• 5 Cardinal Sins of Craft Beer Service

    devil-beer

    1. Improperly Maintained Draught Systems

    Hidden behind each and every tap handle are beer lines that require a specific cleaning routine to prevent microbes and minerals (beer stone) forming inside the lines. If you’re ever suspect, ask the manager or owner how often they clean their draught lines. If they don’t automatically answer “every two weeks,” there are likely issues.

     

    Common things that you as the beer drinker may notice include flat or sour beer and excessive foaming. Every beer bar should ensure this base is covered. Period. Bottom line. No excuses. Skirting draught line maintenance is comparable to a restaurant only sometimes washing the dishes.

     


    2. Dirty Glassware

    Speaking of dirty dishes, a customer should never be expected to drink from a glass that has residue from a previous customer or detergent. Dirty glassware is unfortunately a common and egregious oversight by many bar owners today.

     

    When a beer’s bubbles cling to the sides of your glass instead of rising to the top, they are most likely stuck on some sort of residue. These dirty spots on a glass are called nucleation sites and are usually attributed to food, detergent, oils and other contaminants, which give the carbonation bubbles something to cling to.

     

    If you see bubbles clinging to the sides of your glass, you have every right to ask for a new glass.

     

    How to Test for a Beer Clean Glass
    (Source: Brewers Association Draught Quality Manual)

     

    Lacing Test: Fill the glass with beer. If the glass is clean, foam will adhere to the inside of the glass in parallel rings after each sip, forming a lacing pattern. If not properly cleaned, foam will adhere in a random pattern, or not at all.

     

    Sheeting Test: Dip the glass in water. If the glass is clean, water evenly coats the glass when lifted out of the water. If the glass still has an invisible film, water will break up into droplets on the inside surface.

     

    Salt Test: Salt sprinkled on the interior of a wet glass will adhere evenly to the clean surface, but will not adhere to the parts that still contain a greasy film. Poorly cleaned glasses show an uneven distribution of salt.

     


    3. Warm Storage

    Craft beer should be treated like food and stored cold. When beer is stored cold, the production of undesirable off-flavors and oxidation is slowed. Oxidation can produce flavors like wet cardboard, metallic, honey, almonds or unintentional souring.

     


    4. Frozen Glassware

    Avoid retailers who serve craft beer in frozen glassware, or be sure to ask for a room temperature glass. Sure a frozen glass is seen as a fun ritual by some, but a ritual of the past does not mean it should carry on into the future. Think about it this way: Would a restaurant allow their chef to serve meat or fish that was stored open in the freezer with no protective packaging?

     

    Besides off-flavors reminiscent of the ice crystals from the sides of a freezer, the colder temperatures mask craft beer’s flavors and cause excessive foaming.

     


    5. Only Providing Wine Pairings

    Based on tradition, lack of beer pairings is semi-understandable if it’s a dedicated French restaurant, but that is about it. It’s high time beer education and pairing becomes mainstream in American restaurants. Talk to me in ten years; I hope beer pairings will be a no-brainer for most establishments.

     

    Wine is not the end-all, be-all to pairing. According to 2013 Gallup® data, beer accounts for 49.2 percent of the U.S. alcohol beverage market, compared to wine with 17.8 percent. Come on retailers and beverage educators, get with the beer times!

     

    See more craft beer stats in “Beer Remains America’s Preferred Alcoholic Beverage.”

     

    Bottom line: As a fan of craft beer, and in most cases a paying customer, you have the right to expect certain care be taken with the beverage you’re being served. Now, this does not mean you should ask every bartender and waiter you encounter about their draught line cleaning schedule…but if you do encounter a problem, politely bring it to the attention of the right person

    Source: http://www.craftbeer.com/

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Scott.  With Halloween around the corner, it’s good to see the Pumpkin Ales coming out.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/10/08/ellicott-mills-brewing-company-sleepy-hollow-ale/

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  • Craft Beer Industry Goes Flat During Government Shutdown

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    The federal government shutdown could leave America’s craft brewers with a serious hangover.

     

    Stores will still offer plenty of suds. But the shutdown has closed an obscure agency that quietly approves new breweries, recipes and labels, which could create huge delays throughout the rapidly growing craft industry, whose customers expect a constant supply of inventive and seasonal beers.

     

    Mike Brenner is trying to open a craft brewery in Milwaukee by December. His application to include a tasting room is now on hold, as are his plans to file paperwork for four labels over the next few weeks. He expects to lose about $8,000 for every month his opening is delayed.

     

    “My dream, this is six years in the making, is to open this brewery,” Brenner said. “I’ve been working so hard, and I find all these great investors. And now I can’t get started because people are fighting over this or that in Washington. … This is something people don’t mess around with. Even in a bad economy, people drink beer.”

     

    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, is a little-known arm of the Treasury Department. The agency will continue to process taxes from existing permit holders, but applications for anything new are in limbo.

     

    “One could think of this shutdown as basically stopping business indefinitely for anyone who didn’t have certain paperwork in place back in mid-August,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, which represents more than 1,900 U.S. breweries.

     

    A woman who answered the phone Oct. 2 at TTB’s headquarters in Washington abruptly hung up after explaining that the government was shut down. Assistant Administrator Cheri Mitchell did not respond to telephone or email messages.

     

    The shutdown began Oct. 1 after a group of House Republican lawmakers blocked a budget deal in a last-ditch effort to stop funding for President Barack Obama’s health care law.

     

    The closing isn’t expected to have much effect on industry giants such as MillerCoors or Anheuser-Busch. They can continue to produce existing products as usual. But the shutdown poses a huge problem for craft brewers, who build their businesses by producing quirky, offbeat flavors and introducing new seasonal beers, sometimes as often as every quarter.

     

    Craft brewers around the country say TTB was taking as long as 75 days to approve applications before the shutdown. Now they’re bracing for even longer waits. And tempers are flaring.

     

    Tony Magee, owner of Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma, Calif., posted messages on his Twitter account this week ripping the shutdown.

     

    “(Expletive) Feds are gonna shut down the already incompetent .Gov while hundreds of small breweries, including us, have labels pending. Nice.” That was followed with “Wanna regulate? Perform or get out of the way.”

     

    Lagunitas Chief Operating Officer Todd Stevenson called the TTB shutdown a “headache.” He said the company was planning to submit an application to package its autumn seasonal Hairy Eyeball in 22-ounce bottles instead of 12-ounce bottles but can’t move forward.

     

    “It’s just aggravating,” Stevenson said. “It is frustrating that government can’t do its job. Doing what they’re doing now is unprecedented.”

     

    Bryan Simpson, a spokesman for New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo., said his brewery has three recipes and five new labels awaiting approval. The company is especially worried that the release of its new spring label, Spring Blonde, could get pushed back. More delays might force New Belgium to shell out extra money to speed up the label printing and rush the beer to market, he said.

     

    “Everybody is frustrated in general,” Simpson said. “The whole way this has played out has been disappointing for the entire country.”

     

    Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee has applications pending for new packaging of its IBA dark ale and for permission to offer a sour cherry dark lager called John, a brewery employee’s own concoction.

     

    The brewery hopes to launch the IBA packaging in November and John in December, but nothing is certain now. If the shutdown causes delays, the brewery will probably have to rush the beers to market, said brewery spokesman Matt Krajnak.

     

    “If we lose that first month, we lose out on a good chunk of money,” Krajnak said. “Right now, it’s only been a week so it’s not too bad. Two weeks, three weeks is when we’re really going to start sweating here.”

     

    Brenner said politicians don’t seem to care how much damage they’re causing.

     

    “For them it’s just another day,” he said. “They are still getting paid, but I’m losing $8,000 a month.”

    Source: http://money.msn.com/

  • Ellicott Mills Brewing Company Crab Soup Contest

    The annual crab soup contest at Ellicott Mills Brewing Company was a great success in good fun and raising money for a local charity.  There were 6 contestants, with 2 types of soup being tasted (traditional Maryland crab soup and cream of crab soup).

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is .  This the season for some pumpkin ales.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/10/06/schafly-pumpkin-ale/

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  • This Glass Lets You Drink Two Different Beers at the Same Time

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    Move over black and tan, there’s a new way to drink two beers at the same time.

    In a move part Escher, part why-didn’t-we-think-of-that, comes the Dual Beer Glass. Crafted by Matthew Cummings of The Pretentious Beer Glass Company (gotta love the honesty), the cylindrical beer glass houses two separate chambers that meet at the lip. This clever design allows amateur bartenders to pour the perfect Half and Half, eliminating the need for a bar spoon to prevent the two beers from blending.

     

    This opens up a whole avenue of possible brew combinations, even with those of similar viscosity. The design also allows you to simultaneously smell both beers, rather than just the predominating aroma that settles on top. Each glass measure approximately 5-6″ tall and 3″ wide, holding a total of 10-12 oz. As an ex-bartender whose mussed up my fair share of Black and Tans and (shudder) Cotton Candies, aka raspberry cider and hefeweizen, this utilitarian glassware has definitely got my interest piqued.

     

    Dual Beer Glass, $35 @The Pretentious Beer Glass PicThx The Pretentious Beer Glass

    Source: http://foodbeast.com via Husar

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Husar.  Black and white with a skull sounds like a winner to me.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/09/28/confluence-brewing-thomas-beck-black-ipa/

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  • Lagunitas Brewing Company Skunk Train Trip

    My wife Kel recently won a trip to go to CA to visit with Lagunitas Brewing Company and join them for a weekend of camping fun and a ride on the Skunk Train.  The trip was a lot of fun, and here are the pictures, and the tale, from the trip.

  • We’re Changing Our Name

    If you’re a regular reader of this site you know that we have been Indy Beers for a long time.  While I have always loved that name, too often when I talked about the site with others I would have to spell the site (it’s not Indie, Indi, Inde, etc.) and explain the concept of the site (it’s not about Indianapolis, it’s about promoting independent beers).

    Recently I went on a trip to CA to the Lagunitas Brewery for a trip on the Skunk train.  It was a weekend gig, and lots of fellow beer drinkers were around.  I was asked several times where I was going to post the pictures I was taking.  After having to spell the name and explain the purpose of site too many times, I just start saying Independent Beers instead of Indy Beers.  No need to spell it, and it seems everyone understood what the site was about.

    We have owned both domain names since day 1, and both names will continue to point to this site, but from now on, we are Independent Beers.  Of course, you can always call us Indy Beers if you want.

    –Scott
    Beer drinker, beer lover.

  • Beerporn: Editor’s Choice

    Tuesday is Editor’s Choice award day on http://hashtagbeerporn.com.  We are giving out an Editor’s Choice Award each week to the picture we think best represents beerporn during that week.  As an ongoing feature on Indy Beers each week I’ll be posting the Editor’s Choice winner from #Beerporn.  Remember, anyone can join and post pictures of beer to http://hashtagbeerporn.com.

    This week’s winner is Scott.  With Fall here, it’s time for some Fall beers.

    http://hashtagbeerporn.com/2013/09/22/weihenstephaner-oktoberfestbier/

    SavedPicture-201392211599

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