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Brewers Association Scherer Award Given to New Belgium’s Bouckaert

New Belgian brewmaster Peter Bouckaert wins Scherer Award.

New Belgium’s Peter Bouckaert wins Scherer Award.

The Brewers Association, the trade group representing America’s independent brewers, gave its 2013 Russell Scherer Award for Innovation in Brewing to Peter Bouckaert, brewmaster at New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Co.

The award, presented March 27 at the BA’s annual Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C. was first given in 1997 to honor Russell Scherer, who died in 1996 at 38 years old. A creative force in brewing in the nineties, Schehrer was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co. He was also one of the first brewers to produce mead, doppel alt, cream stout and chili beer.

Dick Cantwell, head brewer and co-owner of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, in presenting the award noted that Bouchaert has been experimenting with fermentation techniques and unusual ingredients, and cited New Belgian’s La Foliie sour beer.

Bouckaert joined New Belgium in 1996 after 10 years at Belgium’s Rodenbach Brewery, known for its sour beers . He studied brewing at Hogeschool Gent.

“Who am I to stand here? I have an amazing bunch of co-workers,” Bouckaert said in accepting the award. Bouckaert, a native of Belgium, said the United States “is the most inventive country in beer.”

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Grätzer and Adambier new to Brewers Association’s Beer Style Guidelines

New beer style guidelines issued by the Brewers Association take note of two once-extinct beer styles, Adambier and  Grätzer, which have been revived by American craft brewers. The trade group also made technical adjustments to the guidelines, often used in beer competitions.

Have you had a Grätzer lately?  How about an Adambier?

These hard-to-find beers are the newest additions to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association list of Beer Style Guildlines.

The 2013 guidelines, released March 4, define 142 styles of beer, up from 140 in 2012.  The first guidelines were issued in 1979.

The new additions, says Chris Swersey, the association’s technical brewing projects coordinator and competition manager, reflect feedback that the trade group received from brewers, beer competition judges and beer aficionados—and, to a large measure, Brewers Association founder and president Charlie Papazian, who has the final say on what’s in and what’s out. The 2013 version incorporates more than 100 suggestions from the U.S. and abroad.

Both Adambier and Grätzer are historic pre-Reinheitsgebot styles that are making a slow revival among U.S. and international brewers. Adambier and Grätzer are historically smoky ales, with the former thriving in and around Dortmund, Germany.

Grätzer, also indigenous to Poland, where it was known as grodziskie, is a sour wheat ale brewed with smoked malt. Until it was revived in the U.S. it had been a largely extinct style not made commercially since the 1990s. The guidelines note: “The distinctive character comes from at least 50 percent  oak wood smoked wheat malt with a percentage of barley malt optional. The overall balance is a balanced and sessionably low to medium assertively oak-smoky malt emphasized beer. It has a low to medium low hop bitterness; none or very low European noble hop flavor and aroma.”

“Last year, two Grätzers were entered at the Great American Beer Festival,” Swersey said, noting that craft brewers tend to be ahead of the association in terms of defining styles.

Label for Vlad the Inhaler, Blind Bat Brewery's grodziskie, a smoked wheat ale

Label for Vlad the Inhaler, Blind Bat Brewery’s grodziskie, a smoked wheat ale

On Long Island, Blind Bat Brewery, a nano brewery in Centerport, produces a smoky, lemony version in the Polish style that it calls Vlad the Inhaler.  It’s a hazy golden brew with a dense white head. But that’s where the similarity to a wheat beer ends.  Vlad’s nose is autumn leaves burning and on the palate the smokiness melds with a tart sour character.

Paul Dlugokencky, owner of Blind Bat, said, ?I’m glad the style is being officially recognized and getting some attention. I’ve been brewing the Grodziskie at least since 2008, and always have had to explain it to people. But, he added that he would’ve preferred that the style be called by the original Polish, Grodziskie, rather than the German Grätzer. “The Polish have at least this one beer style; the Germans have created enough on their own. The Poles created this style. The Germans moved in and appropriated it, along with everything else they took and renamed.”

Deschutes Brewery, of Bend, Ore., once brewed a Grätzer and Burnside Brewing Co. of Portland, Ore., offers Grätzer as a seasonal brew. Choc Beer Co. of Krebs, Okla., also brews a Grätzer.

In Germany, Weyermann Versuchsbrauerei, an experimental brewery in Bamberg, Bavaria, affiliated with the maltster, offers a limited-distribution Weyermann Polnisches Grätzer Bier.

And what’s an Adambier? According to the guidelines:  “It is originally a style from Dortmund.

Adambier is a strong, dark, hoppy, sour ale extensively aged in wood barrels.”

Label for Hair of the Dog Brewing's Adam.

Label for Hair of the Dog Brewing’s Adam.

There appears to be only one commercial example of an Adambier. That’s Adam, produced by Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. in Portland, Ore.,

Swersey says the interest among craft brewers worldwide in reviving old European styles may be just beginning. “It’s an intriguing proposition,” he says, noting that many brewers have no context with which to judge their beer—a situation reminiscent of the 1980’s and 1990s when brewers were introduced to never-before-heard of beer styles by the late Michael Jackson.

He noted that another emerging style, one not listed in the new guidelines, white India Pale Ale, is also in a way a throwback to the 1900s, when English brewers made IPAs with pale malts. He noted that Stone Brewing brewmaster Mitch Steele, who wrote the book on IPAs, will discuss historic IPA styles at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C., later in March.

Other guideline changes include new advice about for American wheat ale, reflecting a growing trend in the craft brewing and homebrewing communities by which all-wheat grists are used in the brewing process.

The association’s new guidelines also focus on the descriptive text used to judge beers. The guidelines now focus first on appearance, aroma, flavor and finish, in that order. They also include vital statistics on each of the 142 styles including ranges for: original gravity/plato; apparent extract/final gravity; alcohol by weight/volume; bitterness and color.

“These guidelines are first and foremost an educational tool, but they also help to illustrate the United States’ role as a leading beer nation,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association. “The Brewers Association toasts America’s small and independent brewers, including home brewing enthusiasts, who continue to push the evolution of style guidelines with their innovative brewing and ingredients.”


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NYC to host Brewers Association’s SAVOR craft beer, food pairing event

View of Savor 2012 in Washington, DC.

The American Brewers Association, the Boulder, Colo.-based craft beer industry’s trade association, is moving its annual craft beer and food pairing event to New York City in 2013, but for one year only.

The event, called Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, will be held June 14 and 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion and the adjoining Altman Building, event spaces on West 18th Street in Manhattan. The event typically includes a general tasting and a variety of smaller tasting salons for additional cost.

“Moving Savor to New York City, the culinary capital of the world, in 2013 is an incredible opportunity to showcase craft beer from a diverse sampling of small U.S. producers who have helped shift the perception of beer from something predictable and homogenized into the dynamic, flavorful, food-friendly beverage it is recognized as today,” said Brewers Association chairman and Dogfish Head Brewery owner Sam Calagione.

Savor had been held in Washington, DC, for the past five years and will return there in 2014, the group said.

The event, described by the group as an “intimate and engaging reception, with a menu carefully designed by Brewers Association culinary consultant Adam Dulye, chef/owner of The Monk’s Kettle and The Abbot’s Cellar in San Francisco,” will feature craft brews from around the nation selected by lottery.  Guests will be served by the notable personalities behind the craft beer brands and have an opportunity to interact with them during private tastings throughout the two nights.

Brewers Association chair Sam Calagione

“Part of our mission as a national, industry association is to promote small and independent craft brewers and their craft brewed beers to audiences around the country,” Calagione added. “Craft brewers, beer lovers and foodies who attend Savor contribute to a historic localization of beer and a shift in the culinary arts world.”

Tickets for Savor go on sale to the public April 17, 2013. A ticket pre-sale exclusively for members of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association will take place April 16. Ticket prices have not been announced. Last year, general admission tickets, $120 each, sold out quickly via Ticketmaster. Each salon ticket was priced at $30.


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Mark your calendar for the GABF, other beer festivals in NYC, NJ, Long Island

The Great American Beer Festival, the granddaddy of American beer festivals, enters its fourth decade when the doors to Denver’s Colorado Convention Center on Oct. 11.

The three-day event, which this year is expected to draw almost 50,000 attendees, brings together brewers and enthusiasts. Hundreds of brewers will be serving up samples of some 2,400 different beers from across the country. It’s a must visit for any beer enthusiast.

The big show, presented by the Brewers Association, the industry’s trade group, also includes the nation’s top beer competition, where gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in 84 beer style categories. The awards are among the most coveted in the industry. 

Tickets go on sale for members of the Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association on July 31, while the general public can obtain tickets beginning Aug. 2. Tickets are available online.

The GABF isn’t the only beer fest on the calendar.  Various festivals are planned in the near future for New York City and Long Island.

Edible Manhattan magazine is sponsoring Good Beer, on July 31, 6-9 pm. at 82 Mercer St., an event space. Pours from 30 breweries and eats from 30 top New York City restaurants will be available. Tickets are $55 for everything.

And on Long Island, the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival returns to Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead on Aug. 11. The North Fork event, which takes place under a tent close to the vines, showcases the brews of more than 50 craft brewers, wines from Long Island wineries and barbecue and serves as a fundraiser for the Beer For Brains Foundation and the Kent Animal Shelter.

The North Fork fest, produced by Starfish Junction, which also produces a beer expo at the Nassau Coliseum, runs from 2-6 p.m. for the general public. Tickets are $55 plus tax per person in advance ($70 at the gate). VIP tickets, which include an extra hour of sampling, are sold out. Designated driver tickets are available for $15 plus tax.

Also on Long Island, is Beerfields, a beer and music festival on Sept. 8, 2-5 pm., at the Brookhaven Amphitheater in Farmingville. So far, 30 breweries have signed on and another 10 are expected to join in. Tickets, which start at $55, are available through Ticketmaster. For information call (631) 648-2500.

On the other side of the Hudson, Rock Hops, a beer and music festival celebrating grass roots Americana, music and craft beer, takes place Aug. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in  Mercer County Park in West Windsor, N.J. About 30 craft breweries are participating with brews selected by my beer-writing colleague, John Holl, and John Kleinchester, founder of Beertography.com. An all-day pass is $35, but does not include beer, which must be purchased separately. A connoisseur VIP package that includes both beer and music from 3:30-6 p.m. is available for $65. Tickets are available at Ticketfly.

Hope you can make one — or all.

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Boston Beer tops craft brewer rankings

Who was America’s biggest craft brewer in 2011?

No surprise, according to the latest rankings from the Brewers Association of Boulder, CO. The answer: Boston Beer Co.

The Brewers Association. a not-for-profit trade group for U.S. breweries, today released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on 2011 beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 36 are small and independent¹ craft brewing companies.

Long Island’s Blue Point Brewery ranked No. 34 among craft brewers and No. 46 overall.

The association, however, listed no statistical data with its rankings, but did say that the ranking was based on beer sales volume.

Boston Beer, brewers of Samuel Adams, was followed in order by Sierra NevadaNew Belgium, The Grambrinus Co., of Texas, and Deschutes Brewery, of Oregon.

“In the last 15 years, craft brewing has gone from one percent of the overall beer market to almost six percent in 2011,” Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, said in a press release. “We attribute a large part of that growth to the many talented brewers who are providing beer lovers with more beer style and flavor choices than ever before.”

The Brewers Association defines an American craft brewer as small, with production of less than 6 million barrels; independent (less than 25 percent owned by another producer of alcoholic beverages), and traditional, with either an all malt flagship or has at least 50 percent of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

Boston Beer also ranked as America’s No. 5 overall brewery–behind  Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Pabst and Yuengling.

Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies
(Based on 2011 beer sales volume)

1.  Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams)

2.   Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3. New Belgium Brewing Co.

4. The Gambrinus Company (Shiner, Bridgeport, Trumer Pils)

5.   Deschutes Brewery

6.  Matt Brewing Co. (Saranac)

7. Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

8. Harpoon Brewery

9. Lagunitas Brewing Co.

10. Boulevard Brewing Co.

11. Stone Brewing Company

12. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

13. Brooklyn Brewery

14. Alaskan Brewing & Bottling Co.

15. Long Trail Brewing Co.

16. Shipyard Brewing Co.

17. Abita Brewing Co.

18. Great Lakes Brewing Co.

19. New Glarus Brewing Co.

20. Full Sail Brewing Co.

21. Summit Brewing Co.

22. Anchor Brewing Co.

23. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

24.  Sweetwater Brewing Co.

25. Rogue Ales Brewery

26. Flying Dog Brewery

27.  Victory Brewing Co.

28. CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants

29. Oskar Blues Brewery

30. Odell Brewing Co.

31. Stevens Point Brewery Co.

32. Ninkasi Brewing Co.

33. BJ’s Chicago Pizza & Brewery, Inc.

34. Blue Point Brewing Co.

35. Bear Republic Brewing Co.

36.  Lost Coast Brewery Cafe

37. Big Sky Brewing Co.

38. North Coast Brewing Co. Inc.

39. Saint Louis Brewery, Inc./Schlafly Bottleworks

40. Gordon Biersch Brewing Co.

41 Breckenridge Brewery

42 Founders Brewing Co.

43 Saint Arnold Brewing Co.

44 Karl Strauss Brewing Co.

45. Real Ale Brewing Co.

46. Mac and Jack’s Brewery Inc.

47. Smuttynose Brewing Co.

48. Utah Brewers Cooperative (Wasatch, Squatters_

49. Left Hand Brewing Co.

50.  Anderson Valley Brewing Co. (tie)

Four Peaks Brewing Co. (tie)


Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies 

1 Anheuser-Busch Inc. (Includes Bass, Beck’s, Busch, Goose Is, Landshark, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Shock Top, Wild Blue)

2 MillerCoors ( includes A.C. Golden, Batch 19, Blue Moon, Colorado Native, Herman Joseph, Keystone, Killian’s and Leinenkugel’s)

3. Pabst Brewing Co.  (Schlitz and 28 other brand families)

4. D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc.

5. Boston Beer Co.

6.North American Breweries (Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic Hat and Pyramid)

7. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

8. New Belgium Brewing Co.

9. Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc. (Kona, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers)

10. The Gambrinus Company (BridgePort, Shiner and Trumer)

11. Deschutes Brewery

12. Matt Brewing Co. (Includes Saranac, Flying Bison)

13. Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

14.Minhas Craft Brewery (Huber,  Mountain Crest and 9 other brand)

15. Harpoon Brewery

16. Lagunitas Brewing Co.

17. Boulevard Brewing Co.

18. Stone Brewing Co.

19. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

20. Brooklyn Brewery

21. Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Co.

22. Long Trail Brewing Co.

23. August Schell Brewing Co. (includes Grain Belt)

24. Shipyard Brewing Co.

25. Abita Brewing Co.

26. World Brews/Winery Exchange (private labels)

27. Great Lakes Brewing Co.

28. New Glarus Brewing Co.

29. Full Sail Brewing Co.

30. Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

31. Summit Brewing Co.

32. Anchor Brewing Co.

33. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

34. Cold Spring Brewing Co. (Gluek and 17 other brand families)

35. Sweetwater Brewing Co.

36. Rogue Ales Brewery

37. Mendocino Brewing Co. (includes Butte Creek, Kingfisher and Olde Saratoga)

38. Flying Dog Brewery

39.Victory Brewing Co.

40. CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants (A1A, Big River, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Ragtime and Seven Bridges brewpubs)

41. Oskar Blues Brewery & Tasty Weasel Tap Room

42. Odell Brewing Co.

43. Stevens Point Brewery Co. (includes James Page and Whole Hog brands)

44. Ninkasi Brewing Co.

45. BJ’s Chicago Pizza & Brewery

46. Blue Point Brewing Co.

47. Bear Republic Brewing Co.

48. Goose Island Brewing Co. (sold in 2011 in Anheuser-Busch)

49. Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe

50. Narragansett Brewing Co.

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