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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Shaky Market for Hops Challenges Brewers

This article is a couple of months old, but it still worth posting because of its relevance to the current climate in the brewing industry. It talks about the hop "crisis", and what brewers are doing about it.
Soaring hop prices are also cutting into brewers' profits. "Hops are easily up 20 percent over last year," says Sisson, "and that's if you're buying under contract. If you have to scrounge for hops on the spot market, that can add another 10 to 15 percent to your costs."

One long-term solution is for mom-and-pop brewers to make their own deals with mom-and-pop hop growers. Victory dodged a bullet that way, Barchet says. The brewery signed a contract with Georg Bentele, a German farmer, to buy 10,000 kilos of hops a year (one-third of his crop) over the next six years at a locked-in price.
The article can be read in its' entirety here

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Flying Dog - Craft Beer and the Holidays

This press release was just sent out by Flying Dog Ales in Denver, CO. It's a guide to holiday food pairings with craft beer, and contains a link to Beer and Turkey for more pairings. The following excerpt is from the press release:
Caramelized and toasted grain flavors in many beers complement the flavors of roast turkey while herbal hop additions pair nicely with popular holiday seasonings such as sage. Furthermore, the carbonation, fruitiness and balanced bitterness of many craft beers allow them to stand up to creamy, butter-rich preparations like mashed potatoes, creamed corn and similar fare.
The full release can be viewed here

Friday, October 26, 2007

Must be a good sign

Interesting article about the movement of the large brewers trying to capture some of the craft beer segment.


Brewer in Dispute With Real Sam Adams

This is one of those times that you're better off researching before shooting from the hip. We've all done it before... Spoke before our brain has finished computing. BUT.. Even negative press can help a mayoral campaign. Can you believe that someone actually poured beer into a toilet?


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Brewer in Dispute With Real Sam Adams
14 hours ago

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Boston brewers of Sam Adams beer objected when they learned that a mayoral campaign here included Web sites invoking the name of their product.

What they didn't realize is that Sam Adams is also the name of the candidate — and has been since before the beer hit the market.

The Portland Sam Adams, a mild-mannered bicycle rider, is a far cry from the Boston Sam Adams, a patriot, brewer, rabble-rouser and business flop of Revolutionary War times. The second cousin to former president John Adams inherited the brewery, and it failed several years later.

When Mayor Tom Potter said he wouldn't seek re-election last month, City Commissioner Sam Adams jumped into the nonpartisan race. So far he's the only candidate.

Enterprising KEX radio hosts Mark Mason and Dave Anderson registered the Web addresses http://www.samadamsformayor.com and http://www.mayorsamadams.com, promising to give them to Adams if he discussed his political future on their show. Adams did.

The letter from Boston Beer Co. came to Anderson last week.

"Boston Beer has used the trademarks SAM ADAMS and SAMUEL ADAMS since 1984," said the letter, which asked Anderson to surrender the Web sites.

The radio hosts have responded by broadcasting the sound of a listener pouring Sam Adams beer in the toilet.

Portland's Sam Adams is both amused and concerned. His campaign staff consulted lawyers Tuesday.

The slogan "Sam Adams for Portland Mayor" is already on his Web site (http://www.samforpdx.com) and soon may grace yard signs and bumper stickers for the 2008 election.

"They say they've been using this trademark since 1984," Adams said. "I've been using it since 1963."

Boston Beer's Helen Bornemann said she didn't know there was a real Sam Adams running for mayor when she sent the letter.

The brewery has previously run "Sam Adams for President" marketing campaigns, albeit 200 years late. She said she feared someone was copying the advertisements.

Bornemann said she's willing to discuss Adams' use of his name on his Web sites "probably for the length of the time the election is being held."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2Beerguys to Host 1st annual beer challenge

Anyone up for the challenge?


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Well, you don't see something like this every day

Wed Oct 24, 11:30 AM ET

CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian barmaid has been fined for crushing beer cans between her bare breasts while an off-duty colleague has been fined for hanging spoons from her friend's nipples, police said Wednesday.

Police in Western Australia said the 31-year old barmaid pleaded guilty in the local magistrate's court to twice exposing her breasts to patrons at the Premier Hotel in Pinjarra, south of the state capital, Perth.

The woman "is alleged to have also crushed beer cans between her breasts during one of the offences," in breach of hotel licensing laws, police from the Peel district of Western Australia said in a statement.

The barmaid and the hotel manager were both fined A$1,000 ($900), while an off-duty barmaid was fined A$500 for helping to hang spoons from the woman's nipples, police said.

"It sends a clear message to all licensees in Peel that we will not tolerate this type of behavior in our licensed premises," local police superintendent David Parkinson said.

Click Here for the original article.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Elephants electrocuted in drunken rampage

They had found rice beer in Indian village; incident reflects loss of habitat
Associated Press
Updated: 8:47 a.m. ET Oct 23, 2007

GAUHATI, India - Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted as they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India's remote northeast, a wildlife official said Tuesday.

Nearly 40 elephants came to a village on Friday looking for food. Some found beer, which farmers ferment and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.

They got drunk, uprooted a utility pole carrying power lines and were electrocuted in Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 150 miles west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state, Kumar said.

"There would have been more casualties had the villagers not chased them away," said Dipu Mark, a local conservationist.

The elephants are known to have a taste for rice beer brewed by tribal communities in India's northeast. Four wild elephants died in similar circumstances in the region three years ago.

India's northeast accounts for the world's largest concentration of wild Asiatic elephants with the states of Assam and Meghalaya alone estimated to have 7,000 of them.

"It's great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat due to the growing human population is giving us nightmares," said Pradyut Bordoloi, a former forest and environment minister for Assam.

Click here for the direct link to the article.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hops price hike brewing up a crisis

By Tracey Rauh Solomon , Staff writer

HAVERHILL - Sean Corcoran and Adam St. Jean don't mind paying $4 for a pint of beer at The Tap in Haverhill.

But if the price were to go up to $4.50 or $5, would they still be willing to sit at the bar and sip their favorite specialty beverage?

"I won't drink less beer," said Corcoran, 37, of Haverhill, quaffing a beverage at the bar one afternoon last week. "I'll just be spending more money."

St. Jean, 38, agreed.

"We come here for the beer," he said.

That's music to the ears of brewer David Wilson, who took time to explain the economics of beer-making to some customers last week.

Recently, the price of malted barley - the grain used to make beer - has increased by 50 percent to 100 percent, depending on the type. The other primary ingredient in beer, hops, has gone up even more, he explained, from $3.25 to $11 a pound.

The price of malt has gone up as grain prices worldwide have exploded due to a combination of factors ranging from a severe drought in Australia reducing the wheat crop, to increased planting of corn instead by U.S. farmers who are taking advantage of high prices for biofuels such as ethanol.

While malted barley is the primary ingredient in beer, hops provide much of the taste.

Wilson said there is a worldwide shortage of the crop, which grows on vines and is related to the cannabis family. The shortage, he said, has been caused primarily because there aren't enough farms growing it and because there are only a few sources of hops.

"We knew there were issues," he said during a recent tour of the Tap's basement brewing and bottling facility. "But nobody knew the extent until a few months ago. Everybody was making arrangements for next year and realized there was a crisis."

He said brewers that haven't gotten their orders in for next year may be out of luck, while those running short this year are scrambling to find the critical ingredient wherever they can.

According to a story in last week's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Pacific Northwest grows virtually all the hops produced in the United States About 70 percent of that crop comes from the Yakima Valley, said Ralph Olson, owner of Hopunion LLC, a Yakima-based seller of specialty hops. Worldwide hops acreage of 230,000 acres in 1994 shrank by 51 percent, to 113,000 acres in 2006, because the crop sold for less than the cost of production, Olson told the Seattle paper.

In 1978, he had 250 local growers. Now he has about 50. Local farmers were lured to plant more lucrative crops, such as cherries, apples and grapes, or to sell their land to be built on.

"Now all of a sudden everyone woke up and said, 'Oh, we need hops!' and all those (farmers) are gone," he said.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Grain: The new gold - Bakers, brewers hit hard by skyrocketing wheat prices - EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

By Bill Kirk, Business Editor

Brewer David Wilson stood in the basement of The Tap on Washington Street in Haverhill as one of his assistants poured a bag of malt - a grain used to make beer - into the noisy milling machine.

He shook his head as he recited the recent price increases for ingredients that go into making beer at the popular downtown brew pub.

Base malts, used to make many of the beers at the pub, have gone up 50 percent. Specialty malts, for finer brews, are up nearly 100 percent.

"This is a worldwide crisis," said Wilson, who recently was hired to take over beer-making at the brewery.

In Lawrence, wholesale baker Multi-Grains is suffering from a similar plight.

The price of flour has skyrocketed, forcing the company to jack up its bread prices to clients, which range from small restaurants to huge grocery store chains.

"Wheat is the new gold," said Chuck Brandano, who co-owns the Water Street business with company founder Joe Faro. "In a normal year, our prices would go up 1 to 2 percent a year. From the end of 2006 to August 2007 prices have gone up 8 to 10 percent."

Especially in the past few months, grains of all kinds have skyrocketed to historically high prices, leaving brewers, bakers and their customers fuming and trying to figure out how to make ends meet as the cost of everything else keeps going up, too.

Global economy, local impact

People in the bread, beer and pasta business blame the high cost of wheat and other grains on a variety of factors that seem to have converged in the last couple of months.

Some of the reasons cited:

* Poor weather - droughts in one part of the world and rain and freezing temperatures in other parts - has reduced crop yields in Australia, Canada, Argentina and the United States.

* Farmers worldwide are planting corn to take advantage of the high demand - and price - for ethanol, reducing the acreage devoted to wheat and other grains.

* Speculators working for Wall Street hedge funds are buying up grain in large quantities and then selling it for a profit, further driving up the price.

* More U.S. wheat is going overseas as a result of the weak dollar and increasing demand from rapidly developing countries like China and India.

"Wheat is really a worldwide crop in terms of how U.S. prices get moved around," said James Pritchett, an agricultural economist at Colorado State University. Colorado is practically the only wheat-growing region in the country that produced a bumper crop, but nearly 80 percent of that state's harvest is exported.

While wheat and grain prices have been going up pretty steadily over the last year or so, industry insiders say the spike really occurred in the last couple of months.

In fact, the price hike is so recent - bakers and brewers often buy their grain or flour months in advance - that customers in many cases haven't felt the pinch. But they will - and soon. A random sampling of bakeries across the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley indicates that prices will rise in the next week or two at many shops.

"I haven't increased prices, but unfortunately I have to in the near future," said Greta Reineke, owner of Greta's Grains on Pleasant Street in Newburyport. "I have to do it in order to survive."

Supermarkets are trying to keep their prices down, too, but that's getting tougher, says Brandano, noting that chains like Stop & Shop and Shaw's say they don't want to raise their prices over $2.99 for a 1-pound (16-ounce) loaf. He said some of his clients now are requesting 14-ounce loaves of bread for a lower price. Some restaurants may even start charging for bread served in baskets at the table.

While beer prices at The Tap are remaining steady at $4 for a 16-ounce beer, the owners are mulling a price increase. Wilson, who is taking over as head brewer from David Labbe, said craft brewers are closely watching Budweiser to see if the beer giant increases its prices an expected 25 percent. If that happens, he said, smaller brewers will be able to get away with hiking prices, too.

"We have not worked out prices moving into next year," Labbe said. "We will be re-evaluating them. Prices are absolutely going to go up."

It doesn't end with beer and bread.

Pasta, crackers, snacks and desserts of all kinds including cookies and cakes, even cattle feed and grain for horses, will get more expensive.

Eating the cost

Mike Withrow, owner of the Pie Guy in Salem, N.H., said the price of a 50-pound bag of flour went up a month ago from $9 to $13 - nearly a 50 percent hike.

"We go through 100 bags a week, so our costs went up $400 a week, or $1,600 a month," he said. "And there's no sign it will go back down."

The Pie Guy is aptly named. When Withrow bought the business in 2001, the bakery was making about 250 pies a week. Now, workers there make 20,000 pies a week. Withrow has 25 to 30 employees, depending on the season.

Despite the higher cost of raw materials, for now he's keeping prices steady. Plus, he's skeptical of the explanations his suppliers offer for the high cost of wheat.

"They give me reasons, but I believe none of them," he said. "It's been a cycle. The creators of the product - the millers - they have their own strategies."

He wouldn't elaborate further, but at least one executive who works for a company that supplies flour to hundreds of businesses throughout New England, including many on the North Shore and in the Merrimack Valley, agreed - to a point.

Lester Collett, the purchasing agent for Waltham-based Bakers Pantry, also known as Savage and Co., said he buys about 1 million pounds of flour, or 20 truckloads, every three days. Millers are definitely charging more, he said. But it's not their fault.

"It's a lot of things," Collett said, noting that the value of the dollar is down 31 percent, making it cheaper for foreign companies to buy U.S. wheat.

"The world situation on grains is terrible," he said. "Production is way down in Argentina, Australia, the U.S. and in Canada."

Meanwhile, the worldwide demand keeps rising.

"There is literally not enough wheat to go around now," Collett said.

Adding to the problem is that the futures market, fueled by huge purchases by hedge funds, is also forcing the market up.

"What they do is unload their contracts before the price slides back down again," he said.

The cost of wheat in the futures market, he said, is "the highest I've seen since 1996 or 1997, and this has surpassed that easily. This is out of sight."

The result is that the price he charges his customers also is going up.

"A 100-pound bag was going for $15 to $16 a year ago," he said. "Now, it's closer to $30."

It's even more for organic flour or unbleached and unbromated varieties, according to some local bakers.

Other costs rising, too

Joe Virgilio, who owns Virgilio's on the West End of Main Street in Gloucester, is having similar problems.

He said his flour, which he buys from Savage, has gone up 60 or 70 percent.

"I haven't touched my prices, I'm going to wait to see what happens," he said. "They say it could come down."

Even if it doesn't, his other costs are killing him as well.

"My natural gas bill has doubled," he said, referring to the fuel he uses to power the walk-in ovens that cook 180 loaves at a time. "Back in 1998, the gas bill was $300 a month," he said. "Now, it's $600 to $700."

The electric bill to run the lights and appliances, especially the enormous freezer in the basement of his Main Street store, has gone up from about $500 a month to $1,200 a month.

Reineke, of Greta's Grains in Newburyport, agreed with Virgilio that "everything is going up like crazy."

"The last year was the worst," she said. "Everything went up - delivery charges because of higher fuel charges, then sugar, flour, cream, milk, butter, eggs. You name it. Now, flour, the biggest ingredient, is going up."

"The increase of the wheat will really have an impact. ... especially the organic stuff - that's even worse because the supply is lower," she said.

She hasn't increased her prices yet, but expects to soon.

"You can only absorb so much," she said. "You get to a point where you can't do it anymore."

Uses of Wheat

As the price of wheat continues to rise, the prices of many products that use wheat or other grain products are also likely to go up.

Some of those include:

* Flour
* Bread
* Pasta
* Cakes
* Noodles
* Couscous
* Vodka
* Livestock feed - meat could also go up in price as a result.
* Cereal


Friday, October 19, 2007

Life Is Far Too Short To Drink Cheap Beer

Beer in the news..


Life Is Far Too Short To Drink Cheap Beer -
10 Ways To Maximize Your Beer Value

September 14, 2007
By Al at Hop Talk

Editors Note: I wrote a piece on how to save money on beer awhile back and Al chasized me for only considering how to save money and not about how to get true value. In response, he has put together this list of how to get the best value out of the beer you buy.

First, stop thinking of beer as a commodity. It’s not toilet paper, or screws, or an all-you-can-eat buffet. Stop thinking of beer in terms of the bland, yellow, fizzy beverages foisted on the American public by huge brewing conglomerates. Not just the big American brewers, who have spent countless marketing dollars convincing most of us that beer is supposed to be bland, yellow, and fizzy, but also their overseas counterparts who offer essentially the same product but use the additional marketing message that theirs is better because it’s imported. In spite of being upwards of 80%+ of the American domestic beer market, American light lagers are by no means the entire universe of beer. In the U.S. alone, the Brewers Association recognizes well over 100 distinct styles of beer, and even within those styles are the brewer’s own variations.

Beer is a food. It is made from grain (almost always barley), hops, yeast, and water. Except for the hops, and if the grain was milled into flour instead of malted for brewing, you’d have a basic bread recipe. When is bread best? As fresh as possible. It is just as true for beer. To stretch the beer as bread analogy a little further, industrial-brewed American light lagers are the beer equivalent of Wonder Bread. Don’t you want a nice, hearty loaf?

So, if you are ready slough off the misconceptions of maximizing quantity of your beer and instead get the most value, i.e., enjoyment, out of your beer, here are some simple tips.

1. Shun the sun: Beer’s number one enemy is light. Riboflavin acts as a photosensitizer, which causes the production of singlet oxygen from ultraviolet and visible light. The oxygen then reacts with substances called Isohumulones, which comes from the hops, to create a substance called MBT (3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol). It is, essentially, the same chemical that skunks use to defend themselves. “Skunked” beer just what it sounds like. As such, brown bottles are best, and green bottles aren’t much better than clear ones. Cans, obviously, will also work, but there aren’t many craft brewers who use cans.

2. Keep it cool: While heat won’t affect your beer the same as light, it can cause it’s own issues. For one thing, greater chance of oxidation. Oxidized beer tastes like cardboard. It can cause other off-flavors as well. You should store your beer in a cool, dark place.

3. Stay fresh:
Beer, like bread, which is a very similar recipe, is better when it is fresher. (There are a couple of styles which can be cellared, but that’s outside the scope of this discussion.) Depending on the style, beer has, at best, a shelf-life of about six months to a year. A better target is three or four months. Beyond that you risk getting off-flavors or, at the very least, a beer that doesn’t taste its best. Look for a “brewed on” or “best before” date. Unfortunately, not all brewers do this, and far too many retailers leave stock on the shelves until it sells. Here’s a clue: if the bottles are dusty, don’t buy it.

4. Buy local: Not to get all “green” on you, but try to buy from brewers who are within, say, 150 miles of you. Less transportation means less pollution, of course. But it also means lower transportation costs, meaning more money can be put toward the ingredients of the beer. A shorter travel distance also means the beer is more likely to be fresh. And, of course, has had fewer opportunities to encounter light and/or warm storage.

5. Serve it properly: In a glass: A large part of our sense of taste comes from our sense of smell. If you can’t smell the beer while you’re drinking it, like drinking it from the bottle, you’re missing most of the flavor. Some beer purists will tell you that each beer style should be served in its own special glassware. I don’t disagree, but let’s not get crazy here. At the very least, use a glass (not plastic) that allows you to smell the beer while you’re actually drinking it. Also, there’s “clean” and there’s “beer clean”. Beer glasses should be hand-washed with a minimum of soap. Actually, baking soda would be a better option. Your beer glasses also shouldn’t be used to drink anything else. Besides, how else are you going to see the pretty color?

6. Serve it properly: Not ice cold: When too cold the aromas of the beer are not present or very weak. You want to maximize the aroma to have the best flavor. The proper temperature varies by style, of course (pilsners I would serve around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, stout a bit above 50 degrees) but there’s no need to start dipping a thermostat into your beer. When you take a bottle out of the refrigerator, open it, and let it sit on the counter for five, ten or fifteen minutes. It will be much more flavorful than if you drink it right after taking it out of the fridge. In general, lighter styles should be colder than darker styles, but that’s not hard and fast. This is a good one to experiment with.

7. Pour strong! Again with the aromas. When pouring, don’t carefully dribble the beer down the side of the glass. Pour it down the middle. You want to “break the carbonation” and release the aromas. Aim for (again, depending on style) about two fingers’ width of head. The bubbles in the head should be small and the head itself should be creamy or fluffy.

8. Find your style: With over 100 different styles, you are bound to find something, or several somethings, that you like. Maybe you like the spicy hop bitterness of a pale ale, the mild sweetness of a brown ale, the roasted goodness of a porter, the fruity spiciness of a hefeweizen, or the clean crispness of a pilsner. You’ll never know unless you try. If you’re having more than one style in a single sitting, start with the lightest and finish with the heaviest. This will keep your tastebuds from being overwhelmed.

9. Pair it up: There is a school of thought that says that beer pairs better with cheese than wine. That’s not all, of course. Many people have heard that oysters make an excellent companion to an Irish stout. Me, I love having an IPA with anything spicy, like chili or Buffalo wings. The right beer can be paired with just about anything. Look for “beer dinners” at restaurants near you. The Brewer’s Alley in Frederick, Maryland sponsors one about every three months. There are usually about five courses, each paired with a different beer, including dessert.

10. Invite your friends: Beer should be shared. Beer is social. Ancient peoples would sit around a communal pot and drink their beer through reeds. (Probably because of all the grains floating in it.) When I get together for a beer with my friends, very often we’re talking about the beer we’re drinking. But, then, most of my friends are beer geeks like me. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is. Beer with friends is the best beer in the world.

Link to original article

Spam of the week

I just wanted to share the SPAM OF THE WEEK!!! I hope that you enjoy.


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Or else, like us, sunk into some long gaze
For any part of them we can make out
In stone waves and rock waters, far from day,
And so I gaze avidly
Dreaming time has reversed—and you,
Life, or only joy, that stands out
This gap in time, this season not their own,
Pierced by the mist that fades away,
Partly stone, partly the absence of stone,
for a few weeks, statistics won't seem
Suddenly, in a savage, dreadful bend,
Palladio who beckons from the other shore,
Given by nature will soak into it.
Left and right, and far ahead in the dusk.
Pierced by the mist that fades away,
I. Arctic Scenery
Down the long course of the gray slush of things
At four, the spectators leave in pairs, off
So, startled, quivering,

Brewer offers lifetime's beer for laptop

Brewer offers lifetime's beer for laptop
By Ray Lilley, Associated Press Writer | October 19, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand --A New Zealand brewer is offering a lifetime supply of free beer in exchange for the return of a laptop stolen in a break-in.

Croucher Brewing Co. co-owner Paul Croucher said Friday the computer contains "all our financials" as well as label designs for new beers and business contacts.

"So we decided that if anyone does come into possession of it we'll be happy to offer them a reward -- a dozen (bottles) of beer a month for the rest of their life," he said.

Croucher estimated the total value would likely be about $19,500 for a lifetime of beer. Since making the offer, "plenty of people" had called to say they were looking for the computer, he said.

"Opportunistic kids and a flimsy padlock" resulted in the theft, he said.

Coucher said he was optimistic the free beer offer would lead to the return of the stolen computer. "We'd love it back. We're at such a critical stage in our little business that every hit like that is quite big," he said.

The microbrewery in the central North Island tourist town of Rotorua currently ships 160 gallons of its three beers -- an English-style pale ale, Czech-style pilsner and a cloudy German wheat beer -- each week.

New Zealand winemaker Montana called to warn the brewery owners to make sure the terms of their free beer reward were precise. The winery had a difficult legal wrangle with the winner of an offer of five years' free wine who tried to extend the supply.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New England craft breweries garner awards at 2007 Great American Beer Festival

Denver, CO – Fresh off another outstanding growth year for the craft beer industry, the craft beer world descended upon Denver this past weekend for the largest beer festival in the United States, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Over 450 breweries from all over the country submitted their entries into 75 style categories to be tasted, reviewed, and judged.

New England has a rich brewing history, and a solid representation was on hand as 18 of the region’s breweries provided beer for the competition. Of the 18 breweries, four came home with medals in varying style categories, bringing pride to the men and women who work hard at creating their craft.

The lone gold medal awarded to a New England brewery went to the Boston Beer Company, who brew under the Samuel Adams brand. Their Samuel Adams Double Bock took home the gold in the German Style Strong Bock category. The Double Bock is described as “One can not help but appreciate Samuel Adams® Double Bock's huge malt character. We use an enormous amount of malt, half a pound per bottle, to brew this intensely rich lager. Its deep brown-ruby color is all made in the kettle - no black malt is used, resulting in a rich sweetness that is free of the rough taste of burnt malt. All that remains is the velvet smooth flavor and mouthfeel of the two row malt. Samuel Adams® Double Bock's intense malt character is balanced with a subtle piney, citrus hop note from the German Noble hops.”

Not to be outdone in Boston, the Cambridge Brewing Company, located in Kendall Square in Cambridge, received a Silver in the Cellar or Unfiltered Beer category for their Cambridge Amber, described as “Well balanced, medium-bodied, with a deep amber-red color, this beer's complex palate covers all the bases. A malty caramel sweetness is followed by notes of chocolate and a dry, slightly roasty finish, complemented by a touch of fruity, spicy hops.” Also receiving a Silver, in the American-Style Wheat Wine Ale, was Portsmouth Brewery’s Wheat Wine, brewed in Portsmouth, NH.

Allagash Brewing Company, of Portland, ME, was awarded two medals for two of their entries; a Bronze medal for their ‘Victor’ in the Experimental Beer (Lager or Ale) category, and a Bronze medal for their ‘Four’ in the Belgian Style Abbey Ale.

Fourteen other breweries were represented, led by four breweries each from Massachusetts (Amherst Brewing Company, Cisco Brewers, High & Mighty Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Brewery Braintree) and Connecticut (Bards’s Tale Beer Company, LLC., Bru Rm @ Bar, Cambridge House Brewpub & Brewery, New England Brewing Company), three from Maine (Gritty McDuffs, Shipyard Brewing Company, Stone Coast Brewing Company), two from New Hampshire (Redhook Ale Brewery, Smuttynose Brewing Company), and a lone representative from Vermont (Otter Creek Brewing/Wolavers Organic).

All in all, New England was well-represented, although we’d like to see some of our East Coast IPA’s crack into the medal rounds and compete against the West Coast IPA’s, as the three medal winning IPA’s came from Colorado and California. Next year, we’d love to see The Tap (Haverhill, MA) with an entry, and certainly Mercury Brewing Company (Ipswich, MA) with their Stone Cat Pumpkin Ale and Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA) with their Munich Dark.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Allagash at the GABF‏

(The following information was provided by Allagash Brewing Company)

This October Allagash Brewing Company was honored at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival with two medals! The Great American Beer Festival is one of the biggest beer events in the country. This year over 2,700 beers were entered in the competition. Less than 50 breweries, among 747, were awarded more than one medal this year. To be recognized with two medals is a real honor!

Allagash Victor was awarded the Bronze Medal in the Category of Experimental Beer (Lager or Ale). Victor Ale is a truly experimental ale. We added 200 lbs of red Chancellor Grapes to the mash tun, which imparts a notable vinous taste. This is perfectly balanced by a generous portion of Pilsner malt. Then, Victor is hopped with Fuggles and Hallertau and fermented with a wine yeast strain. With a focus or the subtle wine-link character of the grapes, the 9.0% ABV brew boasts a pale copper color, wine yeast influenced and a medium body with a tart and spicy finish.

In addition to the Victor Ale, our FOUR won a bronze medal in Belgian Style Abbey Ale category. We brew Allagash FOUR with 4 malts, 4 hop varieties and 4 sugars: light candi, dark candi, light golden molasses and date sugar. The FOUR undergoes 4 fermentations, each with a different strain of Belgian yeast. The result is a very unique 10% ABV beer with classic Belgian characteristics.

Allagash is very proud of these two medals. But we are prouder of the support we get from Allagash fans!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Samuel Adams - Battling with the big guys

Below is an article about the Business side of Samuel Adams Brewery (Boston Beer Company). This market analysis was made before the announcement of the Coors/Miller merger. It's interesting to see a former Microbrewery battling with the big guys....

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

P.s. I added extra pictures for those who might find this rather boring.

Small-Cap Spotlight: At Lagerheads Over Boston Beer
By Frank Curzio and Larsen Kusick
TheStreet.com Research Analysts
9/27/2007 12:07 PM EDT

This week, the Small-Cap Spotlight evaluates beermaker Boston Beer (SAM) , which is best known for its Samuel Adams brand. The company offers investors a small-cap alternative to beer giants like Anheuser-Busch (BUD) , Miller Brewing, which is part of SABMiller, and Molson Coors Brewing (TAP) . Larsen Kusick says it's time for another round from this growth play, while Frank Curzio reminds readers to invest responsibly.

Kusick: A Heady Brew

Small-cap investing is often about betting on the little guy. Boston Beer is perhaps the best example of why small-cap investing makes sense, as the company has thrived for more than 20 years without losing its underdog status relative to Anheuser-Busch and its fellow beer behemoths. Today, Boston Beer stands out for its solid brand recognition and position as a leader in offering consumers a higher-quality beer.

You've probably seen Jim Koch (pronounced "Cook") in his commercials, smelling hops or drinking a beer alongside employees. His laid-back demeanor seems strange for a company chairman, and his voice, which I would euphemistically describe as "unpolished," makes his commercials stand out even more.

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he's a Harvard grad (both undergrad and MBA) who left a successful career in manufacturing consulting to start Boston Beer in the mid-1980s.

Since then, the company has outgrown its microbrewery roots and in 2006 reported annual sales of more than 1.6 million barrels of beer. More importantly, revenue and earnings are both hitting double-digit growth rates, up 20% and 26%, respectively, in 2006. Analysts see continuing growth for Boston Beer, with consensus earnings estimates showing a 35% jump in 2007.

I see shares of Boston Beer as attractive because they offer the best of both small-cap and large-cap qualities. Sam Adams is an established brand with commercials that stand out (enough to be parodied on Chappelle's Show and Family Guy). These are characteristics one would expect from a much larger company, yet the brand represents just half of 1% of the domestic beer market, leaving Boston Beer with the large room for growth typical of a small-cap company.

Investors should note two keys that will drive the company's success. First, the company has a strong brand and competitive position in the domestic beer market.

Second, Boston Beer has the advantage in terms of product quality. As the former "little guy" that has developed brand recognition that rivals larger competitors, Sam Adams is poised to gain market share from both smaller and larger rivals.

Many of the small microbreweries that have sprung up over the past decade (following the success of Boston Beer) are unable to gain the following necessary to create a sustainable business. Scale is obviously a major factor in this. The bigger you are, the more profitable you are.

Meanwhile, the Sam Adams brand is consistently portrayed as a "step up" for drinkers of traditional American lagers like Budweiser, Coors and Miller, along with the "light" version that accompanies each. Not only the brand, but the product itself is clearly differentiable from the other three beers.

Put a pint of each on the table and everyone can pick out the Sam Adams just by sight. And I'd venture that there are a lot of people (especially those who don't claim loyalty to a particular brand) out there who would have a hard time differentiating between Bud, Coors and Miller by taste. Despite its ability to stand out among lagers, Sam Adams remains a truer substitute than a product like Guinness.

My point isn't that everyone in the U.S. is destined to make the switch to Sam Adams. Far from it. Every lager benefits from tremendous brand loyalty, making it extremely difficult to get many beer drinkers to switch from their personal favorite. My point is that Boston Beer has a lot of room to capture market share from these other brands.

Sam Adams could easily steal just a small amount of each brand's sales and it would double its U.S. market share. Another factor working in the brand's favor is that consumers move up-market to a much greater degree than they move down, meaning that a drinker of Miller Lite (for example) is much more likely to switch to Sam Adams than for the opposite to occur.

Turning to the stock, Boston Beer sports a price-to-earnings ratio of 27 times 2007 consensus estimates, which is a significant premium to the P/E ratios of Anheuser Busch and Molson Coors, which trade for 18 and 19 times 2007 estimates, respectively.

In this case I'm willing to pay up for Boston Beer because of the company's higher growth rate and larger opportunity for market share gains. This isn't to say that these larger players aren't also attractive, but their growth profiles are tied to international opportunities, which could eventually become a major catalyst for Boston Beer further down the road.

Investors should keep an eye on the company's plans for expansion. One of the reasons for the stock's strong performance this summer is management's apparent decision to postpone the construction of a new brewery in Massachusetts in favor of purchasing an existing brewery in Lehigh, Pa., from Diageo (DEO) .

Continuing strong demand will eventually force Boston Beer to construct a brand new facility, which would result in a big hit to near-term earnings once construction begins, but the investment would be a long-term positive for the company.

It bears noting that the purchase of the Pennsylvania plant means investors should pay attention to the renovation costs, likely to appear when fourth-quarter results are announced later this year.

On the positive side, shareholders also could benefit from increased analyst coverage of Boston Beer. Currently the company is only followed by two major investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, which both have hold ratings on the stock in part due to the uncertainty regarding the construction of a new brewery. Obviously, an upgrade from either would also likely generate a nice pop for investors.

Curzio: Valuation Is Key Concern

Larsen cites good reasons for why Boston Beer can be a formidable competitor to the alcohol beverage giants -- although I disagree that most people believe that Bud, Coors and Miller taste the same. But while I appreciate a good beer as much as anyone, we're looking at the stock, and this one has too much head.

Boston Beer's forward valuation is very high, and short-term production problems could lead to an earnings miss in the coming quarters.

Looking at valuation a bit more closely, earnings growth over the past year grew by 35%. But that is expected to slow to just 10% in 2008, and 13% the year after that, according to Thomson First Call. These estimates are relatively in line with the industry average of 11%, making that 27 times earnings for 2007 expensive based on expected growth trends.

Boston Beer will likely save at least $100 million through its expected deal with Diageo -- because it was contemplating opening up a new brewing facility that analysts estimated could cost about $200 million. But renovations and upgrades could add $30 million to $40 million to the $55 million purchase price and production will likely be delayed for months after this deal is closed.

Management already expressed production concerns last month, stating that its Cincinnati plant needs upgrades because it's been running 24/7 to meet huge demand. If demand can't be met, this could put a further dent in growth projections, which is certain to lead to a lower stock price in the short term.

Its Twisted Tea brand is also struggling as new competitors are entering this market at a torrid pace. Management stated in August: "Twisted Tea brand depletions declined slightly in a very competitive environment."

While this brand is small compared to its Sam Adams line, management cited in its annual report back in March that its 18.2% increase in annual volume was due to Sam Adams and the Twisted Tea family.

It's easy to jump on the Boston Beer bandwagon. After all, the company increased earnings by more than 30% year over year, shares climbed nearly 50% since May, and company found and chairman Jim Koch's charismatic demeanor is appealing to the average drinking crowd.

But further production problems could lead to an earnings miss, and that may not be taken well by holders of a stock that is trading at a very high premium compared to its peers. After this nice run-up over the past four months, I think it's time to ring the register.

Shake your pants and do the Ignace dance

Quick Update,

People were most kind in their expressions of concern for me, which warmed the heart immensely. I could not possibly eat all the fruit I got [seriously, talk to each other and stagger it, it was way too much all at once].

Right now, I’m doing fine. I wouldn’t know something had happened to me if not for the boatload of pills I need to take. I’m losing weight, I eat a lot better and I’m very happy to be among the living.

Life is good.

Please extend my feelings of warm regards and love to all of the family.

More news to follow later...


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

P.s. Everyone is doing the Ignace dance, check this out:

May I have this dance

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hop, skip and a jump to the Farm

We have found why the chicken crossed the road (to get to the Hop Farm).

With a shortage of hops and malts these days, it's important to support out local farmers. After some research, we located a hop farm in Paris Maine. We hope to tour the farm within the next year.


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

We're an organic hops farm nestled in the hills of Paris, Maine. Our hops are grown according to organic standards, without pesticides or commercial fertilizers and no fuss from us! This area's mineral rich history, water and soil, are just some of the qualities that make us a part of the perfect medium for organic farming.


Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

Hello Fellow Beer Lovers,

Ian and I wanted to post some information about the Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner. Yes, it's strange that I am mentioned Sam Adams here, but once we sampled this offering, we knew it was a home run. I have added our official review and information from Sam Adams. If you are interesting in reading additional reviews, please use the links below.

Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

P.s. This offering is only available in a 4 pack. It's a little pricey, but definitely worth it. This will last for quite some time, so if you want to start your own "Beer Cellar", we recommend starting here.

Official 2Beerguy Review:

With great anticipation, we crack the top and see that it pours a hazy golden color with a massive, frothy off-white head with fantastic retention. Super sticky lacing clings to the pilsner glass, residing over the still hazy body below that has settled into a beautiful gold.

As the beer has had a chance to sit, the first impression provides an intense hop aroma, with grass, straw, and hay notes giving a farm/field scent. The more it develops, a slightly sweeter, citrus hop aroma reveals itself. The first taste is an awesome blend of bitterness and sweetness, with a creamy bitterness with citrus notes.

As the taste grows, it becomes significantly more bitter with a pine/spruce characteristic. Remarkable progression through the senses of the tongue. Medium bodied with a creamy texture, it has gentle carbonation that provides a very pleasant mouthfeel.

Reviewed on September 27th, 2007.


Official Description:

An amazing treat for hops lovers.

Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner is a celebration of the extraordinary Hallertau Mittelfrueh hop variety. This rare Noble Bavarian hop, considered to be one of the best in the world, is prized for its quality and aromatic characteristics.

The beer, which is a deep golden color with a rich, creamy head, gives off an intense and complex Noble hop aroma unlike any other brew. With the first sip, beer enthusiasts will experience an explosion of hop flavor. The intensity of deep citrus, spicy Noble hop flavor is balanced with the slight sweetness from the malt. Due to the quality of the hops, this beer remains balanced and smoothly drinkable from beginning to end. The lingering "hop signature" is an amazing treat for hops lovers.

Official Announcement from Sam Adams

As I am sure you know, we love our hops around here. And Jim and our brewers have a certain obsession for our Bavarian Noble hops, specifically the Hallertau Mittelfrueh variety, prized for its unique flavor and aroma. It is the soul of our Samuel Adams Boston Lager. In 2005, we released Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner 2005 Harvest, a beer that showcased the Hallertau Mittelfrueh hop. It was a truly amazing beer that took these hops to another level.

Well, I am pleased to announce that we are putting these hops on a pedestal again with Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner. This one-of-a-kind brew uses enormous, almost reckless, quantities of Noble Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops from the Bavarian region in Germany, 12 pounds per barrel to be exact, which give the beer an unmatched flavor dimension and complexity. To put that in perspective, a barrel of Samuel Adams Boston Lager contains about 1 pound of hops and ordinary beers contain about an ounce and a half. So that's about a hundred times the hops of an ordinary beer!

This is a seriously hoppy beer, but very different from other "hop-bombs" you may have tried. The Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops are coveted for their aroma and unique flavor, making Hallertau Imperial Pilsner incredibly fragrant and "hoppy", but not too bitter. For all the hops thrown into this beer, it is amazingly balanced.

This is one of the most unique beers we make and I am thrilled it is back! Enjoy it... because who knows when we will do this one again.


I have also attached two 3rd party reviews for a comparison:

* Bruce Owens
* Lew Bryson

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kodomo no nomimono - Japanese beer for kids

Beer for kids!!! Just wanted to share.
(One of the Homebrew club members passed this around today.)


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Link to video

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jones Tavern Annual Meeting, Art Show and Beer Tasting

Date: 10/13/2007
Address: Jones Tavern (a Revolutionary War era tavern in Acton) 128 Main Street Acton, MA Parkiing on School Street, Railroad Street or at Erikson's Grainary on High St
Hours: 4:00 to 7:00 PM
Cost/Cover: $15 donation for 3 beer samplings
Contact Info: Nancy C. Evans, President, Iron Work Farm in Acton, Inc 978-621-5050 for information, invitation and reservation
Details: The Iron Work Farm in Acton, Inc. invites you to Beer Tasting in the Tap Room, Live Acoustic Music, and Paint-Out Art Show during the 2007 IWF Annual Meeting,
October 13, 2007 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Jones Tavern, 128 Main St. Acton, MA

The Annual Meeting will commence at 4:00 pm to conduct the election of officers and directors, and adjourn at 4:15 pm. Immediately following, the Tap Room opens for a selection of fine ales by local artisanal brewers accompanied by scrumptious tidbits from Whole Foods of Bedford. (Three tickets for drink sampling with a $15 donation.)

Live Acoustic Music by Larry Lee Oppel and Gene Berezin covering blues, pop,, folk and a little bit of country.Opening of the Faulkner House Paint-Out Art Show

Please call: 978.621.5050 for reservations or email: reservations@ironworkfarm.org.

Event is on: One day only
Audience: All Welcome
Category: Charity, Good Causes and Non-profit
Location: Acton, MA
Sponsored By: Iron Work Farm in Acton, Inc
Submitted by: Nancy C, Evans

Stone Cat Pumpkin Porter (or Ale)

For those of you out there that are pumpkin fans, here's a tip for you. Go directly to your Not Your Average Joe's and ask for a pint (or two) of the Stone Cat Pumpkin Porter. Their menu has it listed as Stone Cat Pumpkin Ale and, according to the brewery, this is for legal reasons.
...the government currently requires us to use the word "Ale" on any beer that is not a lager or a stout (even IPA needs to be spelled out as India Pale Ale)...
This is interesting. I'm putting out a challenge to our beer community to seek out the legislation that dictates this. Techically, all beers are either ales or lagers, but for some reason they differentiate between ale, lager, and stout.

Dogfish Head Alehouse open in VA!

At long last, our friends down in Virginia are in close proximity to a Dogfish Head Alehouse! Their latest facility is now open in Falls Church, VA, which means our friends Brace, Liz, and Don can all visit and enjoy fresh pints of DFH and report back in to us!

Here is the press release:
Falls Church Alehouse Opens For Business!

Type: Press Release

Start Date: 9/26/2007

Restaurant: DFH Alehouse, Falls Church

Location: Falls Church, VA

Update: 10/11/07

Thanks so much - we've had an amazing response during our 'soft' opening! It's been great seeing so many familiar Dogfish faces... and meeting new folks from our new neighborhood!

Grand opening festivities are scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - Click here for all the details!

For Immediate Release, 9/26/07

We wanted to open quitely, without fanfare (at least to start with), but the word is out!

The brand spankin new Dogfish Head Alehouse, Falls Church, VA plans to open for business at 4pm on Wednesday, September 26, 2007.

Sure, there's no signage or landscaping... but we won't let that stop us (last minute issues with permitting, now that might change the plans!)! The Alehouse opens for business today.

Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head founder/President plans to be there to enjoy a few pints of 60 Minute IPA from 4pm - 6pm (maybe he'll even buy you one if you're there too!).

Come by and check us out! We're hoping to get all the final touches complete and work the kinks out over the next few weeks... then we'll have a proper Grand Opening... stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Coors, Miller to combine operations

NEW YORK - The makers of Coors and Miller plan to combine their U.S. brewing operations in an effort to compete better against industry-leader Anheuser-Busch.

The joint venture announced Tuesday will be known as MillerCoors and will have responsibility for selling brands like Miller Lite and Coors Light in the U.S.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. accounts for about half of the U.S. market with brands such as Budweiser and Bud Light.

SABMiller PLC will have a 58 percent economic interest in the venture and MolsonCoors Brewing Co. will own 42 percent of the new company. They will have equal voting interests, however.

Precise financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The joint venture will also result in cost savings of $500 million, the companies said. That savings will mainly come from reducing shipping distances, finding economies of scale in brewing operations, optimizing production and eliminating duplicate corporate and marketing services.

London-based SABMiller, which brews Miller Lite as well as a slew of European beers, and Denver-based Molson Coors, the brewer of Coors Light and the craft beer Blue Moon, will each have five representatives on its board of directors.

Pete Coors, vice chairman of Molson Coors, will serve as chairman of the new company and Molson Coors Chief Executive Leo Kiely will be the new CEO of the joint venture. Tom Long, CEO of Miller, will be appointed president and chief commercial officer.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies said they will conduct all of their U.S. business exclusively through the venture.

The companies project MillerCoors will have combined annual beer sales of 69 million U.S. barrels with revenue of about $6.6 billion.

Coors said the joint venture will allow both companies to compete for U.S. consumers who are "looking for greater choice and differentiation," as wine and spirits continue to entice beer drinkers and imports and craft beers garner a larger share of the market.

The companies said by combining their U.S. operations, the venture will be able to invest more in marketing its brands to consumers and compete more effectively with larger brewers like Anheuser-Busch and InBev NV S.A., which imports a large number of global beers into the U.S. and is the world's largest brewer by volume.

"Given the highly complementary nature of our U.S. assets, operations and geographic footprint, this is a logical and compelling combination that we expect will create significant value for shareholders while benefiting distributors, consumers, retailers and the market overall," said SABMiller Chief Executive Graham Mackay.

SABMiller shares rose 2.3 percent to 1,499 pence ($30.57) in midday trading in London.

The companies said the deal will add to both of their earnings in the second full year of combined operations.

The companies said $50 million of the total cost savings will be recorded in the first full financial year after the two companies combine. Another $350 million will be saved in the second year and the last $100 million will come in year three.

The companies added they will have to make a one-time cash outlay of $450 million to achieve those savings.

Final approval of the deal is expected by the end of 2007, the companies said.

Link to article Click here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Why Price Increases Are Brewing for Craft Beers

This article was published in the Wall Street Journal.
(provided by Scott)



Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

October 5, 2007; Page B1

That six pack of high-brow beer is about to come at a higher price, thanks to the sharpest surge in decades in the cost of the hops and barley that give each brew its distinctive taste.

Consumers could pay 50 cents to $1 per six pack more in the coming months for many small-batch "craft beers," as brewers pass on rising hops and barley costs from an unpalatable brew of poor harvests, the weak dollar and farmers' shift to more profitable crops. Other makers of craft beers, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. brewing industry, say they may eat the higher ingredient costs, which will pare their profits.

"The hops are to Samuel Adams what grapes are to wine," says Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, one of America's fastest-growing beers. The company has raised its prices just over 3% this year to help offset the hops and barley costs. Mr. Koch says that for next year, the company is "probably looking at the same or maybe more."

Jim Koch, with Bavarian hops farmer Stephan Stanglmair.

"The cost increases have been the largest we've ever faced, both in barley and in hops," says Mr. Koch, who founded the company in 1984. The company only buys hops that are grown on several thousand acres in Bavaria, and the crop has been smaller in the past two years, making them more expensive, Mr. Koch says.

The cost pressures could slow the expansion of American craft brewers, which account for about 5% of U.S. beer revenue, and even put some smaller ones out of business. Craft-beer makers also are battling other cost increases, including higher prices for glass, cardboard, gasoline and the stainless steel used to make beer kegs. "People are very concerned," says Kim Jordan, co-founder of Colorado's New Belgium Brewing Co., which makes Fat Tire Amber Ale, a top-selling craft beer. "It significantly affects profitability."

Big American brewers like Anheuser-Busch Cos. and SABMiller PLC's Miller Brewing Co. also face cost increases, but the impact isn't nearly as great for them. They use much less hops and barley in most of their beers, which is why they are lighter in taste and calories. A barrel of craft brew Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, for example, has about twice the malt and as many as five times the hops of a mass-market brew, like Budweiser or Miller High Life.

Large beer makers are also better able to secure long-term contracts to mitigate the impact of rising ingredient costs. Most spirits makers, such as Diageo PLC and Fortune Brands Inc., also face a relatively limited impact from global increases in the cost of grains such as corn.

The craft-beer segment has been among the few bright spots in the slow-growing U.S. beer industry. The number of barrels of craft beers sold rose 11% in the first half of this year against year-earlier levels, according to the Brewers Association, a craft-beer trade group in Boulder, Colo. Meanwhile, the Beer Institute, a Washington-based industry group, projects total U.S. beer sales, by barrel, will rise 1.5% this year. The boom in craft beers reflects heightened awareness of their brands and a willingness by American beer drinkers to pay an extra $2 or $3 per six pack to get a premium product.

Craft beer makers have faced escalating costs over the past year. Prices for malting barley, which accounts for a beer's color and sweetness, have jumped as farmers increasingly shifted to planting corn, which has been bringing higher prices because of high demand from makers of biofuels, like ethanol. The weak dollar also has made it more expensive for U.S. brewers to buy commodities from Europe.

The news worsened for craft brewers significantly in recent weeks. Firms that turn barley into brewing malt informed craft brewers of price increases ranging from 40% to 80%, and hops suppliers announced increases ranging from 20% to 100%, depending on the variety of hops.

The price of hops -- which give beers their bitterness and aroma -- has risen because of shortages across the globe, due in part to poor crops in Europe. Some European brewers are competing with American brewers for hops grown in the Pacific Northwest.

For years, hops were cheap due to a glut. That prompted growers over the past decade to replace hops with other crops, such as apples. Now, the amount of hops acres world-wide is about half the total of 12 years ago, says Ralph Olson, a hops dealer with Hopunion CBS LLC in Yakima, Wash. That's caused some hops varieties to quadruple in price over the past year, he says.

To cope with higher malt and hops prices, smaller brewers are trying to secure longer-term contracts for the ingredients. And, in some cases, they're tweaking their recipes.

At Bell's Brewery Inc. in Comstock, Mich., founder Larry Bell says he is substituting other varieties of hops into the brewer's Bell's Oberon Ale and Bell's Lager because he could only secure 60% of a Czech Saaz hops that he normally uses in the beer.

Mr. Bell says employees who test beers at his company haven't been able to detect a change with the new hops and that he won't make any changes that will compromise quality. Starting next year, he anticipates he will raise the price he charges beer wholesalers by 50 cents to 60 cents per case. Customers may see an even higher price increase because retailers typically mark up beer even further.

"I am concerned that there could be some small players out there that will fail because of this," says Mr. Bell, whose brewery sold its first beer in 1985.

Boston Beer has inked long-term contracts for some of its ingredient needs. But many smaller brewers, such as Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine, buy hops and malt on the open market, exposing them to huge price swings. Rob Tod, president of Allagash, says the company expects to absorb some of the recent cost increases. But it will likely impose some price increases, resulting in a four-pack of its Allagash White costing about $9 at retailers in the Northeast, up about 50 cents. "We're getting hit on all sides," Mr. Tod says.

Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, Calif., says the brewer plans some price increases, but it's better positioned than others because a price spike for hops in the early 1980s prompted him to sign long-term contracts. "I've gotten calls of panic from other brewers," he says.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc. in Milton, Del., is coping by trying to make its operations more efficient, locking in commodity contracts as early as possible and weighing a price increase, says brewmaster Andy Tveekrem, whose company is known for "hoppy" beers like 60 Minute IPA, or India pale ale.

"I think there's going to be some brewers out there," Mr. Tveekrem says, "if they haven't looked that far ahead, that actually might run out of malt or hops, which would be a catastrophe."

Write to David Kesmodel at david.kesmodel@wsj.com and Janet Adamy at janet.adamy@wsj.com

Link to Article

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hops spa treatment!!!!

Beer Therapy

Relaxation is on tap for spa-goers who take a heavenly hops soak at the spa found at the Chodovar Family brewery in Chodova Plana, Czech Republic. Guests can take a dip in a dark beer bath while downing a pint. Along with the obvious shot of liquid happiness, the bath is said to increase circulation and aid in detoxification. The glass of non-pasteurized Rock Lager that spa-goers tip back also includes an active yeast culture that supposedly does wonders for the digestive system. Bottoms up!

(Special Thanks to Ms. Hops)
(link to article: website

Bar gossip leads to nasty surprise for couple

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech couple who decided to take a DNA test to squash persistent pub gossip and prove that their 10-month-old baby was their own got a nasty surprise.

The couple, from the southeastern town of Trebic, had some doubts about the child as her hair was blonde and they both had dark hair. Fellow drinkers' suspicions got on their nerves.

But the test showed neither of the parents had the same DNA as the baby, Czech news agency CTK reported Wednesday, suggesting a mix-up at the hospital.

Authorities were looking into the case.

Morale of the story: If it doesn't look like you, check with the Mailman...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Beer Diet - Video

Today a co-worker sent this funny beer related video. Enjoy!!


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Great Pumpkin Ale - Beer Tasting and Halloween Party


Join Beer Encounters for their first ever GREAT PUMPKIN ALE Beer Tasting and HALLOWEEN PARTY!

New England's Best Pumpkin Ale Event!
Sample a wide variety of Pumpkin Ale!
Enjoy beers of our featured breweries
Satisfy your sweet tooth with our Chocolate Buffet!
Dance the night away music from New Hampshire's own DJ Matty Z
Win a new kegerator for Best Costume!
Experience an incredible Light Show
Witness the Magic of Boston's own David Hall
Visit the Fortuneteller
Tarot Card Reading
Consult the Crystal Ball
Get a Souvenir Photo & Door Prizes
...and more!

Nashua Courtyard by Marriott
Take advantage of our special $99 rate for guest rooms.

Friday, October 19, 2007
6:30 pm until 11:30 pm
At the Nashua Courtyard by Marriott
2200 Southwood Drive
Nashua, NH 03063
For Hotel Room Reservations Call #603-880-9100

Buy your tickets today — fewer than 500 available!
Other Beer Tasting Festivals charge $40 or $50 for a ticket.
Our festival is a scream at only $30 a ticket!

Hurry, tickets are selling fast!

(you must be 21 or older to attend this event)


Harpoon Beer Dinner at Sylvan Street Grille

What is a beer dinner?

A beer dinner is a fantastic night celebrating the marriage of great food and outstanding beer. Our chefs and Harpoon Brewers have teamed up to let you experience the wonderful world of food and beer pairings. Wednesday night October 17th starting at 6:30 PM in our Peabody location please join us for an unforgettable evening. One of the master brewers from Harpoon Ale in Boston will be the guest speaker and guide you through each course with a behind the scenes glimpse into the art of a brewer. Tickets are $49 per person, with tax and gratuity extra. Space is extremely limited so call us now with any questions or to make your reservations.

Sylvan Street Grille and Harpoon Brewery Presents - October Beer Dinner

October 17, 2007 $49 per person plus tax and gratuity
6:30 to 7:30 pm

Cocktail Hour with hors d'oeuvres & Harpoon UFO
Unfiltered wheat beer with citrus tones

First Course

Waldorf Salad
Granny smith apples, walnuts, red grapes & blue cheese in a classic lemon mayo dressing and Harpoon Cider made with locally grown apples crisp and delicious

Second Course

Bistro Sliced Sirloin
Sliced tender sirloin with a wild mushroom ragout served with garlic mashed potato and grilled buttered asparagus and Harpoon Octoberfest full bodied, smooth and malty

Third Course

Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake
Gingersnap crust, thick rich seasonal pumpkin, caramel ginger drizzle and
Harpoon Brown Session Ale full bodied rich ale with hints of nuts and chocolate

All three courses have been carefully paired with premium Harpoon Brewery beers by our Corporate Executive chef and Harpoons brew specialist. We would like to thank Harpoon and and all of our guests for their support of this evenings event

Sylvan Street Grille, always "A Great Place to Eat, A Great Place to Meet"

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Parable on the Dangers of Drinking Too Much

Two women friends had gone for a girl's night out. Both were very faithful and loving wives, but they had gotten over-enthusiastic on the Bacardi Breezers.

Incredibly drunk and walking home they needed to pee, so they stopped in the cemetery.

One of them had nothing to wipe with so she thought she would take off her panties and use them.

Her friend however was wearing a rather expensive pair of panties and did not want to ruin them.

She was lucky enough to squat down next to a grave that had a wreath with a ribbon on it, so she proceeded to wipe with that.

After the girls did their business, they proceeded to go home.

The next day one of the women's husbands was concerned that his normally sweet and innocent wife was still in bed hung over, so he phoned the other husband and said, "These girl nights out have got to stop! I'm starting to suspect the worst... My wife came home with no panties!!"

"That's nothing," said the other husband, "Mine came back with a card stuck to her butt that said.....

"From all of us at the Fire Station. We'll never forget you!"

Please drink responsibly.