Monday, December 10, 2012

Want a career in brewing? Start at the bottom, then hustle

imagine yourself... brewer, bearded, and badass
Start your own.
Skip the fancy Siebel or UC Davis education. You will have so much debt, you will have to take a job at a large production facility to make the degree worthwhile. You're better off taking some accounting and business law classes and spending your time figuring out how to fund the brewery. Find a good lawyer, figure out what you're good at and recruit a business partner to do the things you suck at. In the meantime...

Start at the bottom
Cellar, brewing, and production jobs are extremely competitive and an unlikely option if you've only got home brewing experience. Homebrewers often fail in a commercial cellar and brewhouse. Production requires little creativity, a monotonous grind and daily simple frustrations like constantly breaking machinery. The autonomy, and flexibility of homebrewing are nonexistent until you get to be head brewer. Even then, you're listening to the market more often than being a tastemaker.

first assignment: disassemble, sanitize and reassemble. Try not to hurt yourself
Make friends and work for free if you want this route. Only your friends will get you in the door directly to the production floor. If you do get an interview, talk about how clean you are, how you're good at detail work and taking direction. Downplay your brewing genius. The last thing a cellarmaster wants is a newbie “ getting creative.” If your homebrew truly is the nectar of gods, bring it to the interview as a parting gift ,but don't talk about it too much. Your job is to get along with everyone and perform your job exactly as your boss wants. You will never get to brew if you can't learn how to clean a tank. Cellar takes their job extremely seriously. They also have a freakish sense of humor, prepare to get weird.

Once you've worked in production for a few years, decide if a brewing degree will take you to the next level. Make sure the pay jump is worth it. Even head brewers don't make bank, so decide if this will give you the authority, knowledge and clout in the industry you need to be successful. Apply to Siebel and UC davis even if you're not sure. The waiting list is at least 2 years.

Less competitive beer jobs include front of the house in a pub, customer relations, distribution, buyers for groceries, outside sales, events management, point of sale retail, and management. These areas capitalize on different strengths than production. If you have an ounce of people skills go for a beer-tender position. You will meet the most industry insiders, learn how to talk about beer and can easily move up the ranks to management or sales. Keep in mind that you can still love beer and make it on your own time.
like wearing costumes? I've got a job for you!

Learn the industry.
While you're at the bottom figure out everyone's role in the brewery and also what type of brewery you'd like to work for. Large production facilities have tons of resources to help you grow and have more industry clout. Trust me, it pays later to slog it out at big brewery for the street cred. You'll also gain a huge amount of professional experience in doing things the right way. Big companies tend to play it safe and you'll get a feel for professional conduct. Brewpubs have the most flexibility and inventiveness in brewing but also have tension between brewery and restaurant, and limited resources. On the upside you'll get opportunities to crosstrain as they have fewer employees. Job hop around to different breweries and locales. Never burn your bridges and always give credit to those who helped you grow. It's a small industry and feels like family for the moment. Balance being kind and looking out for yourself.

Get experience in different areas.
Offer to do ride-alongs with sales people. Jump in the lab and learn to do cell counts. Clean parts in the cellar and always take projects your boss hates. Mostly shut up and listen. Ask questions to find out what makes each person good at their job. What do they enjoy and what is challenging about their daily grind? Your goal is to find what you like and what you're good at. Like leaving work at the office? Don't be in sales. Hate doing the same thing everyday? You may not like being a brewer. Not much of a neat-freak? Get out of the cellar.
gnome liberation. A finer point of my skill set
Always be learning, and networking.
Brewing is literally the oldest science, so you have a ton of catch up. Take a beer serving certification program course (cicerone). Study the BJCP guide. Go to homebrewers meetings, learn the history and culture of brewing. Express your passion by educating yourself and teaching others. Building a network never ends either. Your network benefits your brewery too. If you can hunt down an available bar manager or new cellarman you will prove your value and good judgement to your bosses and have a friendly for office politics.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Drinkless in Seattle? Don't fret.

I got you. First off; Friday and Saturday Nights are for amateurs. Pros skip the crowds, opting to day-drink or go out on school nights. My favorite places to grab a pint, scarf some BBQ and talk shop in Seattle.

Rick and Ray are two of the funnest, friendliest, guys you could hope to meet. Thank goodness they opened up a brewery and started hosting public hours. Ray's beer is delicately flavored, nuanced and well rounded. I dig their apricot wit and their IPA is fantastic. No food, so bring your own. Tucked away in a light industry part of Woodinville, the bar is surprisingly warm and welcoming. You can meet wine and beer industry people in a laid back setting.

I love this place. Proper glassware, insane selection and a patio (hooligan class seating) It's as if your beer nerd buddies opened a bar and bottle shop. They have 20 taps and a ton of wine, cider, and mead. Stuck in a strip mall you can enjoy a good sunset and the delights of a gyro shop next door. It gets pretty crazy early on weekends. Later, the crowd thins and all the best beer nerds are left to discuss minutia amongst themselves. This place gets extra points for the rad elf painting in the bathroom and function forward plastic tables outside.

A good rotating tap list of beers I've always wanted to try. Not one off note in beer selection and nothing I've seen too often. Bottles are available as well. Strong offering of ciders as well. This place has the ambiance, staff and expertise to make it a beer lover's standard choice. Smaller and more intimate than Brouwer's Cafe and easily just as good.

Noble Fir's kitchen was closed so I dropped by this little gem. Cool place, great BBQ, more whiskey than you can shake a stick at. It's the dry kind of meat and they give you the sauce choices. I did a curry type that tasted great. James, “the BBQ king” insists that the sauce must be optional, so I trust this place to stand up to his discriminating taste. Also serving solid selection of NW ales.

Good LORD! The epic beer cavern of greatness. I could get lost in this beer list. It's like great museum, you could spend weeks in there and never see it all. The place is massive as well. Sitting at the bar is like being a the bottom a spelunking mission. Great beers. A beer list so deep you'll develop a liver problem before you try them all. This one could take me years to plow through. Friendly, helpful staff to guide you and frites! I love frites! I may live here for a while.

Small and well armed an with excellent selection of beers and ciders. Nothing I didn't want to try in their cases. This is a great place to waste an afternoon and catch up on your NW beer news reading. Complimentary Beer advocate magazines and a fire pit make this place cozy and just right for chilling. Also they do kegs to go. 

So my dear friend Kelsey thought it would be HILARIOUS to slip me a habenero tequila shot. Many tears, and much bitching later, their delightful barkeep ran out and got me some milk. Awww. This place has great staff and it's really fun.  

Happy drinking and remember to tip your bartender!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beer Snobs Suck

the fun out a room faster than a pack of IRS agents. I call myself a beer evangelist. Partly because I hope to bring the light craft beer enjoyment to as many people as possible and partly because craft beer is my higher calling.

Beer evangelism.
I'm at my best when I'm teaching and sharing my passion for craft beer. It's about pushing the craft beer agenda, but in a non pushy way. It's about spreading knowledge and creating joy in beer appreciation. I hate to see savvy beer drinkers use that knowledge to put less experienced beer lovers down. It's a sad waste of talent. Every domestic lager exclusivist is a potential craft beer drinker in my eyes.

On Domestic Lager and its fans.
I still drink Olympia, Rainier and PBR, and love those beers for what they are. I feel like people who claim to be better than domestic lagers are just missing the whole point. Of course it's not made from great ingredients and it doesn't delight the palette! It has it's place and time like all beers. Do I want a heavy, high ABV, hop bomb, IPA after running 3 miles in the summer heat? NO. (ok maybe a little) Truthfully sometimes I need a beer that's light and  refreshing.  Am I going to pair Oly with fine cheese? Hell no. am I going to pair it with a hot dog at a Mariners game? Fuck yeah I am.
I love malt liquor. It's so good.

Better check yourself, before you wreck yourself.
So check your ego at the door when you enter a holy house of beer. This isn't about how  many hop varieties you can detect by smell. Every time you put down domestic beer to make yourself look good you're doing craft beer a disservice. We're all in this together. The big compaines have legistlative sway that craft brewers don't.  And, you look like an ass. Seriously,  stop it.

Industry Truth.
Almost every brewer I know drinks domestic lagers out a of can fairly often. These people make, taste and talk craft. They live it. But they still want a cheap, easy drinking, lager, like most beer drinkers. Maybe it's because a cheap, craft lager isn't widely available.  (full sail's session is an exception)

A call to arms.
Beer is the drink of the people, I say bring them in and teach them something about craft beer, foster their curiosity and answer their questions and we may have ourselves a new craft lover. I challenge eveyone in the industry to try to find ways to engage domestic beer drinkers. There is a craft beer out there for everyone.

Craft Beer Ambassador Cheat sheet

Potential craft convert: I like hefewiezen/blondes/ wheat.
Beer Ambassador:  awesome. me too. which brands?
PCC: Pyramid/shock top/red hook.
BA: Cool. that recipe is based off this traditional german style,  except the original is a bit lighter, try some.
give them a taster and check their reaction.

PCC: I want something light ( with a " don't judge me look on face")
BA: yeah it hot in here! proceed with any number of dunkles, pilsners, or vienna lager styles.

PCC: That's so dark and heavy!
BA: dark colored beer can be low in alcohol and light in body. guiness is only 4% ABV and full of antioxidants
hand them a dry irish stout or dunkle
BA: Do you like coffee or chocolate?
If yes proceed with taster fitting the note they enjoy.

So get out there and start doing something positive for the industry that produces craft beer you love so much!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Falling for Hops

Fluorescent flowers ripen during the waning summer of central Washington. Here a shallow dessert valley cut by river boasts long daylight hours and dry climate, making Yakima the national premier hop growing region. Sun ripened wind carrying resinous, herbal, and citrus aromas announce autumn's arrival.

I'm proud to brew with Yakima Valley Hops and to hail from an agriculturally important area. The northwest (Wa, Or, Id) together produce 30% of the worldwide hop crop. Yakima Valley produces 77% of the total domestic crop and about ¼ of the international crop. Brewing with Yakima hops means supporting Washington agriculture, minimizing shipping expenses, and using fresh ingredients for fresh beer.

My favorite way to celebrate hop harvest is by drinking and brewing plenty of fresh hopped beer. Fresh or wet hopping uses whole, unprocessed hops during the boil to add aroma and bitterness. Intensely aromatic fresh hopped beer can only be brewed and drank in late summer and fall. Flavors and aromas of hops appear brighter and more potent.

Get Hopped up on NW freshness

Make a pilgrimage to the Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival the first Saturday of October. Featuring 23 breweries showcasing beer brewed with hops picked no more than 24 hours prior to brewing. $30

Check out the fresh hopped beer at your local favorites. Two Beers in SoDo, Seattle has one on already, and I'm a big fan of the Apre's at Icicle Brewing Company, of Leavenworth which should be on soon. Big Al brewing in Seattle also has a yearly offering.

Brew a fresh hop your self!

Check out the OR vs WA fresh hop throwdown September 29th at Nobel Fir, Ballard. 15 fresh hopped beer in one bar. This could get crazy!

Hood River Hops Fest is always a righteous party featuring great great beer.  This one is well worth a trip to Columbia Gorge September 29th. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

With love, from Oregon

Oregon's ability to promote itself as craft booze capital, USA always impresses me. They have Oregon state university’s fermentation science program, established wine making region and they throw great parties ( oregon brewer's festival). They're home to several outstanding breweries, and many more mediocre ones. We cant be wasting precious time on sub par beer, so here's my best of oregon.

Double Mountain: Hood River
Great pizza, great beer, awesome music. Matt and company makes this place an amazing hideout for locals and visitors alike. They're producing some fine sours and the perennially enticing Vaporizer dry hopped pale ale. The IRA and Brown also consistently bring balance and and unique flavors to the gorge. I'm especially bespotted with their kreik, sour brown, and kolsch. Word to the wise; the beer is so well balanced you barely notice the booze, please walk or get a cab!

Good if you like : sours, cow-punk, wood fired pizza, stand up bassists, hanging with locals, dancing, raucous friday nights, sweating.

I was skeptical when my man Shaggy insisted Sherwood (suburb south of Portland) had amazing brews. Last time I checked, this area hasn't got a good beer for miles. Luckily I ate my words while downing deliciousness at Two Kilts. This tiny tasting room is hidden way out in a strip mall. Simple, pared down, and straightforward it's literally all about beer, there is nothing else. An older gent with two hussies in tow promptly left when faced with the lack of party atmosphere (suckers). Alex and crew really make each style sing. The heather ale brings light malt and wooly herbs in a way I've never experienced. Their imperial stout is literally one of the best, on par with Serpent Stout from Lost Abbey. Alex is a rock star and I will be keeping tabs on him. If you're in Portland, skip half the breweries you wanted to see in the city for this one.

Good if you like : Excellent beer, quiet alone time, talking to brewers, heather, imperial stouts, man skirts, more great beer.

Cascade Brewing Barrel House/ Raccoon Lodge: Portland
Same company two places! Both places have a selection of sours and dandy food.

The Racc also has some of Portland's finest bartenders that know their beer and make the best damn Bloody Mary in PDX. Cascade brews some great sours and other styles. I'm partial to day drinking in the lodge to avoid kids and hang out with their awesome staff.
Raccoon Lodge, good if you like; Hiding in basements, sours and american styles, bar food, dirty jokes, amazing Bloody Mary's, vintage bikes.

Barrel House has a wider selection of sours The beer list can be intimidating and rewarding. I suggest getting a sampler and going wild with as diverse a selection as possible. Atmosphere is relaxed and communal with big tables, open building plan and lots of light. Being part rat, I wait until dark to venture into open spaces.
Good for : impressing fellow beer nerds, making pucker faces, night drinking, second dates, mispronouncing foreign words

Les Caves: Corvallis
Leave the kiddies behind at Block 15 and jump next door to Les Caves. Holy hellfire! This is my kind of place. Not a frat boy in sight and everything is tasty, foreign and sour/tart/ funky. Allegedly the owners went to Belgium to import these sexy euro beers. I applaud, whatever they had to do, they got it right. The menu perfectly fits with the beer. Atmosphere fits everything else and its a great selection of beers you just wont find anywhere else. It's like stepping off a Flemish farm and into a beer cellar dream.
Good if you like: Pretending you're a foreigner, seafood and beer, delicate horsey flavors, fresh cut grass, mood lighting, farm living.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

how to answer the most difficult interview question

I dread the interview question; " Tell us about yourself". I think we all do. We feel strange talking about ourselves. We don't know exactly what the interviewer is looking for, we want to sound professional, calm and thoughtful. That completely goes against what it's really like for most people's career path. 

Many of us interviewing regularly have an ambiguous route. We're trying to get a job, any job the first few career steps. Wandering in the early stages of our career helps to shape a satisfying work life later. This is normal and healthy, but it sounds lame. Solution; transform your wanderings into adventure and highlight all the great experience you acquired on the way. Extra bonus points if you can relate experiences to your perspective on the industry you're in now. 

Practice telling your story as an evolving development to your present passions and focus.
life is a highway? More like a meandering goat trail!

Here's my short biography

I started home brewing with friends at Washington State University. We all studied science together and loved brewing after class and applying our chemistry class to fun pursuits (it was cheap too!). After graduating with my bachelors in microbiology, I did cellar at Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River Oregon. Here I learned about production, yeast handling and the needs of large production breweries. Next I studied hops at S.S. Steiner in their R&D lab. I loved learning the science behind hop extraction and cultivation. I worked with their team to analyze data, care for our greenhouse and create tools to help breeders identify hops with development potential. I pursued a masters in genetics until I realized research was a terrible career path for me. I love interacting with people and the thrill of industry and business too much to stay in a lab.

Back in Washington, I worked at Saddlerock Pub and Brewery in downtown Wenatchee and Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth simultaneously. That's a lot of bar tending! Still a big nerd, I kept studying brewing science. The pub downtown showed me the business of running a taproom (dealing with distributors, liquor control board, throwing events) and the art of customer service.

At Icicle my responsibilities kept growing. I began offering brewery tours, putting together food and beer pairings, teaching staff about beer styles and production and hosting charity outreach nights. I spent time with our salesman and learned to value our relationship to commercial customers. Icicle's distribution grew and I began to see more brewing industry folks coming through. I made sure they got the special treatment our owners expected. We put together a customer outreach position to ensure our retail guests had great service in our tasting room. By spring of 2012 I felt ready to apply to brewing school. I was accepted to the master brewing program at University of California, Davis. This program has a lengthy waiting list so I'm using my time to continue gaining industry experience.

By summer 2012, I had made great connections to several breweries in Washington and Oregon. John Roberston, walked through our door one fine day. He promptly took the best seat in the house and a kolsch. We talked about beer styles, brewing as a business and customer service. Tony Powell and Scott Hansen (of Fish Tale and Leavenworth Biers) joined him and we toured the brewhouse. We discussed craft beer in Washington and Oregon over several pints. John asked the one question bothering me: Why are you not brewing? I loved Icicle and my job in customer service, but my dream of brewing couldn't happen at Icicle simply due to size and timing. John and I kept in touch as he pushed toward opening Bellevue Brewing. In July, the guys asked me to join the brewing team at Bellevue Brewing Company. 

Here's how it really went:
I wasn't sure if leaving research was a good choice, I felt adrift and lost plenty of times. I was exhausted from moving to a different city every few months those first years out of college. 

By focusing on what we've gained from our experience and how it contributes to our current dream job we can tell a great story with ourselves as protagonist. If you're under 25 potential employers dont really care about your experience. What you can offer is passion, enthusiasm, great personality and sense of humor. Highlight your passion for your industry by pointing out how your hobbies are related or any writing you've done about your work. Blogging, homebrewer's meetings, and culinary training all play into my work life. What are your hobbies doing for your career?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cater to women with your tasting room

I'm not talking about how women are hugely important as leaders and consumers of craft beer. If you need to catch up on that conversation check out these great posts here and here.

Women loving your brand = $$$. So what can your brewery do to establish and maintain a strong female following?

Involve women. Every aspect of a brewery needs female influence, but especially the brewery's public face. Your tasting room defines your brand and builds relationships with customers. Here's how secure a loyal female base.
Enthusiastic and friendly dirndls
Get your staff right.
Each server has their own segment of customers they connect with, so stack your team to engage wide range. Bartending at 24, I resonated with women 28-60, men 35-70 and moms with young kids. I passed younger customers to servers that ensured they had a great time. Together we appealed to nearly everyone. Aim to represent a mix of genders and cultures. A diverse team behind the bar ensures professionalism and customer comfortability. A great serving team appeals to women because everyone feels welcome. Women want a bar they can take their mom, a date, and their transexual coworker.

Use neutral language.
Don't allow staff to say “hey guys” to group of women decked out in their best. Ladies spend effort into looking nice so make sure it's appreciated. Mixed gender groups should be called “folks”. If in doubt, just say hello and welcome. Women are age sensitive. I suggest banning 'miss', 'madam' and 'girls' from tasting room as these can send a wrong message. Unless you're southern, avoid using 'ma'am'.

Hire quick moving extroverts with personalities.
You must greet every customer. If the bar staff is swamped at peak times, hire a greeter to help with overflow. A pint takes about 10 minutes to drink if sipping. That's 10 uncomfortable minutes if your bartender can't start a conversation with a solo lady. A good pub staff notices lone beer drinkers and gives them extra attention. Why? Because that customer patronizes your bar entirely for craft beer.

Host women specific events.
Beer education events engage customers and help to build a market. This works for both genders, but it's especially important to host women exclusive events. Create and promote frequent women only beer education events and tastings. Women feel more comfortable learning in female only groups. Take away the gender divide and focus on socializing and your beer. Women attach having a positive experience with their friends to beer and your brewery.

Partner with women specific charities in your area to raise money and awareness. The tasting room can serve as a public outreach space for any type of charity you support. Make sure to include those with important market segments.

Host women in brewing industry events.
Keep your business intimately tied to the female professional brewing networks to capitalize on their ideas and influence. Winning female customers is ultimately about doing something good for women with your business. Hosting a professional night for women in brewing shows you support women in all aspects of the industry. Pink Boots Society works to get women involved in craft beer as professionals, tasting judges, and educated consumers. They host national meetings and offer scholarships for brewing school. I encourage breweries to contact PBS to learn more about offering networking and mentorship events. 

Offer pairings.
Wine has made huge gains in the US largely to efforts to push this beverage as the food partner. Push your craft brews as everyday luxuries that enhance meals. Pairings infuse beer culture and appreciation into the tasting room experience. Established and neophyte customers alike can try beers in new ways. I've had success with cheeses, chocolates, ice cream, and dried meats. Dessert and beer pairings showcase beer's diversity as a food companion and resonate with women.  

Keep track of what they like.
Women's preferences in beer vary so ditch your biases. Do not hand a female customer your “girliest” or lightest beer without asking what flavors she's interested in. Also, keep track of gender when it comes to style. Recently I raised my eyebrows to a marketing guy when he proposed a male focused style description for a porter. To his surprise between 30-50% of that porters sold in the tasting room went to ladies. Words accompanying a beer may not turn off female fans, but it shows our (wrong) assumptions about who's drinking what.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Big Breweries take on craft

They have requisite money, talent, and desire to enter craft beer, but curiously fail often. American Lagers are a difficult beer to brew and large breweries make, ship, market and sell millions of gallons of it worldwide. So why can't they get a simple craft beer right?

40 oz of America! Pabst Brewing Company is the largest domestically owned brewery.
Miller, Coors, and Aneuser-Busch and Buweiser are owned by British and Belgian-Brazillian  multinational corporations. 

It's likely difficult to put the craft back into corporate brewing. Similar to attempting to reverse engineer Ikea into a producer of handcrafted furniture. Big brewing's business model relies on annihilating inconsistencies, fostering mass appeal, and extending shelf life. Broad appeal and using any chemical means necessary to create a heat and light stable beer clash with the very soul of craft beer. Craft means using local, fresh ingredients, appealing to small number of people and creating once a year magic. Hops and barley subtly change year to year. Like a hand crafted cigar that has subtle notes of acidic soil the tobacco is grown in; craft beer feels special, not plebeian.

Also, consider American brewing history. The mega breweries that dominate today survived prohibition by creating nonalcoholic beer and entering the pharmaceutical production field. They learned how to produce consistently on a massive scale. Breweries that prospered during Prohibition are unlikely to abandon ideas that helped them survive. I think these companies cannot shake ideas of homogenization and control in order to brew craft beer.

John points out that the brewing industry created food and packaging science. He ponders how they fail even with talented and knowledgeable teams. While craft beer also benefits from innovation and technological advances, developments created by big brewing serve specific challenges not seen in craft beer. They developed beers as a mass product; cheap, drinkable, low alcohol, and largely forgettable. Packaging and flavor science pushed boundaries for distribution and consistency. Beer could last longer, taste the same in every bar across America and withstand abuse it was never expected to endure before. Goals pursued by corporate beer have little in common with the needs of craft beer drinkers.

They have succeeded by borrowing craft concepts with heavy, citrus extract infused wheat beers. Citrus notoriously covers up most problems in beer. In craft world, lemon and orange were probably originally added to American wheat ales to cover up infected beer or dirty draught lines. Wheat adds sugar and texture and also covers up any problems with particulate in bottle. When brewing 800-1000 bbl batches, risk of infection and minor changes could cost a brewery tens of thousands of dollars. These ingredients lack the consistency of sterilized rice and isomerized hop extract. Malted barley and pelleted hops vary each year if not batch to batch. Choosing wheat citrus styles may help breweries manage that risk. Large scale production of craft styles that show inconsistencies may turn customers off unless large brewers teach customers to appreciate and expect slight variation.

Corporate beer may have money, desire and science to get into craft beer but lack a connection to consumers and craft mentality. Craft beer centers not on bottom line mentality but on supporting individuality, humor, camaraderie and quality ingredients. Frankly, they just wouldn't get it. Small craft beer companies also know their customers better than larger companies. Whoever controls the relationship to the customer wins. Smaller brewing companies get better feedback, respond to specific regional trends faster and know how to market intuitively. Mega breweries also inherently lack credibility, a key to consumer acceptance.

American lagers lose about 3% market share per year. They can sense change coming and will diversify to survive the slow death of fizzy yellow lagers. I believe the large breweries will continue to buy up craft brands and run them on a small- medium scale to keep as much of the original flavor as necessary to hold onto loyal customers and brand identity. They will have to have many small breweries contributing to their distribution flow. Eventually these separate breweries will develop tiny differences and new recipes, techniques and brands will emerge. The brewing industry will benefit as a whole as numbers of professional brewers increase and they eventually start their own breweries armed with large scale production experience.

Large breweries' interest in the fate of craft beer benefits craft brewer's political and legal aspirations as well. Large breweries control legislative lobbying and give all beer producers a voice. Small craft brewers cannot pass legislative changes without the big boys.

Cross pollination of large brewery technology will improve craft beer as personnel migrate away from big labs and into craft beer. Quality control and assurance will become a part of even small brewery planning. Women, minorities and smaller marketing segments will become important consumers. Consumer education will transform the pub landscape into one of beer appreciation. Moronic and sexist advertising will fade away as we look upon a new golden age of American small business and a revival of beer culture nation wide. You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grow Up. Celebrate Ice Cream Month with beer floats

July is national ice cream month. Like I needed an excuse to stuff my face! (I love this country) Ice cream makes me thirsty though, so I'm opting for floats. Lets go for a more adult version with rich, molasses, espresso, and carmel beer. Barlerwines, rich stouts, and imperial anything have enough flavor to support the taste numbing effects of fatty and cold ice cream. Relive your childhood favorite this summer and make beer floats.

Dark beers pair well with coffee, berry, and vanilla flavored ice cream. If you're sensitive about texture (bubble tea creeps me out) avoid fruit chunks.
molasses porter and black cherry ice cream floats

Barley wine and fruit flavored or vanilla ice cream evokes flambe desserts with the heat from alcohol and sweetness contrasting.

Imperial IPA's with ginger ice cream or with carrot cake.
Imperial reds with carmel ice cream

Try sorbets for a fresher option.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dare to Pair! Beer meets food

Experience beer and food together. Beer offers greater variety in flavors and body. Carbonation uplifts flavors better than wine and gives a more refreshing aftertaste.
Season: fresh is always your first pick
Intensity of flavors in beer and food need to match.
Consider color, texture, and weight. Differing texture color and flavor elements mingle and contrast creating interest and adding intensity.

Light seafood and crisp light beer goes well together, but dark, intense porters and briny seafood contrast well too. Experiment and find your own style. Its always safer to pair like with like.
mickey's and cajun mac-n-cheese at Montage
What else would you drink under a bridge?

light slightly green ale
pair with light fruits, light flavors and cheeses, experiment with sour tastes
causes certain flavors to taste flat

Greatest hits
swiss cheese
light dry cheese
rice crackers
light bread
green pears
green grapes
mild nuts
greek yogurt
sweet mustard

Avoid- intense flavors, high salt, spice

nobel hop spice and biscuity malt
very refreshing, great for pairing with spicy and salty foods
pair with mild flavor, sour an salty with savory spice

Avoid- chocolate, sweets, vinegar

Greatest Hits
mexican food
heavy creamy cheese
salty and spicy meats
salty cheese
moderately spicy or hot mustard

light and effervescent fruit wheat. Tart and subtle flavor.
Refreshing and light. Keep it light and summery or contrast with heavy chocolate desserts.
Pair with fruits and chocolate, salads and sweet breads.

Greatest hits
sweet fruits
light, dry cheese
sweet bread

avoid- salty cheese, hot spice

sweet toasted malt Oktoberfest lager. Well hopped, and balanced. All seasons.
Pair with rich spices, mid range flavors, meats and dark breads.

Greatest hits
cinnamon rolls
candied almonds
red curry
fall squash
brown sugar
spicy or hot mustard

avoid- very delicate flavors, tart or sour flavors

Look for a well balanced aromatic IPA. Carmel malt backbone supports well hopped beer. Higher alcohol, intense citrus and malt flavors. Medium to heavy body. Bitter, will cleanse palette.
Pair with spice, sweet, or savory.

Greatest Hits
carrot cake
pumpkin sweets/ soup
butternut quash
indian food
spicy thai food
high fat meats

avoid – sours, bitter

Slightly dry and well hopped. Burn toast and coffee notes, no chocolate. Higher alcohol and medium bodied. Dryness from roasted malt and hops.
Can handle darker, heavier foods and more intense flavors. Pair with heavy fruits, chocolate, cream, heavy meats.

Greatest Hits
BBQ anything
dark chocolate
candied walnuts
heavy, creamy desserts
smoked cheeses
dark sausage
pot roast
roasted pork
cured meats
rye bread

Avoid- light foods, sour, tangy and acidic tastes

Sweet, malty and intense beers with generally higher alcohol and sugar content. May be heavy or medium bodied.
Pair with spicy, dark meats, sweets, chocolate, bitter salads, ice cream.

Greatest hits
savory lamb
savory, dark meats
ice cream
hot, spicy mustard

avoid – sugar overload. Try bitter chocolate and creamy.