Richmond Recap: Tasting and Touring with Tom Sullivan, Co-founder of Ardent Craft Ales

Tom Sullivan Ardent Craft Ales

Tom Sullivan, co-founder of Ardent Craft Ales

Beercations are a great way to explore a new city, see what other brewers are up to around the country, and in our case last weekend, avoid New Years Eve in New York City.

We set out on a southbound journey to Richmond, where a growing beer scene (32 breweries in the greater Richmond area, and about 20 in the city itself) has warranted it a worthy destination for beer travelers. Bonus: their tourism board has been boasting the Richmond Beer Trail (#RVABeerTrail), and who doesn’t love organized beer touring fun?  Continue reading

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2017 Best Nine Instagram Photos

Beer Affair - 2017 Best Nine

The photos you liked the most on Instagram @BeerAffair in 2017.

Beer Affair 2017 Most Liked Photos on Instagram

The “2017 Best Nine.” I thought it was a silly trend at first, but eventually came around to see the value in what viewers liked the most on the @BeerAffair Instagram account over the course of 2017. Of course, every moment of my love affair with beer is special to me, and some of these moments are meaningful, but what I found really interesting is how many of them are, well, sorta not. Continue reading

#WomanCrushWednesday: Anne Becerra

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#WomanCrushWednesday: Anne Becerra

Beer Cred:

Anne Becerra has been actively involved in the beer industry since she “hustled her way into a job” at the Ginger Man, one of New York’s premier beer bars, after returning from an RV trip that would change her life. A former marketing/advertising employee, she realized after quitting her job and traveling across the country and back that she wouldn’t be returning to a desk job.

Today, Anne heads up the beverage program at Treadwell Park, a beer hall and restaurant with locations in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Financial District, where she makes sure to spotlight international classics as well as newer, trendier brews.

“New breweries are fun and exciting, and certainly we want to support them, but we also want to make sure it’s not just chasing trends,” she said. “[That’s] not sustainable for anybody, for breweries, for towns, or for bars. You really have to give credit where credit’s due.”

Well Said:

“A nod to English beer or German beer is not boring. It’s consistent. It’s historical. It is life for so many people. I want to try to really allow people to see how good [the classics] can be and how fun [they] can be, even though they’ve been around for hundreds of years. Appreciate what you’ve got, why it’s special…it’s lasted this long for a reason.”

Find Anne at Treadwell Park or follow her adventures online at @annelikesbeer and @beerincontext. Read about Anne’s latest project, the Cellar at Treadwell Park, here.

Cheers,
Beer Affair

Blue Point and Popular Mechanics Launch Limited Edition Lager

Blue Point Brewing is on one lately. This month, they announced distribution of their first ‘Hazy Bastard’ IPA in 16 oz cans; they’re canning other beers with wacky ingredients like seaweed and beach plum; they hosted an experiential marketing gig, bringing Blue Point beer and beach vibes to the Lower East Side (complete with boardwalk, relaxation pod and “underwater” bar—see photos here); and they’ll soon be opening a new production facility and brewpub in their hometown of Patchogue, Long Island.

Perhaps the most impressive of their latest endeavors, though, at least to the small group of beer nerds who got to taste it, is 1902, a “pre-prohibition lager” brewed in collaboration with Popular Mechanics magazine.

1902 Lager (Beer Fridge)

Not bad for an office beer fridge.

Continue reading

Hardship and Homebrew: ‘Beerland’ Season Two Tackles Race, Disability, and Other Challenging Themes (With Beer)

Meg Gill Beerland Season 2

Meg Gill critiques a brew in Beerland Season 2. / Photo credit: Viceland

I recently had the chance to, once again, interview Meg Gill, co-founder and president of Golden Road Brewing and star of Beerland, a television show on Viceland that follows Gill’s travels across the country as she meets some of the nation’s most interesting, unusual and fervid homebrewers.

After a successful debut last spring, Beerland has been renewed for a second season, and its five episodes tackle a  cornucopia of themes just in time for fun family discussions during the holidays: among them, race, immigration, poverty, disability, illness, and the call to utilize one’s talents and capabilities to better the larger community. Continue reading

The Beer Cellar at Treadwell Park

#WomanCrushWednesday: Anne Becerra

Anne Becerra, beverage director at Treadwell Park

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Anne Becerra at Treadwell Park, a beer hall and gastropub in the Upper East Side, to check out New York City’s first designated beer cellar: the Cellar at Treadwell Park.

The brainchild of Becerra, Treadwell Park’s beverage director, who is often billed as New York’s first female Cicerone, a beer judge, and a credited expert, christened the cellar with a visit from Sam Smith’s of England in October. The visit was fitting breaking of the beer cellar’s seal, as Becerra aims to use the space to bring back excitement for world class beers. Continue reading

Was the ‘Take Craft Back’ Campaign a Bad Move for the BA?

Thoughts on: Brewers Association Launches ‘Take Craft Back’ Campaign to Buy ABI, published Oct. 17, 2017 on MensJournal.com.

Take Craft Back

Last week, the Brewers Association launched Take Craft Back, a “tongue-in-cheek” campaign crowdsourcing imaginary funds in the amount of $213 billion from craft brewers and consumers. The goal? To foot the bill for a weighty purchase: buying out Anheuser-Busch InBev, or ABI, the world’s largest brewing behemoth.

Why? Because ABI has systematically purchased a total of 10 formerly independent craft breweries in the past several years, which allegedly bumps “real” craft brewers off the shelves, out of hop fields and clear out of the minds of beer consumers who aren’t educated enough to make the right choice when faced with corporate versus independent brands at the bar or in the supermarket.

Beer-Brained Idea?

Did the campaign have good intentions? Yes. Absolutely. The BA works their asses off standing up for small and independent brewers around the country, and I respect them for it. In fact, I often cover their successes in beer politics, share and review their Brewers Publications book releases, and reach out to their leaders when I think a story could use their expertise. Take Craft Back is one of the many ways they are both showing and garnering support for the small beer community and I commend that.

But, there was some backlash. Although many of the brewers we love shared the news and contributed to the campaign—and, apparently, upwards of 8,000 people have “donated” (no real money was exchanged, but pledgers are sent some swag for their support)—other industry members were not so tickled. I’ll be the first to admit I laughed at the video, but I too was confused about what I was looking at.

Criticisms of the Campaign

Beer writers in my extended network reacted the most negatively out of anyone, really, and not necessarily to a fault. While the campaign, at best, is obviously a lighthearted attempt to get more eyes on the BA’s goals and convince more people to take the side of the small and independent brewers who work so hard to bring us great beer, the campaign is also bewildering, divisive, and quite frankly, petty. At it’s worst, it’s being criticized as childish, embarrassing, and a misguided use of resources.

I, as always, can appreciate both sides. However, I do agree that there are more effective (and certainly, more distinguished) ways to educate the public about the differences between independently brewed and macro-brewed beer. Although ABI hasn’t issued an official response yet, I imagine they’re laughing their way to the bank, and that the bank is the only institution that will ever touch those $213 billion.

Here’s my coverage of the Take Craft Back campaign for Men’s Journal. 

Cheers,
BeerAffair