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

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.

Beerland’s Season 2 Cast Members Include:

Mark Beerland Season 2

Mark, a man diagnosed with ALS and “frankly brilliant” brewer who has beer volunteers helping him brew to stay alive.

Adrian + Sean Beerland Season 2

Adrian and Sean, a biracial son and his white father working together to reignite the arts in their Detroit community by funding a nonprofit gallery with their beer sales.

Miki Beerland Season 2

Miki, a Japanese woman who brings her food, culture and homeland-inspired homebrews to an almost entirely white, suburban Alabama town.

Willy Bob Beerland Season 2

Willy Bob, an art therapist brewing beer to raise money for art supplies as he works with disabled adults living in government housing.

Meg Candid with FL Beerland Season 2
And a group of brewers in Florida who divide their time between lifeguarding, EMS, and in the case of Episode 4, disaster relief in the face of Hurricane Irma.

Some Final Thoughts on ‘Beerland’ Season 2

Although I haven’t seen any episodes yet, I have high hopes for this season. First, it promises to weave a heightened sense of purpose into an otherwise lighthearted premise; while season one followed a foulmouthed female brewer hanging out and drinking/critiquing beers with a bunch of beer makers, season two is a call to action to homebrewers to brew for a higher purpose than quenching their physical and creative thirsts.

Secondly, say what you will about the show’s casting this season, but in our current political climate, I see it as a step in the right direction. For a show made possible by the world’s largest and richest brewer (this show is only possible because Gill sold her brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBev a few years ago, freeing up her time and her budget), to acknowledge and blatantly put the spotlight on such importantly underrepresented populations is a bold move, even if it is for Vice.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Season 2 stories, read my exclusive interview with Meg Gill on MensJournal.com. 

Exclusive: Viceland Renews ‘Beerland’ For a Second Season (Watch Trailer)

Meg Gill Beerland Season 2

Cheers,
Beer Affair

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New York Brewers Define Craft Beer at BCTC 2017

Passion.

Community.

Creativity.

Freedom.

Such are the words used by brewers and their representatives at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (BCTC), Brewery Ommegang’s annual beer festival that took place this year August 4-5, when asked the question: What does craft beer mean to you?

In the process of making this video, it became clear right away that even when put on the spot, brewers know exactly what craft beer means to them. Read a transcription of their answers below.

“Craft beer means a dedication to what you’re doing and a certain knowledge and skill level. I’ve worked in all different sized breweries…I firmly believe there’s craft in every size. I’ve met some of the best, smartest people in larger breweries. The common thread is passion for beer and making as high quality beer as you can.”

—Phil Leinhart, Brewery Ommegang brewmaster

Phil Leinhart was not available at the time of filming; we called him up afterwards so he could weigh in. 

What Is Craft Beer?

“Craft beer is love. It’s care. It’s quality…There’s no boxes. There’s no limits. There’s no, ‘you can’t do this,’ ‘you can’t do that.’” – Scott Luposello, Brewer’s Apprentice and Taproom Manager, Clemson Bros. Brewery, Middletown, NY

“Craft beer, to me, means a lot of pride from where you come from.” – Noreen Lanasa, Bartender,Oyster Bay Brewing Company, Oyster Bay, NY

“I was just so inspired by craft beer that I dropped out of college…it’s my life now, so it means everything.” – Austin Partridge,Red Shed AleRochester, NY

“It’s a lifestyle. I make it and I drink it, every day.” – Kevin Van Blarcun, Brewer,Red Shed Ales, Kingston, NY

“Good people. Good drink. Good times.” – Jamal Robinson, Director of Sales, Stony Creek Brewery, Branford, CT
“You really find, when you’re in it, it’s just this community.” – Richard Rogers, Brewer, Roscoe Beer Co., Roscoe, NY

“Really, it’s people creating things that they’re passionate about and interested in…It’s keepin’ it real.” – Tony Bellis, Co-founder and Brew Commander, Kings County Brewers Collective, Brooklyn, NY
“For the customer. Full of soul.” – Colin Herzog, Brewer, Flying Bison Brewing Co., Buffalo, NY

“Individuality, freedom of expression, stickin’ it to the man.” – Randy Schull, Packaging Manager, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.Elmsford, NY

“Freedom.” – Vincent Somoggi, Customer Safety Representative, Flying Bison Brewing Co., Buffalo, NY

“Independence and freedom, my friend.” – Jaye Beattie, Co-founder/Vice President, Four Mile Brewing , Olean, NY

“It’s creativity, it’s freshness.” – Kelly Taylor, KelSo Beer Co., Brooklyn, NY

“It’s about beer being at the cultural center of everything that’s creative.” – Gabe Barry, Beer Education and Community Ambassador, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

Thank you to those who participated: Scott Luposello, Clemson Bros. Brewery; Noreen Lanasa, Oyster Bay Brewing Company; Austin Partridge, Red Shed Ale; Kevin Van Blarcun, Keegan Ales; Jamal Robinson, Stony Creek Brewery; Richard Rogers, Roscoe Beer Co.; Tony Bellis, Kings County Brewers Collective; Colin Herzog, Flying Bison Brewing Co.; Randy Schull, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.; Vincent Somoggi, Flying Bison Brewing Co.; Jaye Beattie, Four Mile Brewing; Kelly Taylor, KelSo Beer Co.; Gabe Barry, Brooklyn Brewery.

Almost no global corporations were named in the making of this video.

Produced by Beer Affair.

3 Brooklyn Beers Make Men’s Journal ‘Best Beers in the World’

It’s always fun to read “best beers” lists, but it’s especially exciting to see your own local breweries floating to the top of beer media’s best picks from around the globe.  In this year’s 100 Best Beers in the World from Men’s Journal, three beers from New York City-based brewers made it to the list of the world’s finest, and all three of them were from Brooklyn. Continue reading

Boston Beerdos: Big Hapi, a Beer for Big Papi, Available Today Only at Sam Adams Brewery

For you baseball fans and beer weirdos out there, listen up: Sam Adams is releasing a beer at their brewery in Boston today—and today only—dedicated to Boston baseball hero, Big Papi (formerly known as David Ortiz).

The beer is called Big Hapi (get it?!) and it’s a double IPA packed with lots of hops and lots of juice (mango, to be exact). There are only 541 cans being released—one for each of Big Papi’s home runs, because he’s a beast—and the proceeds will go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, because he’s also apparently awesome. Big Papi loves his children.

Get the deets in my latest article on MensJournal.com >

Sam Adams is Releasing a Super Limited Beer Honoring Red Sox’s David Ortiz

Queens Beer Book 2 on NY1 News!

The Queens Beer Book was recently featured on NY1 News.

The Queens Beer Book was recently featured on NY1 News!

This week, the Queens Beer Book made its second annual appearance on NY1 News in an interview with Josh Schneps, owner of Schneps Publications and publisher of QNS.com and Brokelyn.com (co-publishers of the book), and myself, Cat Wolinski, curator, writer, editor and obsessor over this little book of big dreams.

I’m still getting the hang of TV appearances, but I’m sharing this for the sake of the bars and breweries featured in the book. What I hoped to communicate in the interview was that the Queens Beer Book was created to promote local businesses who are making and selling great, independently produced beer, making the craft beer community a possibility in Queens. What came out was more like, “There’s great beer here, and it’s not Budweiser.”

But, foot in mouth or not, I always feel great knowing that people may be catching a glimpse of my efforts to support and encourage the progress of craft beer; that they may retain a little bit of awareness about our local beer makers and the bars, restaurants and shops who are supporting them; and that maybe, just maybe, the next time they reach for a beer menu, they’ll ask for a SingleCut, Rockaway, LIC Beer Project or Bridge & Tunnel, or a Finback or a Transmitter, and they’ll leave the Bud Light behind for the days when better quality, better intentioned beer wasn’t available here.

Check out the video here and the words below from NY1.com:

Queens Beer Lovers Now Have a Guide for Best Brews in the Borough

Beer lovers in Queens now have a go-to-guide to help them find some of the best brews in the borough.

The Queens Beer Book is back for a second year. It showcases more than 30 beers at more than 30 of the best bars, breweries and beer-centric eateries across Queens.

Brooklyn has had its own similar beer book for a few years. Publishers say they’re ready to show off what Queens has to offer.

“The beer scene in Queens is exploding, so right now you have at least a half dozen breweries in Long Island City [and Astoria] alone,” said Josh Schneps , QNS.com publisher.

“The criteria, first of all, is having great beer. That means beers that are made locally, made regionally—things other than the normal Budweiser [and] Bud Light that people might be used to,” says Queens Beer Book curator, Catherine Wolinski.

The book can be purchased online for $30.00. It’s good for one year. For more information visit http://www.QNS.com.

Buy a Beer Book here: Brokelyn Beer Book Store

Cheers,
BeerAffair

13 Best Hops to Brew With, According to Goose Island Brewmaster, Brett Porter

Brett Porter, brewmaster at Goose Island, presented on hops sourcing in a time of shortage.

Goose Island Brewmaster, Brett Porter lists his favorite hops at the Mondial de la bière Master Classes.

At Mondial de la bière, an annual beer festival known around the world as one of the most prominent in North America (held for the 23rd year in Montreal at the Palais de Congres June 8-12, 2016), a new initiative was introduced to festival-goers this year: the Master Classes.

Launched in partnership with Goose Island Beer Co. and targeted to industry professionals (along with avid homebrewers and connoisseurs), the new feature brought three  world-famous brewers to classroom settings to share their insights into different aspects of the brewing business: Yvan De Baets, Brasserie de la Senne; Leonardo Di Vincenzo, Birra Del Borgo; and Brett Porter, Goose Island brewmaster, who led a session on hops sourcing in a time of shortage, an issue which many craft breweries are facing today.

Along with filling in audience members on his history in the beer industry—which spans 28 years between Bunces Brewery in England, Portland and Deschutes breweries in Oregon, and the past six years at Goose Island—Porter stressed the importance of seeking out and cultivating relationships with hops farmers. In his experience, he said, hop growers are the most “open, welcoming and happy people” in the world, and knowing the right people to call will invariably lead to hops-sourcing success. Toward the end of the session, Porter shared a list of his favorite hops to brew with, along with (in most cases) the farms he works with to acquire them.
Continue reading

Victory and Southern Tier Merger

“Craft brewers took a world where people didn’t care about flavor or freshness in their beer, and changed it dramatically.” – Victory Brewing Company co-founder, Bill Covaleski

Last month, Victory Brewing Co. of Downington, Pennsylvania and Southern Tier Brewing Co. of Lakewood, New York merged to operate under a holding company formed by private equity firm, Ulysses Management. The two breweries’ new owner, Artisanal Brewing Ventures (amusingly abbreviated ABV), provides “management advice, assistance and vision to a select but growing list of independent craft brewers and distillers,” according to the Ulysses Management website.

The merger can be seen two ways: another pair of craft breweries surrendering their independence to the almighty dollar; or,  two craft breweries joining forces to continue fighting the good fight against macro brands, with more money and power behind them than if they continued operating solo. One facet important to note is that ABV is a parent company, and won’t be producing any goods or services itself.

Whether you’re of the “another one bites the dust” camp or the “I’m not surprised/devastated/outraged, business is business” camp (I tend to lean toward the latter, in this case), consider this quote for a moment and let it tell you one sure thing: the beer world is changing, it  will continue to constantly change, and a long as we have lots of options for good beers to drink and good people making them, we’re doing alright.

Read more of Covaleski’s response in Men’s Journal’s coverage of the merger here. For the full release, head to stbcbeer.com.

 

Civil Eats: 5 Beers From Across the Nation That Are Redefining Local

Kent Falls Brewing's Field Beer, brewed with 100% Connecticut-grown ingredients.

Kent Falls Brewing’s Field Beer, brewed with 100% Connecticut-grown grains and hops.

Brewing beer with 100% local ingredients isn’t easy. These five breweries are making an effort, one beer at a time. Read more—with perspectives from the beers’ brewers and founders—on CivilEats.com.

1. Transmitter Brewing: NY4 / Queens, New York

2. Pike Brewing Company: Pike Locale Copeland / Seattle, Washington

3. Plan Bee Farm Brewery: Flower City / Poughkeepsie, New York

4. Kent Falls Brewing: Field Beer / Kent, Connecticut

5. Ruhstaller Beer: Gilt Edge California Golden Lager / Sacramento and Dixon, California

NYC Beer Week 2016: 11 Vintages of Black Chocolate Stout at Brooklyn Brewery

BeerAffair's Cat Wolinski and Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver and Samantha Bernstein

BeerAffair‘s Cat Wolinski and Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver and Samantha Bernstein.

With NYC Beer Week 2016 in full swing, deciding on which events to attend each night becomes a bit challenging, to say the least. But on Monday, February 22, the choice was non-negotiable: Brooklyn Brewery invited select guests to attend the twenty-first birthday of the Black Chocolate Stout.

This was no ordinary birthday party. The Black Chocolate Stout holds significance at Brooklyn Brewery for several reasons. One is that the beer’s recipe was essentially the entry point into Brooklyn Brewery for Garrett Oliver,  now brewmaster, who has since risen to worldwide fame for his beer making and beer-and-food pairing prowess. Another is that at the time of its original brew date in 1994, the beer, an imperial stout, was the most radical stout many beer drinkers had ever seen or tasted. Chocolate in a beer name?! Ten percent alcohol by volume?!

Finally, and perhaps most significantly for birthday bash attendees, the brewery has held onto nearly a dozen bottled iterations of the imperial stout since its origins. Originally announcing  10 vintages would be available, it turned out that there are, in fact, 11 vintages of Black Chocolate Stout available — a surprise 2007 was available on draft — making this event even more unique than we originally thought. The icing on the cake—the figurative one, not the chocolate one— was tasting and comparing each chocolately vintage with sweet early 2000’s tunes to sip to. Continue reading

A Valentine to Brookyln’s Beer Couples

At BeerAffair, we’re all about love. Love for beer, love for the craft beer and brewing community, and above all, love for the local  brewers who bring us thought-provoking, inspiring beverages to drink and socialize with day after New York beer-loving day.

To honor this growing squad of New York City brewers—namely those in Brooklyn—we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on those who we suspect love each other as much as they love making beer. Continue reading