed the Blackberry Wheat from Longtrail. It was light and fruity and something I would pick on a hot summer day. But the pièce de résistance, for me, was the Pumpkin Stout by the Cape Ann Brewing Company. This was AMAZING!!! As we're coming into fall, I'm always looking for a spiced up, pumpkin beer to cuddle with on a cool autumn evening. I have a new favorite for that. It was dark, rich, creamy and had that amazing spice quality to it that made my mouth water for home made pumpkin pie. I'll be hunting this one down in the stores.

All in all, the event was enjoyable. There were a few blemishes on the evening that involved other people at the event who over did it, but we just tried to ignore and dodge them. But, Sean and Ryan made out like bandits for all the freebies they got at the end of the night. This was a fantastic event again this year...and I can't wait for it next year.

Lowell Ribs and Brew 2007 - Recap

Weekend Festivities....

Wow.. What a crazy busy weekend... Here's what we did...

On Friday night Ian had a blast at the Ribs and Brew festival. He ended up working in the Long Trail booth. (Ian - add your comments here)

On Saturday, I tried to arrive at 3:00, but didn't get there until 4:00 (because of the Homebrew competition) and found that no one was around the beer tent. I was a little confused and it was sooooo hot out. After speaking with a rep from JR Reardon (Bud), we found the key to the ice truck. For about an hour, I carried ~30 bags of ice and started icing down the bottles/kegs. I wasn't sure what I was suppose to do, but I knew the beer needed ice.

Around 6:00, when the event was to start, the sky opened up. It was a pretty crazy storm, we were lucky that the rain didn't come into the tent too much. Very quickly, there was a long line of people inside the tent that needed to be checked in, so Ryan and I jumped in and helped put on wristbands. Eventually, I was checking IDs and putting on wrist-banding while Ryan worked in the Long Trail booth. After checking ID's, I floated around helping get things done (delivering ice, getting band aids and drinking tasty beers). It was a great time. I can see the 2Beerguys getting more involved with this event and possibly running our own beer evenings in the next few years.

Here were the participants
(Note: I didn't visit all of the booths, so I not sure what every brewery brought... and I can only account for Saturday night. Each brewery was allowed to bring up to 4 beers.)

Mercury - Ipswich IPA and Stout?
Berkshire Brewing Company (With representatives)
Harpoon - UFO, UFO Rasp., IPA,
Shipyard -
Newport Storm
Cape Ann Brewing Company - Fisherman's Ale, I also heard that they had a pumpkin Stout (With representatives)
Diagio Imports (Guiness) - Redsripe and some fru-fru drinks
Wachusett - Blueberry, Oktoberfest (With representatives)
A/B - Demon IPA, Pumpkin Spice (With representatives)
Magic Hat - Jinx, Number 9, Circus Boy (With representatives)
Sierra Nevada - Stout, Anniversary IPA
Smuttynose - Smutty Pumpkin - IPA
Concord Brewing - Honey Brown Ale (With representatives)
Long Trial - Blackberry Wheat, Hit the trail ale
Old Burnside Brewing Co. - Ten Penny, Dirty Penny (With representatives)

(MIA??? * The Tap Brewery * Buzzards Bay Brewery * Stella Artois Brewery)

My personal favorite of the evening was the "Dirty Penny" from Olde Burnside Brewing
http://www.oldeburnsidebrewing.com/ It's a black color beer that's rich and creamy with a nice sweet taste. Very drinkable.. It reminded me of the Black Gold from Nerax. I really wish they could bottle some and send it to me. Currently, it's only available at the brewery.

Commercial description - Our popular “Dirty Penny Ale” (5.7% ABV) is a hearty, but never heavy “black’n’tan” style* which is mixture of 60% Ten Penny/40% our own signature stout. )

I had positive discussions with Concord Brewery (Lowell Brewery), Dillon and TJ from Cape Ann Brewing (aka Fisherman's Brand), and Wayne from Waschusett Brewing Company.

Goals for next year....

More breweries? Bigger Tent? Breweries to make special beers for the event??

The opportunities are endless. Ian and I are thinking.... Stone, Dogfish head, Flying Dog, Clipper City... and many more... It makes my head spin..

If you went to the event, please add your thoughts...



P.s. Ignace's presence was missing from this event. In honor of Ignace, I broke out a brief Ignace Dance..... "Shake your pants and do the Ignace Dance" (I can hear the song in my head... DANGEROUS!!!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

2nd Annual New England Regional Homebrew Competition

2nd Annual New England Regional Homebrew Competition - Nov 3, 2007

Brew Free or Die and the Southern Maine Homebrewers are pleased to announce The Second Annual New England Regional Homebrew Competition:

Date: Saturday, November 3, 2007

This is a BJCP Registered/Sanctioned event and we will be judging all BJCP styles for this competition, using the 2004 BJCP style guidelines. This year's judging will be held at Milly's Taven in Manchester New Hampshire on November 3rd 2007. The competition, this year, as it was in 2006, is fund raiser. This year proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society in memory of Don Merkey, a club member and distinguished brewer who succumbed to cancer.

Additional information and entry forms are available at http://www.bfd.org/NERHBC/index.php.

Harpoon Octoberfest Festival - Boston


(message from Harpoon)

18 years ago the Harpoon Brewery brought forth on this land a festival, conceived in beer, and dedicated to the proposition that all men and women will come to the brewery and celebrate with fresh beer, oompah music, and German food. So began Harpoon Octoberfest.

Prosit! So bring along your friends and come join us as we host one of New England's most merry and beloved festivals, Harpoon Octoberfest in Boston. As always, there will be delicious fresh beer and all the bratwurst, sauerkraut, German chocolate cake-eating, German oompah music, chicken dancing, and lederhosen your heart desires. Come to the party!

Here are the details:

Friday, Sept. 28 from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Saturday, Sept. 29 from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Doors close: Friday @ 9:30 pm and Saturday @ 7:30 pm

At the Brewery in Boston!
The Harpoon Brewery, 306 Northern Avenue, Boston. Take the Silver Line or complementary shuttles from South Station. Also, public parking is available across from the brewery.

$15 admission includes souvenir cup. Cash bar. You must be 21 years or older with proper ID to attend. Learn more about Harpoon Octoberfest including band schedule and directions.

**Make sure to have your Friend of Harpoon Card for the event! Friends of Harpoon will be able to skip the general admission line and will be admitted through the VIP Friend of Harpoon line with one guest. If a line exists, you must wait in line.

On the Friday night of Harpoon Octoberfest in Boston, present your Friend of Harpoon Card and receive 2 for 1 entry! So don't forget to bring your Friend of Harpoon Card with you.

Click here for more information.

Ribs n Brew festival - Reminder

This is just a reminder that the Lowell Ribs and Brew festival is this weekend.

Ian will be working on Friday night (possibly with Ryan) and I will be working on Saturday night. Everyone is welcome to join us on either night. Please let us know if you need additional information.

Drink Draft Beer, You've Earned IT!!

New Harpoon beer coming...

This month's edition of the Friend of Harpoon newsletter just hit the email wire, and there's this juicy little tidbit in it:

Pssssssst!! One more thing….we will be debuting our newest member of the Harpoon family at Octoberfest. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I think you’re really going to like it. Really, really like it.
What's going on over there at Harpoon? Not too long ago, they were happily plodding along with just their four year-round beers and their seasonals, and now they've added Brown, UFO Raspberry, and apparently another one on the horizon to be unveiled at Octoberfest.

We heard rumblings at the Peter Gammons event that they were moving towards a clearly delineation between Harpoon and UFO, so that's something to keep an eye out for here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Beer dinners at Ten Center St in Newburyport

We were doing a bit of research, and came across this interesting tidbit from Ten Center Street...they're hosting beer dinners! Follow this link to view the listings. They are offering dinners in September, October, and November.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lame Gimmic or Tasty Idea - You decide...

Is this a lame gimic by Kraft foods or an way to combine two tasty treats?

You decide. Add a comment to the blog and let us know.

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned it!!!

Click here for the recipe

Sad news for the "Other" Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, aka "The Beer Hunter", died Thu 8/30/07 at 65. He was one of the world's great authorities on beer. As you can imagine, he used his name to his advantage...

Here's an excerpt from his website....

Hello, my name is Michael Jackson. No, not that Michael Jackson, but I am on a world tour. My tour is in pursuit of exceptional beer. That's why they call me the Beer Hunter.

I've learned a lot since my World Guide to Beer was published in 1977 and since public television first aired the Beer Hunter series. I'm here to share some of that knowledge with you, to tell you stories about breweries, to teach you about tasting beer and to help you understand what it means to be part of a beer culture.

Michael Jackson's web site is still up http://www.beerhunter.com/