Monday, January 31, 2011

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for 2011 Week 4

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A non-comprehensive roundup of the week's
news of beer and other things.

Week 4
23 January 2011 - 29 January 2011

  • 2011.01.29
    The Brewers Association now considers Yuengling Brewing Company as a 'craft' brewery. Maybe, it's time to shed the 'craft beer' label, and re-tool the association as the United States Brewers Association.
  • 2011.01.29
    Maryland lawmakers have submitted legislation to allow direct shipping of wine to consumers in the state. Via WTOP Radio News.
  • 2011.01.29
    Birthday in beer: Jeff Wells, co-founder of Washington D.C. Beer Week.
  • Kasper and Natty Boh
  • 2011.01.29
    National Bohemian —no longer brewed in Baltimore, Maryland, but in Eden, North Carolina, for Pabst by SABMiller/Coors— will soon again be available as draft beer in Baltimore, and other markets.
  • 2011.01.29
    Bill proposed to allow brewpub in downtown Hagerstown, Maryland.
  • 2011.01.29
    ElBaradei says the Egyptian state has collapsed; Mubarak must go. Via New York Times.

  • Brewers Resource Directory 1999 (front)
  • 2011.01.28
    The Brewers Association has released the 2011/12 edition of The Brewers Resource Directory. Many consider it to be the definitive list of breweries, beer equipment fabricators, ingredient suppliers, wholesalers, associations, publications, legal and technical resources, etc.
  • 2011.01.28
    So you want to sell your beer in bottles? Baying Hound Ales offers a how-to guide with links to appropriate government sites.
  • 2011.01.28
    The White House has ordered several cases of beer from Hinter Land Brewery of Green Bay, Wisconsin, for President Obama's Super Bowl party.
  • 2011.01.27
    Virginia's newest brewery, Blue Lab Brewing, to celebrate its grand opening in Lexington. Via Musings Over A Pint.

  • pyrateers
  • 2011.01.27
    An industry analyst finds that the future looks young and strong for the 'Craft Beer' industry.
  • 2011.01.27
    Stop with naming beers with hop puns, says Maryland brewer.
  • 2011.01.27
    Happy 255th birthday, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • 2011.01.27
    Evolution Brewery eying move from Delaware to Maryland, for bigger digs. Regulatory hurdles remain. http://ow.ly/3JSLY
  • 2011.01.26
    How's that for privacy? Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Fan Page hacked. Via Mashable.
  • 2011.01.26
    Dunkel, schwarzbier, tmave: the Washington Post tastes "the dark side of lager."
  • 2011.01.26
    Without distribution partners signed, New Belgium Brewery announces sales expansion into Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia for September 2011.
  • 2011.01.25
    Maryland's alcohol tax proposal. It's either only a dime a drink - or a 1,189% increase. Via BeerinBaltimore.
  • 2011.01.24
    Bob & Ellie Tupper, and the 20,000 beers they've tasted. Via Washington Post.
  • 2011.01.24
    The first canned beer was sold today, in 1935, in Richmond, Virginia, by the Krueger Brewery of New Jersey. Via Wired.
  • 2011.01.24
    Adam Avery: “I can’t see sour beer being the next big thing." Others think it could it be the 'new hoppy.' Via CraftBeer.com.
  • 2011.01.24
    "Hon" trademarker Denise Whiting apologizes. If you're not from Baltimore, Maryland, you wouldn't understand. Via Baltimore Sun.

  • Ernesto Igot with Charlie Papazian
  • 2011.01.23
    Birthday in beer: Charlie Papazian, author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, and founder of the Great American Beer Festival, the Brewers Association, and the American Homebrewers Association.

***************************
  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Wolf Moon

Moon over Alexandria

According to Space.com, the first full moon of the year, in January, is referred to as the Wolf Moon, a tradition begun by Native Americans.
Amid the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. The Full Wolf Moon was also known as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule. In some tribes, this was also known as the Full Snow Moon; most applied that name to the next moon.

The photograph (if that indeed is an exact term for a digital camera image) above was taken in Alexandria, Virginia, on the evening of 19 January 2011.

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Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a 'good fermentable' as subject.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Future Looks Young and Strong for 'Craft Beer' Industry

Craft Brewers Conference 2011

Annual figures for sales and production for the US small brewery industry will be released by the Brewers Association during its Craft Brewers Conference, scheduled for 23-26 March 2011 in San Francisco, California.

In the meantime, look at these figures from Caroline Levy —beverage analyst for CLSA— as reported by Beer Marketer's Insights.

The volume of craft beer sold will increase by 8% per year over the next 3 years. That's —conservatively— a total growth of more than 2.4 million barrels by 2013. Levy sees this growth partially as a result of several demographic factors.

  • 90% of Americans now live within 50 miles of a craft brewery.
  • Over 25% of 21-24 year olds show an interest in beer with 'flavor,' versus less than 10% for consumers 25-30 years older. [Hmmmph!] At the same time, while just 6-7% of adults regularly drink craft beer, almost 60% express an interest in them.
  • The number of drinkers aged 21-39 [the demographic segment most likely to purchase beer] will grow by 7.8% by 2020 to over 90 million, nearly tripling from a 2.7% increase from 2000-2010.
  • Based upon these trends, the ranks of core craft beer drinkers could swell by 40-50% by 2020, to about 29 million (12% of the drinking-age population).

Contrast that with the trend in the mainstream beer business.

In 2010, total beer sales —of which conglomerate beer sales, by volume, accounted for 94%— were down 1.9%, even though income was up as prices were increased. The distinction between sales by volume and sales by dollars is significant. By the former metric, craft beer accounted for 4.3% of total beer sales; by the latter, its share was 6.9%. Savvy restaurateurs and store owners realize that they can make more money selling craft beer, bottle by bottle, than mainstream beer.

BMI finishes their mini-report with this challenge:

Imagine the prospects for craft brewers if they can broaden appeal among Hispanics and women, neither of which are a huge part of the craft beer consumer base.

Beer Marketer's Insights releases its full 2011 report in June. More from the Brewers Association: here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

John Barleycorn Must Die

Today is the 252nd anniversary of the birth of Scots poet Robert Burns. His work "John Barleycorn" is a lyrical description of beer making. A barleycorn —a kernel of barley— contains the fermentable starch material of beer.

[The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley: See Alexander Mitchell's comment, below, concerning authorship.]

In 1970, the English rock group Traffic put the verses to music, and had a Top 10 hit with John Barleycorn Must Die, from an influential album of the same name. The Brookston Beer Bulletin has selected the song as one of the 10 best ever sung about beer. (View a performance of the band performing the song in concert: here.)

John Barleycorn Must Die, by traffic

JOHN BARLEYCORN

There were three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
An' they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough and ploughed him down,
Put clods upon his head;
An' they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerfu' spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surprised them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,
And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel armed wi' pointed spears,
That no one should him wrong.

The sober autumn entered mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Showed he began to fail.

His colour sickened more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.

They've ta'en a weapon long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgelled him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turned him o'er and o'er.

They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still, as signs of life appeared,
They tossed him to and fro.

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller used him worst of all,
For he crushed him 'tween two stones.

And they hae ta'en his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise;

'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy:
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for 2011 Weeks 2/3

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A non-comprehensive roundup of the week's
news of beer and other things.

Weeks 2/3
8 January 2011 - 22 January 2011

  • 2011.01.22
    A new Virginia brewery: Blue Lab Brewing Company in Lexington, Va. Via Rockbridge Weekly.
  • 2011.01.21
    The Brewers Association announces the lineup of participating breweries for 2011 Savor, the annual beer-with-food exposition, 3/4 June, in Washington, DC.
  • 2011.01.21
    Birthday in Beer: beer (and golf) writer Tom Bedell
  • Port City (03)
  • 2011.1.21
    A profile of Port City Brewing Company, a soon-to-open Alexandria, Virginia, production brewery. Via DCBeer.com.
  • 2011.01.20
    Facebook bans beer blog Musings Over A Pint, then rescinds ban. Offers no explanation.
  • 2011.01.19
    Freakonomics asserts that the cost of a wine is a dominant factor in perceiving the quality of a wine, more so than varietal, tannic structure, etc.

  • 41_Bryson & Tupper
  • 2011.01.19
    Beer writer Lew Bryson questions the validity of the new guidelines for 'session beer,' as promulgated by the Great American Beer Festival.
  • 2011.01.19
    The 20 most powerful people in US beer business, via Beer Business Daily. A 'craft beer' maker the No. 1 spot for the first time.
  • 2011.01.19
    Again, neither rose nor cognac for Edgar Allan Poe. For the 2nd year in a row since 1949, a 'mysterious' visitor fails to appear at poet's grave in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 2011.01.19
    Nine breweries are among 71 businesses awarded Good Food Awards. Via RealBeer.com.

  • Brewer's Art's taps
  • 2011.01.17
    The 50 best bars in the U.S., via BarFinder.com. The 100 best beer bars in the U.S., via Draft Magazine.
  • 2011.01.17
    Brooklyn Brewery fires up the brewhouse in its new 50,000 barrel facility. Via BeerNews.org.
  • 2011.01.17
    Discovering the remnants of an Iron Age Celtic brewery of 2,550 years ago, in Germany. Via Science News.
  • 2011.01.16
    “Totally pointless categorization of something that is the same shit." Beer writer Stephen Beaumont on Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and beer styles.

  • Saxman
  • 2011.01.16
    A list of who's who in jazz on Twitter, via Elements of Jazz.
  • 2011.01.15
    Washington D.C.'s legendary Town & Country Lounge, at the Mayflower Hotel, closes.
  • 2011.01.15
    Catoctin Creek Distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia, is that county's first distillery since Prohibition.
  • 2011.01.15
    Did a thirst for beer spark civilization? Maybe, says biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern. Via The Independent.
  • 2011.01.13
    Virginia Governor McDonnell outlines a new, scaled-back, retail-only plan for privatizing the state's ABC (liquor, some Virginia wines) stores.

  • Flying Dog +
  • 2011.01.13
    Mid-Atlantic beer news: Jim Lutz -past Sales Director at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland- now President/CEO of Coastal Brewing, in Delaware, parent company of Dominion Brewing and Fordham Brewing.
  • 2011.01.13
    The Brewers Association releases its 2011 Beer Style Guidelines.
  • 2011.01.11
    Washington Post's take on the Brewers Association's change of definition of craft brewery from 2 million to 6 million barrels.
  • 2011.01.11
    Evidence of a 6,000 year old winery discovered, oldest confirmed.
  • 2011.01.10
    Flags at half-staff throughout the nation for the victims of the shootings in Tucson, Arizona.
  • 2011.01.10
    New Burley Oak Brewery to open in Berlin, Maryland, but later than expected. http://burlyoak.com
  • 2011.01.10
    Wikio has announced its January 2011 rankings for US wine blogs. At the top position is Dr. Vino
  • 2011.01.10
    Wikio has announced its January 2011 rankings for US beer blogs. At the top position is Brookston Beer Bulletin.
  • 2011.01.09
    Could a craft brewer end up in the White House: John Hickenlooper, Colorado's new governor. Via beer journalist Jack Curtin.
  • 2011.01.09
    Yoga: the antidote to the alcohol hangover?

  • Local Beer 3: Ballston Brown
  • 2011.01.08
    Post merger with Gordon-Biersch, has Rock Bottom begun cracking down on brewer independence?

***************************
  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Big Orange Beer Tank

Loose Cannon in tank


I like the interplay between light, color, and shadow, in this photo of a beer maturation vessel at the Heavy Seas Brewing Company, in Baltimore, Maryland.

"LT" is an acronym for Lagering Tank. Lagering is the process of storing unfiltered beer, after fermentation has concluded. The beer will be eventually chilled to 0°C for clarification: yeast and proteins will settle out of the liquid. Most yeast is inactive at this point. A lager beer is generally 'lagered' for a longer time than an ale: hence its name.

"BBL" is the abbreviation for beer barrel, which isn't an actual thing; it's a unit of volume measurement. For beer, in the U.S., that's 31 gallons, or 13.78 cases of 24 twelve-ounce bottles.

Notice the black tube at the bottom of the photo. It's a racking hose attached to the zwickel (the sample port) on the door of the tank. The brewery's cellarman will fill (in brewing terminology, 'rack') casks through this tube.

*********************
  • When this photo was taken, in 2008, the brewery was known as Clipper City Brewing Company.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a 'good fermentable' as subject.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Birthday in Beer: Tom Bedell

Today's Birthday in Beer belongs to Tom Bedell. He writes about beer, and I read what he writes. He writes about golf; I don't read that ... but that's just me! In his own words:


As far as he knows, award-winning writer Tom Bedell is the only member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the North American Guild of Beer Writers. And he’ll drink to that, as he is wont to do regarding most things.
Tom Bedell

Tom has written about golf and golf travel for American Airlines’ luxury magazine Celebrated Living since 1999, and has contributed to Travel & Leisure Golf, Golf Connoisseur, Virtuoso Life, Lexus Magazine, Acura Style, Tee It Up, American Way, The Met Golfer and many others. He was a contributing editor for America’s Top Golf Courses, Sixth Edition (Zagat, 2010), and writes a regular column for the daily Brattleboro Reformer newspaper in southern Vermont, where he lives and plays out of the Brattleboro Country Club as mid-handicapper.

But before he began writing about golf, Tom had established his chops as a beer expert. A certified beer judge, Tom won two first place Quill and Tankard awards for his writing from the North American Guild of Beer Writers, and was a contributing editor to The Encyclopedia of Beer (Owl Books, 1997; Henry Holt, 1995). He continues to preside over beer tastings, formal and informal, at the merest request.

Tom began his writing life as a generalist, writing on anything and just about everything. Now closing in on the 1,000 mark in total articles, interviews, essays and reviews in over 100 different publications

I haven't met Tom, but hope to share a couple of pints with him, when he covers the U.S. Open, in June, in Bethesda, Maryland.

U.S. Open | June 16-19 | Congressional | Bethesda, Maryland
Former brewer, now wine and beer salesman, Tom Cizauskas gives the nod to the Scottish-tinged Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton, seven miles from Congressional. There are ample Scottish ales available, but don’t miss the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon on tap, also called Hop³ for its exponential aroma.


Fairway + Greens Magazine
Tom Bedell
January 2011

His website is tombedell.com; his Faceboook page is here; his Twitter feed is twitter.com/tombedell.

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  • The North American Guild of Beer Writers, unfortunately, is no longer active. It should be.
  • More of my short list of Birthdays in Beer: here.

  • Follow the Brookston Beer Bulletin's more comprehensive calendar of beer birthdays. It's a marvelous resource for learning more about the folk who brew beer, deliver it, serve it, drink it, and write and talk about it.

Yours for Smaller Fermentables

It's now easier to read YFGF on your phone. Beginning today, when you access Yours For Good Fermentables on your cell phone web browser, the blog will be re-formatted to fit the smaller screen. Here's an example of how it will appear:

http://www.YoursForGoodFermentables.com

Might this be considered sly advocacy for small beer?

***************
  • For more information on how to re-format your blog (if you use Blogger.com to host it), go here. To activate the feature, go to draft.blogger.com.
  • I was alerted to this feature by fellow beer blogger David Turley at his Musings Over A Pint.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Big Barleywines visit "Little City"

Mad Fox Brewing Company, a brewpub in Falls Church, Virginia, has announced its first-ever beer festival. And, it's a big one: a celebration of barleywine, to be held on the 26th and 27th of February 2011.

Mad Fox Brewing events

Barleywine is a term used somewhat loosely for strong ales, but generally implying ales of greater than 8% alcohol-by volume (abv). By way of comparison, 'standard' US beers are usually fermented to strengths of 5% or so. The sometime maligned BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) describes barleywines as:

Malty-sweet with fruity esters, often with a complex blend of dried-fruit, vinous, caramelly, molasses, nutty, toffee, treacle, and/or other specialty malt aromas. Some alcohol and oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in Sherry or Port. Hop aromas not usually present due to extended aging.

In other words, a barleywine is a strong ale, with malt-forward flavors, fermented somewhat in the British or American tradition (rather than the Belgian or German tradition), and often aged for a few years before being served. American iterations tend to emphasize bitterness and grapefruity (or catty) aromas, which can soften with cellaring. Despite the style name, there are no grapes, grapefruits, or any other fruits in a barleywine.

Bill Madden, brewmaster at Mad Fox, will have three of his own barleywines at the festival.
  • Wheat Whacker Wheat Wine: 8% abv, brewed from 55% wheat malt.
  • Head Cracker: "English-style golden barleywine," 8% abv, brewed from 70% Pilsner malt, 30% Pale Ale malt, and hopped principally with English First Gold.
  • Slobberknocker: "American-style barleywine," 10% abv, hopped principally with US Citra.
Madden has invited other breweries to participate. Among those already announced are Brooklyn Brewing and local breweries Devils Backbone, DuClaw Brewing, Heavy Seas Brewing, Oliver Breweries, and Williamsburg Aleworks. The pub will also have the only keg available in the US this year of Corps Mort Barleywine, from Quebec brewery A L'abri De La Tempête. All beers will be served on draught, or, if available, from cask. Madden hopes to have 20 or so barleywines available, including his three. The complete list can be seen: here.

**************
UPDATE: Oliver Breweries' barleywine —Hot Monkey Love— will NOT be poured at the festival; the Virginia ABC has yet to approve it for sale in the state, although eventual approval is anticipated. Read an update on the festival at Musings Over A Pint.
***************

The event will be open admission, during the brewpub's regular operating hours. Attendees will pay just for the beers they order, which, for (relative) sobriety's sake, will only be served in 4 ounce glasses.

Many beer festivals share a common problem. Attendees, arriving later than opening hour or on next-day sessions, discover, to their chagrin, that many beers have been sold-out. To prevent this, Madden, a savvy veteran organizer, is dividing both days of the festival into two sessions each, offering 10 barleywines per each per day. Folk coming the second day will have the opportunity to sample the same beers as those the day before.

For more information, including lodging literally across the street, go to the website: www.madfoxbrewingcompany.com.

Mad Fox Brewing is the first and only brewpub, or brewery, to open in the "Little City" of Falls Church, Virginia. The pub is already planning festivities for its one-year anniversary for 16 July 2011. A previously announced Real Ale Festival has been postponed until further notice.

***************
  • Photos from the festival: here.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for northern Virginia beer/wine wholesaler Select Wines, Inc., I distribute the beers of Brooklyn, Heavy Seas, and Oliver Breweries.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

DC Restaurant Week begins tomorrow

DC Restaurant WeekThe 17th annual Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week begins tomorrow and runs through January 23rd.


Over 200 of metropolitan Washington, DC's finest restaurants offer awe-inspiring, multi-course meals prepared especially for this gourmet event.

Destination DC and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington are proud to present the 17th annual Washington, DC Restaurant Week from January 17-23, 2011.

Lunch: $20.11 for a three-course fixed-price meal
Dinner: $35.11 for a three-course fixed-price meal
Beverages, gratuity and tax are not included.

Keep in mind that this a celebration throughout the metro D.C. area. Restaurants outside of the city proper, in the close-in suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, will also be participating. More at http://washington.org/restaurantwk.

***************
That metro-area inclusiveness is something that the organizers of DC Beer Week should consider!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Still Life with Cider & Cheese

Cheese and cider


Real cheese and real cider:

the product of fermenting fresh apple juice. The amount of apple juice which went into the final product must be between 85 and 100% and should be clearly stated on the container it is sold in or dispensed from. No artificial sweeteners, flavourings or colourings are permitted. ( For real perry, substitute pear juice.)

The cider:
Gwatkin Yarlington Mill Cider, pulled from a cask at Churchkey in Washington, D.C., 18 March 2010.

It was tart, with a tannic bite like an apple skin, and chewy, with background hints of barnyard funk and smoky phenolics. I remember the 2009 imported cask of this to have had a bit more of a cinnamon character (possibly from the choice of wood?) and to be of a darker reddish color. Gwatkin is the cidery, the 2009 Cider Maker of the Year in the UK. Yarlington Mill is the specific apple varietal. 7.5% alcohol by volume.

The cheeses (l-r):
Meadow Creek Grayson, from Virginia (raw cow's milk, washed rind, aka 'stinky.'); Tête de Moine, from Switzerland (raw cow's milk as well but a milder washed-rind than the Grayson); Monte Enebro, from Spain (pasteurized cow's milk; slightly tangy. Beautiful 'bloom' presentation. Its slight tang paired well with the cider).

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Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on a Saturday, and often of a 'good fermentable' as subject.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Belgium: I Tweeted a rumor

Mea culpa.

I re-Tweeted a rumor that started this small corner of the world buzzing. Without checking sources, I provided a link to another blog where the following announcement had appeared on 6 January:

Although a definite time table is unlikely to have been set, the well known and respected craft brewery New Belgium (Colorado) apparently has made plans to expand distribution, finally, to the state [Virginia] this year.

The author of the blog provided no source for his claim and no link to an official news release. So, let me be clear. Until the day we receive corroboration from New Belgium itself, any comment that the brewery will distribute its delicious beers here in Virginia is only rumor or conjecture.

I've since deleted my Tweet, but such things gain virtual permanence on the internet. For better or (in this case) for worse, many folk read my blog and Twitter feeds. I owe them the reasonable expectation that I verify sources before I write. In this case, I didn't. I apologize.

***************
UPDATE
On 26 January, Greg Kitsock, beer columnist at the Washington Post, actually confirmed the rumor, per a press release from New Belgium's media relations director.

New Belgium Brewing Co. announced yesterday that its Fat Tire Amber Ale -- perhaps the most requested brand that's not currently sold in D.C. -- will finally become available in the District, Maryland and Virginia in September.

New Belgium -- the third largest craft brewer in the United States after Boston Beer Co. and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. -- has yet to determine who will distribute its beer locally or what product mix will be shipped here.

The point still stands: to maintain credibility, sources must be verified, as did Mr. Kitsock. A few years ago, months before a New Belgium distribution deal was announced for North Carolina, I had information suggesting that that might happen. I didn't have confirmation, so, in that case, I did NOT post the story.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for 2011 Week 1

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A non-comprehensive roundup of the week's
news of beer and other things.

Week 1
1 January 2011 - 7 January 2011

  • 2011.01.07
    Cooking with beer was the January topic for The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #47.
  • 2011.01.07
    How to increase 'craft beer' market share? Change the definition of craft beer: triple the limit. Via just drinks.com.
  • 2011.01.07
    A year's delay for not-yet-opened Logan-Shaw Brewery's plans to brew Wild Goose beer in Maryland.
  • 2011.1.06
    Bob & Ellie Tupper to taste their 20,000th beer(!), 17 January at R.F.D. in Washington, D.C. Their recipe for "Tuppers India Ink Black IPA" brewed for them by Mad Fox Brewing Company.
  • Coming Soon! Rhino Chasers
  • 2011.01.06
    Brewery name change: Ashburn, Virginia brewery 28 North now called Lost Rhino Brewing Company due to trademark issues. On Twitter at @LostBrewer. On Facebook .
  • 2011.01.06
    Bring the teapot to the kettle, not vice versa. On Slate: How to make a good cup of tea, per George Orwell. Unfortunately, climate change may be harming the taste and decreasing the yield of tea. Via Huffington Post.
  • 2011.01.05
    The trouble with BJCP beer styles is that they are not prescriptive, but descriptive, says beer blogger Beervana.
  • 2011.01.05
    (At least) six microbreweries race to open in 2011 in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Via Washington Post.
  • 2011.01.05
    The 10 best beers of 2010, according to Brookston Beer Bulletin.

  • Andy Carlsen & Our Side
  • 2011.01.04
    Mikkeller Brewery (Denmark) and Stillwater Artisinal Ales (Maryland) release a new hoppy saison with simultaneous cask tappings at 4 East Coast beer bars.
  • 2011.01.04
    Serious Eats makes the "counter-intuitive" case that beer and cheese mate better than wine with cheese.
  • 2011.01.04
    Dark, dunkel-style lagers: 'small' enough for a session; enough flavor to 'geek' on. Via New York Times.
  • 2011.01.04
    Update on fire at Trappiste Rochefort. Via beer writer Chuck Cook.
  • 2011.01.03
    Brewers Association re-defines a 'craft brewery' as, among other parameters, a brewery producing 6 million barrels of beer per year rather than the prior measure of 2 million.
  • 2011.01.03
    British brewer asks: "Why is there an inherent misunderstanding of the need for breweries to grow?"
  • 2011.01.03
    Top 80 albums of 2010, according to eMusic.com.
  • 2011.01.03
    Hard apple cider makes a comeback in Virginia. Via Richmond Times Dispatch.
  • 2011.01.01
    Historic Maryland Old Stein Inn suffers major damage in New Years Eve fire; no one hurt; plans to rebuild.

***************************
  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Beer Barrel Bushing

From the 1930s, a Peerless Manufacturing metal bushing for a tap, installed in a wooden beer barrel manufactured by Frank J. Hess & Sons Cooperage, which was in operation from 1933 through 1966, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Beer barrel fitting


Below is a photo of Gary Hess, grandson of the owner, displaying various of the company's tools and products.

Hess Cooperage


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Friday, January 07, 2011

The Session #47: Cooking with Beer [Beer Rice]

The Session #36: Cask-Conditioned Beer

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community begun by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer, and co-moderated with Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of each month, one blogger hosts The Session: Beer Blogging Friday, choosinga specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For more information and to host a Session, go to the archive page at
the Brookston Beer Bulletin

Here's how host David Jensen. author of blog Beer 47, announced the theme for The Session #47 - Cooking with Beer, for 7 January 2011:
We all know beer is great for drinking but what about using it as an ingredient in cooking? Wine is used as an ingredient for numerous dishes and recipes yet beer seems to be under utilized in cooking. However, with the rise in popularity of craft beer and advocacy from the likes of The Homebrew Chef, I think this trend is slowly changing. For the month of January, Beer 47 will be hosting The Session #47 and encouraging beer bloggers from all over the internet to discuss Cooking with Beer. ... Include other dishes besides (or in addition to) dessert, the reason being that we have already discussed Beer Desserts for The Session #30.

I'll jump right into it, with a recipe that I cook often. These ingredients ...

Ingredients for Beer Rice


... yield this result: Beer Rice.

Beer Rice


From prep to eat, it's no more than 60 minutes. Go here for the full recipe. Go here for the links to the participating bloggers.

And, yes, that's a Bud in my blog.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

VeggieDag Thursday: Twitter links

VeggieDag is an occasional Thursday post on vegetarian issues.
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Thursdays are also #VeggieDag on Twitter. Here are some recent links.
  • In the spirit of fitness for a New Year's resolution: Tips on vegetarian nutrition and fitness.
  • Kombucha: mother cultures and fermented sweet tea. Probiotic and tasty.
  • Neanderthals may not have been exclusively carnivores. New evidence shows that they cooked and ate plants and vegetables.
  • From VeganDad blog, a vegetarian 'holiday' menu.
  • No eggs or dairy needed. Author Kelly Peloza demonstrates how to bake vegan cookies.
  • A recipe for braised cabbage.[I substitute for the chicken stock with homemade veggie stock and 4 ounces porter ale.]
  • Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner in one hour, from vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
Kasvipasteija: Green Bean Paté (11)
Kasvipasteija: Green Bean Paté

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  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed!.
  • See prior VeggieDag posts.

East Coast Beer Dinner at The Light Horse, in Alexandria, Va.

I haven't guest hosted a beer dinner in a while, so I'm looking forward to this East Coast Beer Dinner at The Light Horse, in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, Tuesday evening, 11 January, at 7:30.

My interest might also lie in the beers and the menu! Here's what Chef David Testa has arranged:

Amuse bouche: Grilled Flatbreads
Flatbreads topped with caramelized Spanish onions and carrots with rich Danish bleu cheese.
Beer: Abita Andygator
From Abita Springs, Louisiana. An 8% abv pale bock.

Appetizer: Oysters Rockefeller
Local Dragon Creek oysters baked with spinach and cream topped with bread crumbs and grana padana cheese.
Beer: Stoudt's Pils
From Adamstown, Pennsylvania. German-style pilsner, 4.7% abv. Five-time winner at Great American Beer Festival.

1st Entrée: Butchers Secret Steak
Marinated Shoulder tender served with smoked swiss and shitake mushroom risotto cake, and accompanied by grilled asparagus.
Beer: Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
From Baltimore, Maryland. 7.25% abv American-style India Pale Ale (that is a strong hoppy pale ale, bittered and spiced with citrusy hops). Winner Maryland Governor's Cup, 3 years running.

2nd Entrée: Duck Breast
Seared Duck Breast with sweet potato mash and Swiss chard, topped with a pear demi-glaze.
Beer: Brooklyn Winter Ale
From Brooklyn, New York City. 6.1% abv malty ale.

Black Apple

Dessert: Apple Pie
Caramelized apple tartlettes
Beer: Allagash Black
From Portland, Maine. 7.5% abv Stout, fermented with a fruity Belgian yeast. Selected by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as its top beer for 2010.

In introducing each beer, I'll discuss strategies for pairing beer with food. Chef David has promised to "definitely put those taste buds to work."

Finishing touches: The Light Horse
The Light Horse under construction, November 2009.


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  • Photos from the dinner: here.
  • Caveat lector: As an employee of Select Wines, Inc., a beer & wine wholesaler in northern Virginia, I sell the beers of Abita, Allagash, Brooklyn, Heavy Seas, and Stoudt's.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Our Side: a 4-way firkin

There was a unique event yesterday evening at four beer bars along the the East Coast.

Firkin casks of Our Side —a hoppy saison, brewed collaborately by Maryland based Stillwater Artisinal Ales and Denmark based Mikkeller— were tapped, simultaneously, at 6pm ET, at Rattle and Hum (New York City), Maxs Taphouse (Baltimore, Maryland), Churchkey (Washington, D.C.), and Rustico Ballston (Arlington, Virginia).

Andy Carlsen & Our Side


From the label of the yet-to-be-released bottles:

Mikkel and Brian are two of the world’s most unconventional brewers. By designing beers at various breweries around the globe, they have found the freedom to experiment and innovate, resulting in unique beers that often blur the lines of definition. After having met at a festival in Bodegraven, NL the two realized that their first creations both were called Stateside. It was then an obvious decision to make the two recipes into a new product, packed full of piney, resinous hops, and backed by the esters of a farmhouse yeast strain.


Information courtesy of Beer in Baltimore.

I was at the Virginia tapping, where Our Side, fresh in my tulip glass, tasted as if I were taking a bite out of a fresh peach, with a refreshingly bitter tang at the end. Delicious.

Our Side pour


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Both Stillwater and Mikkeller refer to themselves as 'gypsy' breweries, that is, contract breweries by a more romantic name. Neither own their own brewing equipment, but brew their beers at existing breweries, paying for time and materials.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Clamps & Gaskets: Roundup for 2010 Week 52

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A non-comprehensive roundup of the week's
(the last of year 2010)
news of beer and other things.

Week 52
26 December 2010 - 31 December 2010

  • 2010.12.31
    The legislative battle over the serving size of a drink ... and how many calories are in it. Via Washington Post.
  • 2010.12.31
    2010: The year Facebook dethroned Google as king of the web. Via Mashable.
  • 2010.12.31
    The Year 2010 in literary Twitter. Via The Guardian.

  • Snag and shag
  • 2010.12.31
    Flickr users post their best photo of 2010.
  • 2010.12.31
    A brief recap of the year in Virginia wine: 2010 was (mostly) a good vintage. http://bit.ly/huJYTa
  • 2010.12.30
    Vintage: a documentary on Virginia wine. Reviewed by Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post.
  • 2010.12.30
    Kombucha rediscovered: fermented sweet tea. Probiotic and tangy.
  • 2010.12.30
    Contrary to prior supposition, new research shows that Neanderthals cooked and ate plants and vegetables, not solely meat. Via BBC.
  • 2010.12.30
    Imbibe Magazine reports that the flavor complexity of rye in beer outweighs the difficulties of using it in the brewhouse.
  • 2010.12.30
    Fire at Rochefort in Belgium —one of only a handful of extant Trappist-order monastery breweries— halts production for several days. No injuries reported.
  • 2010.12.30
    Dr. Billy Taylor —pianist and jazz 'ambassador' and educator —has died. An appreciation at New York Times
  • 2010.12.29
    Scientists sequence theobroma cacao genome. Plans underway to create 'better' chocolate.

  • Owne Ogletree
  • 2010.12.29
    Birthday in beer: Owen Ogletree, Georgia beer festival organizer and real ale educator. http://www.classiccitybrew.com/
  • 2010.12.29
    FCC's new net-neutrality rules: not so good for web users.
  • 2010.12.28
    Bison Brewing: One brewery's wishlist blueprint for a 'green', urban brewery.
  • 2010.12.28
    Beer blogger Jeff Alworth announces winners of 2010 DMS Awards (Dismal Malty Substances) for the year's worst accomplishments in beer.
  • 2010.12.27
    Washington City Paper reports that "The Tavern Formerly Known as Brickskeller" will reopen, with new owners, on 29 December 2010, but known as Bier Baron.

  • Spring afternoon tipple
  • 2010.12.26
    Sierra Nevada Brewing named the 'Green' Business of the Year by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • 2010.12.26
    World's largest winery holding company, Constellation Brands, selss its Australian, UK, and South Africa wineries for major loss. Via Decanter Magazine.

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  • Clamps and Gaskets is a weekly wrap-up of stories  not posted at Yours For Good Fermentables.com. Most deal with beer (or wine, or whisky); some do not. But all are brief, and many are re-posts from my Twitter account: twitter.com/cizauskas.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: A Pint of Plain for the New Year

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night -
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt -
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.


Porter just right


When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare -
A pint of plain is your only man.

In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life -
A pint of plain is your only man.

--Flann O'Brien

To all my readers: 

Throughout 2011, 
a wish for your health and happiness,
and for good fermentables in your glass.


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  • See photos submitted by amateur photographers worldwide as their best shots of 2010. On Flickr.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on Saturdays, and often of a 'good fermentable' as subject.