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.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bucket List

With the new Warner Brother release -- Bucket List -- starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, my imagination started wandering in many directions. Does everyone have a bucket list? We must, right? Once I started thinking about it, I guess we all do. It's easier to think that you will be able to reach all of your goals, but if you never write them down into a list, you might never accomplish them. So I am starting my Bucket List, and hopefully I will accomplish all of them.

What's in YOUR Beer bucket list?

Here's a quick glimpse of mine:

* Oktoberfest: Ummmm a 16 day beer festival in Germany. Let's get sour on some Krauts! Need to say anything else?

* Attend/Participate in the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) - Denver, Colorado. The GABF also hosts one of the world’s largest and most prestigious tasting competitions. Over 100 professional beer judges from the United States and abroad evaluated over 2,800 beers entered by more than 470 domestic breweries. Gold, silver and bronze medals in 75 beer-style categories were awarded.

The GABF’s popular food & beer pairing seminars featuring an A-list of America’s brewers joined local and national celebrity chefs for demonstrations on how to cook with beer and pair different styles of beer with various dishes.

* Dogfish Head 360-degree Experience! A beer lovers package that includes two nights accommodations for two in the Brewmaster's Suite at The Inn at Canal Square in the heart of Historic Lewes, A guided tour for two of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Dogfish Head soap, shampoo and accessories and an assortment of cold beer in the fridge and more. Click Here

* Travel to breweries in the outerbanks of the United States visiting Kona Brewering Company [Hawaii] and Alaska Brewing Company.

* Explore the 7 Trappist Breweries in Belgium (and Netherlands).

In case you were asking why doesn't this list contain a tasty refreshment in Dublin, .... well that one is already crossed off. The Guinness Factory is a fun place to visit. I recommend adding this to your list. In addition, maybe the Stone Brewing Company, the Sunset Tap and Grille, or a local Belgian Bar (in Belgium).

This list will change many times, but that's ok. Start a list of your own. Once you do, please share it with us :)


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A little piece of Magic Hat history

Here is an interesting story about Magic Hat expanding into the Organic Beer market.


And for His Next Trick.... Organic Beer

Meet Alan Newman. You may know him from his firm, Seventh Generation, which grew into a powerhouse of environmentally friendly cleaning products that are now sold nationally in thousands of stores.

Or from his first small business, which rode a wave of consumer interest in mail-order services and blossomed into Gardener's Supply Co., the nation's largest mail-order gardening company, based in Burlington, Vt.

A die-hard Vermonter, Newman has started a handful of firms that have, for the most part, been staggeringly successful.

His latest endeavor is recognizable among fans of craft beer: Magic Hat Brewery.

Newman founded it in 1993 by reconnecting with Bob Johnson, a former Seventh Generation employee and a home brewer. Johnson left the firm in 2003 when he felt it was getting too big for him because he enjoyed the "doing" side of business rather than the managing side of things. That's a trait that Newman understands well.

Newman, 60, is a self-described "classic entrepreneur" who said he can make a company successful "when you want to get [your firm] to about 50 people or $7 million to $8 million in sales."

Newman said Magic Hat "was about right there" when he ran into Martin Kelly, now the firm's CEO.

With Kelly's help, Magic Hat now has 125 employees and bumps up its workforce numbers seasonally. The company has grown by 30 percent for the past three years.

Together, they are now focusing on, Orlio Organic Beer, a subsidiary of Magic Hat Brewery that was started in the spring of last year.

Kelly, who Newman refers to as "the suit" in the operation, spent about 13 years in the soft drink business working for places like The Coca-Cola Co. and five years in the beer industry at Miller Brewing Co.

Newman is more of a yellow glasses, jeans and no shoes type (although he begrudgingly wears sandals sometimes, breaking out the socks in the winter). His public relations firm refers to him as the "King Midas of Hippie Businessmen."

Newman said Magic Hat is about to double the size of its brewery, which he credits to his culture of entrepreneurial energy and Kelly's "ability to stay focused."

The two, who banter off of each other's quips and end up laughing heartily throughout parts of the interview, said they had a "shared vision of a five-year plan." If they invited the "Car Talk" guys over for a drink, no one would get a word in edgewise and they'd all laugh themselves silly.

Although they've only worked together since 2004, they are not unlike a long-time married couple finishing each other's sentences. "What's interesting about us is our way of expecting and appreciating each other's skills," they both agreed, overlapping each other's words to form a sentence. The duo met when they were on the board of directors of a small brewers association.

"The two of us sitting next to each other... [looked] like unlikely partners, but we often agreed on a business plan," said Newman.

Magic Hat had looked into starting an organic beer "early on," in 1998 and 1999, but "we couldn't get out of our own way," said Newman. "We had serious financial issues but we didn't know what we were doing and while we thought organic was intriguing - we thought if we can't do it well, let's not do it."

Now, Newman says, largely thanks to Kelly, "we've gotten better management controls and the ability to pick a project."

"We often talk here about the fact that in the first three years of Magic Hat's existence, it was a small scrappy band of true believers," said Newman. "It never dawned on us that we would have explosive growth. We assumed it would be a slow growth for a couple of years... but the reason we can do [Orlio] is because Magic Hat is profitable."

Newman, whose success with his previous firms has shown an innate quality for zeroing in on "the next big thing," expects big things from Orlio. Organic beer sales are tied with organic coffee as the fastest-growing beverage in 2005 with sales increasing 40 percent, according to the Organic Trade Association.

Orlio has three dedicated employees, but can tap into the resources of the much larger Magic Hat. It is not yet profitable, but Magic Hat is well in the black.

The two firms also share a brewery, although the process for making organic beer must follow a more stringent set of state guidelines. There are two primary factors in creating an organic beer versus a traditional one - buying organic grains and the handling process during manufacturing.

"We had to go through testing procedures and evaluators had to look [at the brewery] and the cleansing procedures," said Kelly. The beer is certified organic from Vermont Organic Farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

With organic, the ingredients are more expensive and the procedures are more restrictive. Additionally, Newman notes, organic grains cost more per pound than regular and they yield less of the sugar water needed to make beer.

"It costs more to make and in an ideal world, we'd price it higher," said Kelly.

The company says the biggest buyers of organic beers are young professionals or newly married couples. "It's a lot of people who are thinking of having kids or have kids and all of a sudden they think about what they're eating more seriously," said Newman.

He is stumped for a bit when asked what kind of advice he might have for aspiring or newly minted entrepreneurs and asks genuinely: "Why would someone care about what I think?"

But after chewing it over, he said: "Do things that make your heart sing. At the end of the day if you're not doing what you're doing, life sucks. You've got to get up every day and get excited about what you do."

Now, he's on a roll: "Today, I'll actually get paid. I like creation. I like beer. I like the community of customers. That's what drove me through the hard years."

"We're just building the business, one customer, one market, one case of beer at a time."

Cheers to that.

By Sharon McLoone
Link to Article.

Tips on serving beer

You might have seen this already, but I wanted to share these helpful tips.


Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

A Primer on Serving The Perfect Beer
Associated Press Writer
Posted: Jan. 11, 2008

Yes, there is a better way to serve beer.

While American beer once meant light lager, today it encompasses a wide array of flavors concocted by innovative craft brewers whose varieties - and in some cases alcohol content - approach the breadth of wine and spirits.

In fact, there's now so much to learn about beer styles and how to serve them that the president of the Craft Beer Institute, Ray Daniels, has launched a sort of beer sommelier certification program.

That's because all that variety has complicated not only pairing beer with food, but also the mechanics of serving it. Like wines, each variety of beer benefits from different serving styles.

Proper service means paying attention to glassware, the serving temperature and how the beer is poured.

A proper serving of beer presents the head well, offers the right portion, shows off the color and aroma, and honors brewers' efforts with a nice visual presentation, says Randy Mosher, a beer consultant who teaches at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, which specialized in brewing.

"Beer should be an aromatic and taste-and-texture experience. But we all know, what the stuff looks like has a huge impact to how people perceive things," he says.

Here, Mosher offers some general tips:


For amber ales, the typical American "shaker" pint (the standard, straight pint common at most bars) is fine. For a more bitter barley wine, with higher alcohol content and bigger flavor, choose a snifter, which traps aroma and is smaller.

"You wouldn't want a pint of barley wine. Well, you may want one, but shouldn't have one," Mosher says.

In general, a glass that curves inward, so the rim turns up, helps concentrate aromas. A classic pilsner flute with its tall, tapered conical shape serves to wedge foam in and give it support, Mosher says. Try one for a cream ale.


Don't tilt the glass. The idea is to keep the head. Pour some beer into your glass, let the head foam up a bit and settle, then keep pouring. It might take two or three pours. The idea is to keep the head while releasing some of the carbonation that otherwise can leave you feeling bloated.

"By doing it that way, it knocks a little gas out of the beer. It makes it taste smoother, less harsh. All those bubbles are filled with aroma, so if they're popping, they're releasing aroma," Mosher says.

"It's nice to have a thick head on beer. It feels good on the lips. It's all about those details."


Like wine, different beers taste best at different temperatures. Lagers are served cooler than ales, darker beers are served warmer than pale, and stronger beers are served warmer than weaker ones, Mosher says.

While American-style lagers should be served between 35 F to 38 F, English style beers should be served as warm as 50 F. Serve an India pale ale or a porter at around 50 F to 55 F.

Mosher acknowledges this can be tough to manage. "Not everybody has 12 different coolers," he says.

Assuming you don't have multiple refrigerators or beer coolors, keep them in your regular refrigerator. Before drinking, let the beer sit on the counter for about 15 minutes. This should get it to a better temperature.

Mosher does urge leaving the frozen beer glasses for only the lightest American industrial beers, such as Bud, Miller or Coors.

"You never want to put a really good beer in a frozen glass. It's a waste of money," he says. "The aromas just can't get out. They get locked into the liquid. So at slightly warmer temperatures, they have the ability to jump out of the glass and get into your nose."

Click here for the link to the article.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Article - A Taste for Brews That Go to Extremes

Article appearing in the New York Times:
In the last 30 years American brewers have produced exceptional versions of classic Old World styles, whether pale ales or Pilseners, porters or stouts. They’ve even resuscitated nearly extinct styles like India pale ale, now one of the more popular genres in the United States. But nothing has caught their imagination like going over the top.

Forget about I.P.A.’s, strong, hoppy brews developed by the British centuries ago to withstand the ocean voyage to colonial India. Americans are now making double I.P.A.’s, Extreme I.P.A.’s, even Unearthly I.P.A.’s.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Flying Dog plans big for 2008

Flying Dog Brewery Leaps Even Higher In 2008
Author: Eric Hebert

A new seasonal and 4th new Canis Major style to hit shelves in 2008
Flying Dog Brewery has new show-stopping styles and packages for 2008. The brewery continues its tradition of offering award-winning beers in 2008 with the release of a Biere de Garde as their new spring seasonal and a Tripel as the fourth member of its Canis Major Series of high gravity beers.

“Garde Dog” Biere de Garde

“Garde Dog” Biere de Garde is unfiltered with a hazy, deep golden to light copper appearance. Brewed with domestically grown French Hops and German Pilsner Malts, it gives craft beer drinkers a very enjoyable, light-bodied, subtlety sweet beer with toasty malt undertones. Garde Dog is the perfect compliment to lighter fare such as seafood, salads, cheese and Middle Eastern and Indian foods.

“Cerberus” Tripel

“Cerberus” Tripel is a bottle-conditioned strong Belgian Ale with slightly hazy appearance and mousse-like head. Brewing with Golding and Saaz hops and Pilsner and Aromatic malts yields a medium body and champagne-like carbonation. Cerberus pairs perfectly with turkey and other poultry, creamy cheeses, fruit pastries, desserts and crème brulee.

Flying Dog will also be launching two new and unique packages to their Canis Major Series in 2008. The first is a Mixed four-pack featuring one 12oz. bottle of each Canis Major style. The second is a Mixed eight-pack of 7oz. bottles, which will include two offerings of each Canis Major style. The Canis Major Series includes Gonzo Imperial Porter, Horn Dog Barley Wine, Double Dog Double Pale Ale and the new Cerberus Tripel.

Serving high-quality craft beer for more than 15 years, Flying Dog Brewery’s award-winning “litter of ales” is now available in 45 states. Flying Dog’s core value of “purposeful, provocative and irreverence” flows through the veins of the brewery’s founding owners, George Stranahan and Richard McIntyre. George and Richard ‘s friends have included “Gonzo Journalist,” Hunter S. Thompson, who coined the brand’s tagline “Good People Drink Good Beer” and “Gonzo Artist” Ralph Steadman, who illustrates the brand’s packaging. For more information, log on to www.FlyingDogAles.com.

Click here for the article.