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.

 

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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

The Brewers Association Sent Peyton Manning Craft Beer Care Packages

The brews included in the Peyton Manning craft beer care package. via the Brewers Association

The Peyton Manning craft beer care package. via the Brewers Association

In true craft beer form, rather than cry out in rage over Peyton Manning’s un-funded Budweiser plug on Super Bowl Sunday, the Brewers Association has done one better: sent him a bunch of craft beer to try.

Surely, someone with so much money and wordly experience must have missed the craft beer isle to call out Bud on game day, and no one knows this better than the Brewers Association, craft beer’s trade organization supporting small and independent craft beer brewers.

“Since Peyton happens to play in one of the most beer-centric states in the nation, we made sure to include a good number of beers that were local to Colorado in addition to a few other classic and approachable options from around the country,” the Brewers Association said in a blog post on CraftBeer.com.

Along with the beer, the BA included a letter from Julia Herz expressing congratulations and appreciation for all of Manning’s “hard work.” The letter reads:

To help you celebrate, we wanted to share some craft beers from the over 4,100 small and independent brewers in Colorado and beyond. These indie brewers represent the ethic and integrity that makes our country so great and are also worthy of support. We’ve included a variety of choices for you to enjoy.

Here’s what was included in the Peyton Manning craft beer care package:

We’ll always be rooting for you, Julia.

Cheers,
BeerAffair

There’s Finally an LGBTQ Group for Craft Beer Lovers in NYC

LGBT Craft Beer

For many craft beer drinkers, it’s not hard to find a bar where one is immediately at ease, knowing that beer brethren and sistren are nearby to talk hops, barley or brettanomyces. Bars specializing in craft beer abound in New York City; apps like Untapped and Instagram connect craft beer lovers at astoundingly specific points of interest; festivals occur frequently across the country; and there seems to be a meetup group for every beer drinker, whether you’re a bottle sharing single dad in Brooklyn or a young woman with a penchant for artisanal ales.

But for some, the craft beer community leaves something to be desired: a designated group for LGBTQ beer fans, where non- hetero, binary or cis identifications are overtly accepted and celebrated. Here, members would feel they were among their kindred spirits as beer lovers, with the added comfort of a common bond.

In Long Island City, Queens, Alexa Blair Wilkinson is filling that void with NYC LGBT Craft Beer, a Meetup group created in partnership with well-known craft beer bar, Alewife. Wilkinson, who describes herself on the Meetup page as a “craft beer nerd with the heart of a unicorn,” is also an executive chef and certified Cicerone, a professional credential for serving beer and pairing it with food, similar to a wine sommelier.

Says Wilkinson in the NYC LGBT Craft Beer description, “Whether it’s friendship, a spark, a bottle share, or some nerdy yeast loving talk…this meetup is for anyone who likes or wants to learn more about the growing craft beer movement within a safe environment.”

LGBT Craft Beer meetups will include beer tastings, beer dinners, tasting competitions, charity events and seasonal parties. For the most part,  Wilkinson plans to hold the events on Sundays in Long Island City, but is open to different times and locations, the event description says.

Wilkinson’s Meetup is not only an opportunity for queers to get together for a beer, but an answer for a community that has been lacking solid stance in New York City’s craft beer scene. More than that, the group will be working with its partner venues to host charities and fundraisers; at the debut event in January, attendees are encouraged to bring winter coats for a New York Cares drive.

The debut NYC LGBT Craft Beer Meetup will take place at Alewife in Long Island City on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 7pm. The meetup is also sponsored by Troegs Brewery, who will be donating a keg to the event. Specials for the group include $5 pints and snacks on the house, along with “a chance to get together and talk craft beer,” Wilkinson said.

Father Beer is Stepping Down as President, Continuing as Founder

Talk about an industry always in flux.

The Brewers Association, the trade organization that represents small and independent craft brewers in America, recently announced that its founder and president, Charlie Papazian is stepping down as POBA. (That’s President of the Brewers Association, inspired by POTUS.)

Here’s the quick rundown on Charlie Papazian’s credentials, in case you’re not familiar with the amazing man responsible for American craft beer as we know it:

  • Founder, the Brewers Association (BA)
  • Founder, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA)
  • Founder, Institute for Brewing Studies
  • Founder, Brewers Publications, a leading publisher of books on beer and brewing  (For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops; Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brew House; Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers; and Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation among them)
  • Founder, the World Beer Cup (the most prestigious beer competition in the world)
  • Founder, the Great American Beer Festival, a major industry event that attracts 60,000 attendees annually
  • Founding publisher, Zymurgy magazine for homebrewers and the New Brewer, the flagship journal for small and independent craft brewers
  • Author, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, the “hombrewer’s bible” (along with several subsequent editions and other books)

Charlie Papazian is basically the godfather of the U.S. brewing industry, if the godfather was more like Mr. Rogers. He lobbied for homebrewing before it was legal, started two magazines for homebrewers and independent craft brewers, wrote the book(s) that many brewers depended on to learn their craft, and launched the major beer associations and events that attract tens of thousands of brewers and brewing industry advocates today. Oh, and he’s also a nuclear engineer.

After 37 years at the BA’s helm, he’ll be transforming his role into “founder,” and plans to continue involvement in several craft beer industry programs, the BA said.

“He will continue to attend key Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association events. He will also participate in other events in the U.S. and internationally, offering his perspectives on beer, brewing and its impact on social and business culture.”

He will also continue to contribute to both Zymurgy and New Brewer.

Like many of us who find ourselves wrapped up in this business and its ancillary community, Papazian is in it for the people.

“The tens of thousands of individual stories chronicling the success and joy that craft beer has brought to our lives inspires me. Ultimately it’s the people and their communities who have been and continue to be involved with beer who make our current beer world so special. I look forward to continued opportunities that will enhance the world of beer.”Charlie Papazian

Although I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Papazian, I look forward to the possibility someday. I wish him the best in this new stage as an ever-growing presence and proponent of the craft beer industry.

Cheers,
BeerAffair

Featured image via the Brewers Association: “CHARLIE PAPAZIAN ADOPTS NEW ROLE AT BREWERS ASSOCIATION,” Jan. 2, 2016.

 

Beer Judging and the Battle of the Belgians at Jimmy’s No. 43

A lineup of secret Belgian and Belgian-style brews awaited our expert palates.

Battle of the Belgians: our beer expert panel judged a total of 28 Belgian and Belgian-style brews.

On a recent morning, Jimmy’s No. 43 owner, Jimmy Carbone reached out to me with a trifecta of good news: he had read and thoroughly enjoyed a feature I had written for Ale Street News on beer web series; he invited me to join him on an upcoming episode of his internet radio show, Beer Sessions Radio, recorded at Roberta’s in Brooklyn for the Heritage Radio Network; and he asked if I’d like to join the beer judging panel at his restaurant for the sixth annual Battle of the Belgians competition to be held that Saturday. Naturally, I accepted. Continue reading

Beer Video: Joe and Lauren Grimm on Pilot Batches, Art and Finding Space to Brew

In honor of Grimm Artisanal Ales‘ release of the Tesseract double IPA in cans and Barrel Aged Double Negative imperial stout in bottles this week, BeerAffair would like to highlight a video produced by BRIC TV earlier this year for  Brooklyn Independent Media, Grimm Artisanal Ales: BK Stories.

Filmed in the Brooklyn apartment of the husband-and-wife gypsy brewing team, Joe and Lauren Grimm, the video takes a peek into the process of brewing pilot batches at home, and the parallels (and divergences) between brewing beer and creating art.

Enjoy!
BeerAffair

“There’s such thing as a great painting that’s ugly, but there’s no such thing as a great beer that tastes terrible.” —Joel Grimm