Sunday, June 21, 2009

ACBF Recap

ACBF 2009 was a success! Being the second year of it's existance (I think) I was impressed. It has definitely gotten more crowded as people get word of how good it is and how fun beer festivals are. The crowd was definitely tame and the beers were excellent. I had originally set out with my list of beers that I didn't want to leave without trying. Unfortunately, I only ended up having 7 of the 13. 3 of them were not even on tap on Friday night (that was upseting) so I only missed 3 really. The line at Allagash was huge. It went from their booth all the way accross the middle of the venue, so I thought I would skip it. I'll just have to trust that it's good and buy it!!

One thing I did notice that was different this year was the lack of head brewers. No Sam Calagione, Garrett Oliver, Drew Brosseau (Mayflower and local favorite beer of mine). I did spot Hugh Sisson (Clipper City) walking around grabbing some samples himself which was pretty cool. Not that I base my experience on celebrity brewer sightings, but it's always cool.

Tow things that were vastly improved upon, and not as important as the beer but still importants, was the food and bathroom situation. Last years lines were ridiculous for both and the porto Johns inside made the whole place smell like crap...litterally! They put the porto's outside this year and they had 2 food stations and multiple cashiers which made it quick and easy to grab some grub!

On the the beers. I am becoming a huge Sixpoint Fan. I was hooked on their Hop Obama last summer, then this winter was introduced to the Sweet Action. This time around I had the Bengali Tiger and I was amazed. It is an old english style IPA with a big malty backbone and a huge hop presence. Perfectly balanced and only having 2 oz.'s made me want more.....lots more! This was by far my favorite beer of the night.

I was however not a fan of the Watermellon Wheat from 21's amendment. This is by no means a knock on 21st Amendment, but I just don't like the watermellon beer combo. Not sure why since I love both by themselves. I noticed this year there was a large amount of American Wheat beers with fruit. I'm not sure if this is the latest push to try and get more women into craft beer but it was noticable. Some of them were very good (Saranac Pomegranite Wheat) and others weren't.

I'd love to hear your experiences if you attended either of the 3 sessions. I know Brew Dudes went Friday as well and Rob went Saturday night so I'm sure he'll be posting as well. Can't wait to read them.



Friday, June 19, 2009

ACBF update 4

Kennebec River Brewery continues to please. I rafted there last year and enjoyed there summer ale and tonight its awesome.

ACBF update 3

Morimoto from Rogue is amazing. I will definitely buy this in the future

ACBF update 2

the beer here tonight is awesome. Just had a Hazed & Infuzed and it was great. And.....we had a pseudo Brett Michaels siting! I will try to get a pic!



ACBF Update

So far so good! I've noticed that this year is A LOT more crowded than last, but the beer lines are moving quick. I've been able to hit most of the brewers but some didn't bring some of the beers as advertised. Oh well, I'm still having fun and drinking some great beer. The best one yet was Sixpoints Bengali tiger! Absolutely amazing beer!


American Craft Beer Fest

Tonight is the first night of ACBF.  I'll be heading in with a few friends to enjoy some of the best craft brewed beers in the world!  There are 75 brewers attending pouring over 300 different beers.  I have my list of beers I'd like to get to.  I have 14 beers on my list that I don't want to leave without trying, in no particular order (but yes, I have mapped them out so I can get to them easily)!!
Midas Touch - Dogfish Head
Watermelon Wheat - 21st Amendment
Cuvee de Cardoz - Brooklyn Brewery
Hazed and Infused - Boulder Beer Co.
Oak Aged Never Summer - Boulder Beer Co.
Flashback Anniversary Ale - Boulder Beer Co.
Morimoto Soba Ale - Rogue
Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale - Sierra Nevada
Bengali Tiger - Sixpoint
Confluence - Allagash
Oak Aged Mad Hatter - New Holland
Toasted Brown Ale - John Harvard's Cambridge
Jack D'Or - Pretty Things Beer and Ale
The only one of these I've had before is the Sierra Nevada, but it's such a good beer that I want more.  I chose these because either I've never had a beer from the brewer, or had the beer.  Sixpoint is my new interest.  I've written about their Sweet Action and they continue to impress me.  We shall see!  I might try to post a few from the fest, but don't quote me on it.  I'll definitely post a recap though!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wedding Brew and Benmarl Winery

This weekend was the weekend where I served my Newest American Pale Ale, aka CrystALE recipe, at my friend's Kate and Shaun's wedding which was at the beautiful Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, NY. The weekend was awesome. We spent a lot of time at the winery, setting up for the wedding, the rehearsal and then for the actual ceremony and reception. We didn't get an official tour, but I took it upon myself to nose around a bit and check it out. The wine cellar was my favorite. There were stacks of full barrels, a "Vintage" room filled with bottles from the 50's and 60's and then through the barrels there was the fermentors, bottling line and label station. I could begin to see the start of my brewery with all the fermentation equipment and barrels around. I was in heaven.

My biggest excitement came on the actual wedding day. I had brewed 4 cases of my beer for the reception. All 4 cases were gone by the end of the cocktail hour (actually more like an hour 40). I was extremely happy, and slightly bummed I didn't make more. All night I had people approaching me telling how awesome my beer was. My sister-in-law, who is a graphic designer, helped to make the labels which were also a huge hit. We didn't' start making the labels until Wednesday and they had to be done on Thursday, so needless to say it was rushed......which would be why I missed spelled "bottled". Oh well, It was a gratifying experience nonetheless. One of the guests was actually a brewery at the Barrington Brewery & Restaurant in Great Barrington, MA. I spoke with him for a while about the beer, brewing as a profession and other things and the one thing I remember fondly was the constructive criticism he gave. He was very impressed with the beer and though it was a very marketable beer. He also though there was a hint of an off flavor in the finish of the beer, but couldn't detect what it was exactly. I had hoped I could have had more so I could have reviewed it again myself, but I guess I could have worse problems.


Self Distributing States

I was doing a little research on states that allow self distribution by brewers and I found some good information on the Brewers Association website which was very helpful.  But the list they gave wasn't enough....I wanted a cool way to display it........maybe on a map.  Then, I stumble upon this site, which allows you to make customized maps with whatever information you want!  VERY COOL!  So, as you can imagine....I created a map called "Self Distributing States".  Hopefully this is helpful to people doing research on distribution options.  If not, hopefully you can have fun playing with maps!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beer Taxes

I've been reading a lot of blog posts and articles online lately (here, here and here) that have to do with the issue of beer excise tax and the governments proposal to raise it. Like the authors of these posts, I strongly disagree with the notion of raising the beer excise tax.

I have two views on this issue, first as a beer consumer. I think it is ludicrous that I, as a beer drinker, should be taxed strictly because I enjoy beer. This is unfair to me as a consumer and I personally think that if the government needs to raise taxes on something in order to generate additional revenue (to supplement all their spending), shouldn't all American's share this burden? A fair way to raise taxes would be for income tax to be raised which effects everyone and doesn't force beer drinkers to pay for our "sins". Although, it's my opinion that in this economy taxes shouldn't be raised in the first place.

Second, as someone who is working towards owning a brewery, I try to look at this from the brewers perspective. Lets say you were a small independent craft brewer. You have steady sales, but in this economic climate, things just haven't taken off. Then, you get hit with an additional excise tax on the beer you produce. This additional cost can not be absorbed by your business and you are forced to pass that cost on to your consumers. Some consumers see this price hike and go shopping for alternative beers to yours, thus decreasing your sales even further ultimately forcing you out of business. I have a hard time looking at this scenario and saying "it is what it is".

In the comments of Lew's post, he got into a deeper discussion on this issue and put it as plain as it can be!

"Are you telling me that if the government taxed, what, bacon that would be okay as long as people kept eating it and paying the tax? A tax on beer makes no more sense than a tax on bacon. So why tax bacon or beer?"

On another note, there is a great article (pdf format) from the Tax Foundation on the effect of cross border sales of beer due to sales and beer excise tax. I got it from J's blog. It's a long read, but very interesting. Enjoy!