Zillicoah Beer Company will open this Fall in Woodfin, NC. Focusing on fermentation, they will offer a mix of lagers and sour beers.
Heading into the third weekend of NC Beer Month, we are carried by the momentum of last week’s World Beer Cup in Denver. North Carolina breweries were awarded 8 medals, including a Gold to Asheville Brewing for Ninja Porter and a bronze to Wicked Weed for their Tyrant Double Red IPA. NoDa Brewing of Charlotte beat out 222 other IPAs to take Gold for their Hop Drop ‘n Roll in the most competitive contest of the event.
Other North Carolina winners include:
White Street Brewing -- Gold – Kölsch (Köln or Kölsch style Ale)
Mother Earth Brewing – Bronze – Endless River (Köln or Kölsch style Ale)
Outerbanks Brewing Station – Gold – Meyerbock (Heller Bock/ Maibock)
Olde Hickory Brewing – Silver – Irish Walker (Strong Ale or Old Ale)
This competition had over 1400 breweries from 58 countries competing in 94 different categories. The success of North Carolina’s small breweries helps explain why there is so much local pride surrounding beer. These brewers deserve it.
And what better way to show your support of NC brewers than by going out and buying some beer! Two events really stand out this week in the Asheville area, and I hope everyone has the chance to get out to both.
Sharpen the Blade Saison Fest
Friday April 18th: 4pm- 10pm
Burial Beer is hosting the first Saison Fest in Asheville. Saisons are a style that originated in Southern Belgium and were first brewed by farmers as partial payment to their seasonal workers. The beers had to be high enough in alcohol to stay fresh from early spring to late summer, but they had to be thirst quenching enough to be desirable after a hard day working the fields. Every farmer brewed theirs a little bit differently based on what was available, and that freedom of expression is what drives modern day brewers of the style. Saison Fest will have examples from 15 NC breweries on offer this Friday. There is no admission charge, just buy the beer by the glass and enjoy. The best news is that Spring should be back in town by this weekend, so you shouldn’t need your coat.
Highland Brewing 20th Anniversary Plaid Party
Saturday April 19th: 4pm-9pm (Doors at 2)
Highland Brewing is celebrating 20 years this month, and they are offering a series of limited release beers to commemorate. Highland is the brewery that started the modern day craft scene in Asheville, and they remain the largest locally owned brewery in Western North Carolina. Show some support to these pioneers by heading out to the tasting room this Saturday to try beers that you haven’t had and won’t have the opportunity to try again. “Celtic Ale” the original name and recipe for Gaelic, a 20th Anniversary Scotch Ale, and two “NC only” beers including a lager and a Belgian Ale will be poured along with Highland’s usual line-up and other small batch beers. Live music, food trucks and to-go bottle sales round out the afternoon. They are asking that people carpool when possible, as parking is limited.
Soccer fans rejoice! Hi-Wire Brewing has been opening early on Saturdays throughout the season, and they will continue to do so. Here's the upcoming schedule from the press release:
New Belgium Brewing, America’s third largest craft brewery will break ground in early May on their East Coast brewery outside of Asheville.
News about an FDA proposal to control animal feed is making small brewers and small farmers nervous. Both would experience increased costs of operation if this proposal goes through. Fortunately, it is open to public comment until March 31st.
Brewing uses a lot of barley. Barley is a cereal grain rich in protein and carbohydrate calories as well as a host of other important nutrients. Brewers are most interested in the starches and sugars that are extracted through the mashing process. Once those have been removed from the grain, the rest is considered waste to the brewer. For as long as there have been brewers living near farmers, these wasted grains have ended up as animal feed. A new effort from the FDA would severely threaten that relationship.
Obviously there is a need to control the products farmers feed their livestock. There is real danger to consumers of animal products if the feed used to raise them is unsafe. Brewers' barley, however, does not fall into this category of dangerous products. This barley has already been deemed safe enough to use as a principle ingredient in a beverage for human consumption. The brewing process simply steeps the barley in 150+/- degree water for an hour or so. If the farmers are utilizing the spent grains from brewers in a timely fashion, there is little risk for bacterial growth or any other spoilage that might affect the quality of the feed. Any proposal should seek to regulate that part of the equation, if anything. From a quick google search, I wasn't able to find any information to support a theory that brewers' grains pose any health risk to cattle. Also, a study released by the National Institutes of Health in 1994 concluded the following:
This only helps to reaffirm the argument that farmers strongly benefit from the use of brewer's grains as feed. Also, many small brewers reap the benefit of free haul off and disposal of this waste product. If small brewers were forced to pay for this waste to be removed, they would incur extra costs that would have to be passed on to the consumer. No one benefits from losing this relationship.
Please don't let small brewers and farmers get caught up in this proposal. The comment period is open until March 31st. Follow the link to make your opinion heard. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247559.htm#pc_animal
On my brewery tours of Asheville, I tell participants the history of beer in the US, and one of the major events in US brewing history was Prohibition. The outlaw of the manufacture of alcohol in the US changed the trajectory for beer for the next 80 years. Before Prohibition, many brewers were extremely successful and had built large business enterprises. One of those breweries was the one owned by the Yuengling family in Pennsylvania.
Before the devastation of the Volstead Act, the Yuengling family had earned a lot of money brewing beer. In the boom times, the patriarch of the family smartly invested in gold, railroads, and a dairy farm. This dairy farm would become a major enterprise for the family when they were forced to stop making beer for thirteen years.
Most large breweries had mechanical refrigeration by 1920, so the Yuengling family smartly combined this asset with their dairy farm and started an ice cream company. Even after Prohibition was repealed the ice cream business was popular enough to keep it alive until the early 1980s. The brand was shut down at that point, but the Yuenglings announced recently that their once famous ice cream will be back on shelves throughout the mid-Atlantic soon.
The story of the Twitter and then Beer Advocate forum rant from Tony Magee of Lagunitas Brewing aimed at Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company has been drawing a lot of attention, recently. Magee accused Koch and Boston Beer of targeting Lagunitas market share with the release of the new Sam Adams Rebel IPA.
From Time Magazine:
Responses on the Beer Advocate forums have ranged from calling Magee's outrage a "tantrum" and that this is normal competition in a business environment, assuming that Sam Adams kegs aren't sold at a dramatically lower price to steer business owners away from Lagunitas. Others have called into question whether the "craft" label should even apply to Boston Beer Company, given its tremendous size and resources and that Boston Beer is trying to use muscle to gain market share.
Personally, I think Magee is letting fear create keystrokes. Assuming his distributor told him that Sam Adams was trying to take tap handles, Magee should know at this point that that is part of the game. Whether it is Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada or Dogfish Head, all of those businesses want to have the opportunity to sell their beers to customers. Tap handles are a means to do so. Therefore, EVERYONE is ALWAYS targeting each other's tap handles. Why would you want to create a popular beer style and not offer it for sale? Would you hope that consumers would still prefer your competitor's products over yours? YOU WOULDN'T! In hoping Rebel IPA would take tap handles from Lagunitas, Boston Beer is saying that they are proud of what they've brewed and see it as a viable alternative to a very successful brand. Should no brewery brew an IPA for fear that they might encroach on the market of another brewer?
Now, the exception, of course, would be if Sam Adams was offering dastardly incentives to retailers or distributors in order to undercut the competition. So far, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that. There is simply a successful brewery offering a product similar to one made by another successful brewery and HUNDREDS OF OTHER SUCCESSFUL BREWERIES.
What do you think of the situation? Leave your feedback in the comments below