Archive for beer

Brothers in Hops

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2015 by themadhopper

Today Ninkasi announced that they had decided to pare up with another great brewery, Sierra Nevada to do a collaboration. Of sorts.

Credit-http://www.ninkasibrewing.com/

Opening the gates to a great collaboration.

Instead of getting together to tag team a beer like you might expect the two power house breweries decided to go a slightly more artist route.

As most people know by now Sierra Nevada is opening another Brew-house on the east coast and to adorn the front entrance to their eastern (imperial) expansion they teamed up with Ninkasi to create something that is both beautifully crafted and rustically practical.

Credit: www.ninkasibrewing.com

As a fellow brewer -and I’d like to think. somewhat decent human being- I love to see collaborations between Microbreweries. Sure, there is a bit of industry competitiveness growing in the Microbrewery world as markets are saturated and margins narrow but when you really break it down most brands have the same core values and desires to brew the best product they possibly can and in socially responsible way. They have a passion for their craft and a dedication to their consumer which I think as common ground can bridge any divide.

So Kudos to you Sierra Nevada and Ninkasi! You an example I hope we can all learn from

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The Imperial Expansion of the Corporate Macro Breweries

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by themadhopper

Change has come to the world of beer, the people have spoken and Craft is on the rise but don’t count the Industrial Macro brands out yet, you can bet they won’t just take this this lying down.

All Hail the King

All Hail the King

I don’t claim to be a beer blogger, or a beer critic – just a drinker turned brewer with a story to tell- and even I usually try to stay out of beer politics this issue has touched me so deeply that by the power invested in me by the internet I will add my voice to the shrieks of dismay as my Idols make deals with the devil.

It seems only befitting that one of the largest beer producers in the world has dubbed itself the “King of Beers”, a title that is supported not only by its 25% share of the World Beer market but also by its ability to subjugate its rivals (I know, I know, Budweiser isn’t the name of the company, only one of its largest brands, but give me a break I’m taking a little creative le way here).

Since the beginning of the Craft Revolution, Industrial Macro beer producers have done their best to crush the rising tide of small breweries, but in the last 30 years (in the U.S at least) Micro-brewers have slowly but surely made a great deal of progress. Now faced with such a formidable opponent Macro Corporations have, out of frustration (or business brilliance) decided to simply buy its competition out. As some great philosopher once said “If you can’t beat them, buy them out and make them your bitch” or something along those lines.

Newschoolbeer.com

Alright, perhaps that’s a harsh way of putting it, but  AB InBev and MillerCoors have recently become pimp to quite a few microbreweries claiming  their corner in exchange for protection and money. Most recently 10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing Company have traded in their freedom for a chain and a massive bank roll.  The business man in me wants to give both of them a high five and buy them a drinking for “Making it big”. Not only have the founders of these microbreweries been able to finally really cash in on their hard earned work but now the sky is the limit for both brands.  In the article written by Chris Furnari over at Brewbound (Inside A-B InBev’s Acquisition of Elysian Brewing ) The owners of Elysian Brewing Company make some pretty rational points on how “teaming up” with Ab InBev will allow them to grow and expand their Brand in ways never seen before.  Everything from lab facilities, bulk orders and country wide distribution (oh, and let’s not forget a bankroll the size of a countries gold reserve) will allow Elysian to finally become the brewery it was meant to be. . Truly these companies have achieved the American Dream of success.

And with an industry becoming overly saturated with competition this transaction will make sure that Elysian comes out on top during the next few difficult years claims its founders. Though I’d argue that a brand like Elysian would never really be in any true danger of going under.

However, the beer drinking moralistic hophead in me is going through a swing of depression that makes the Pacific Northwest’s weather seem sunny by contrast. I feel like a jilted lover. Absolutely Betrayed. I feel like I was stabbed in the back and abandoned in a rain of mediocre light lager. And you want to know the worst part? The worst part is they said they did it all for me, that they sold out in order to better meet and please my demand as a consumer. How little they know me if they thought that is what I desired. How little they know if they thought that is what would make me happy. I liked them the way they were. I appreciated them for their faults and their accomplishments, their success and their failures.

However, this innocent bystander certainly isn’t the only one  to notice how ironic (hypocritical?) this is?

Alright before I get too emotional I’ll just end there. The point is I see the buying out of microbreweries as simply a new tactic in the KINGS fight against the craft revolution, with me as simply a causality of war. Will I stop drinking Elysian and 10 Barrel for a time? Yes. Will I stop drinking it forever? Who knows.? But more importantly would I ever sell out? And the truth is, I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t do the same, because damn does that devil king have a silver tongue ( And some awesome freaking horses).

*Full disclosure- The author of this article was in love with Elysian Brewing Companies Avatar IPA

*Full Full disclosure-  More than a few beers might have been consumed during the writing of this as a coping mechanism.

 

Opening a Brewery in Ecuador, South America

Posted in Bandido Brewing, Beer, Brew Against the Machine, Brewing, Craft Beer Ecuador, CraftBeer, Microbrewery, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by themadhopper
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Bandido Brewing, a new Microbrewery located in the old town of Quito.

I moved to Ecuador over a year and a half ago to help open a hostel. During my time at the hostel my Co-workers and I found that there was a general lack of good beer in Ecuador. Ecuador, like many South American countries has a beer industry monopolized by watery German style lagers which I am sure at one point ( in the early 1900’s or so ) was great. However, most of it has fallen to being the same if not worse than the large commercial brewers of the United States (Budweiser, Coors, etc. etc.).

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So all of us having gone to college in the Pacific Northwest I am sure you could understand not only our frustration but also our withdrawals. It was about six months into our craft beer fending that we decided to do something about it, and no we didn’t just decide to give in and sacrifice our dignity and taste buds for a little beer.

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So what would you say the rational solution to our dilemma was?

Open our own Microbrewery of course! Well, I don’t know if id say it was rational but that was our solution.

Now that was about a year ago that we decided to open a Brewery and since then we’ve had just about every set back you could imagine, and although we are still not officially open we have come a great deal closer to our dream of creating a new hopciety in Ecuador. Truthfully, all that is left is getting all of our permits done (which is a bureaucratic nightmare in Ecuador I’ll have you know! ). We have the beer, we have the following and once we open we are going to work our asses off to bring some of the Pacific Northwest beer culture to Ecuador!

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So check out our website https://www.bandidobrewing.com, our facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bandido-Brewing/403769543049657, or just drop by and have a pint with us.

Beeramid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by themadhopper

Beeramid

A tower of some of the delicious beers I’ve been brewing these last months in Ecuador.

New Breweries

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 18, 2013 by themadhopper

I love seeing new breweries popping up all over the place!  It seems like every time I return to a place I find that there is at least if not a few more new breweries. Some believe that we are currently in a Microbrewery growth bubble and that soon enough it will pot sending thousands of microbreweries and brewpub nation wide to their sober graves. I am not a economist so I can say with any conviction whether their is any foundation to this claim but I certainly hope not.

I’d like to see the boom in brew facilities as a revolution not just a fad. Sure, if a brewery has bad beer, bad service and bad marketing then its going to die, and it probably deserves to do so just like any other competitor in the hospitality/brewing industry. But whats great about having so many little breweries is that it 1. forces those breweries to seek out their own little niches through hard work, good beer and creativity. And 2. They provide a local sense of pride. Its no longer what state has the best beer, but what city, and in some places what neighborhood.

In the U.K every neighborhood has its local pub and its patrons are both loyal and competitive. They say your local pub is where you will have your first drink as a kid and where you should have your last before you die. It’s inspiring to see the bonding and comradery that is developed simply out of the pride for ones own neighborhood.

Perhaps not all new microbreweries will grow to become  powerhouses like Stone, Rogue, or Victory but as long as every one is free to choose the beer they want to drink where they want to drink I say brew on! 

Personal Brewery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 20, 2013 by themadhopper

…. I am both amazed and appalled at the same time. Don’t get me wrong this think looks awesome, its sleek, efficient and looks like it might do the trick, but it takes all the fun out of brewing beer. Sure if you work 70 hours a week and don’t have the time to dive into the mash (or you just have no idea what the fuck you are doing and want a party gift to show off to all your snobbish friends) then this might be kind of cool. However, it takes the beauty and love out of brewing and turns it into soulless process no much better than industrial beer. Brews are alchemists. They take the base elements of grains, hops, yeast and water and turn it into a fabulous golden drink of the gods. This machine turns brewers simply into industrial brew machine operators. Its kind of like those silly one serve coffee machines people have started buying.

Whats next, a machine that has sex for us…?

A pint for Dionysus

Now, I don’t happen to have an extra $4,600+ but…maybe you do? Even if not, this is a pretty cool looking system.

Of course, I don’t think I can completely trust a process that doesn’t allow the user to add in the hops or grain they think they should. I’m an extract or partial-mash (at best) brewer anyway and I know I don’t want to trust a syrup that someone else made that apparently ‘has everything’. It just feels a bit anti-homebrewing. Robobrewing.

But nobody’s trying to take away my kettle just yet, so I can just share and move on.

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The Beer Brand Identity

Posted in Beer, Brew Against the Machine, Brewing, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 20, 2013 by themadhopper

Hopefully ” buy local” which is generally applied to produce and food will extend to the beer market as well. There is a time and place for cheap beer like Budweiser but I think that once you get use to it buying locally from a microbrewery is much more satisfying. Not only is there a sense of pride in having bought a great beer that is made locally but its fun to meet the faces behind that beer, and some times if your lucky those local brewers will pass you a pint or two.

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