Beer News

Posted in Beer News, Don't Miss This

A Bar Calls Out Negativity. Something I Totally Get [Op-Ed]

The Common Table

The Common Table, craft beer gastropub in Dallas, Texas let their feelings about the state of craft beer and some of their clientele fly on Facebook today. It’s pretty amazing.

Now, I know that with constantly writing about beer, traveling to breweries and more, I get my share of rare beer. Luck favors the bold. On the subject of negativity however, this is pretty great.

Everytime I click post to Beer Street Journal, or send a tweet or an Instagram, I have this feeling that washes over me for few seconds. A feeling that someone is going to hate this. When I say hate, I mean, the beer, my post, my writing, my grammar, my phrasing, or a combination of all of it.

Negativity bleeds across all my timelines, from Twitter, to Facebook and everything in between. I’ve had readers tell me to kill myself on multiple occasions. I’ve had Redittors call me retarded, fat, uneducated, even called my mother a whore. (A note to those people: You aren’t going to hurt my feelings. I was nerd growing up, and got the shit kicked out of me for years. You can’t hurt me. Someone should hug you more.)

A bar calling out the negativity in craft beer is incredible. These folks understand the hatred. Yelp, Beer Advocate forums, Reddit forums, email listservs. There really is no perfect way to distribute a case of rare beer. They are basically set up to fail, but they keep doing it for the love of beer. I’ve seen people complain in places that have an amazing tap lineup, that there’s “nothing new.”

I started Beer Street Journal more than six years ago, because I wanted people to get excited about all this amazing beer being made. Maybe help the industry grow a little. It’s my life.

BSJ is news based, and very little editorial. I will say, if you are reading this. You are surrounded by some of the best, and most creative beer in the world. You won’t like every one of them. That doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Plus, if they do, and you don’t, that doesn’t make them wrong. In that glass is someone’s hard work, passion, life savings, even a kid’s college fund.

Experimenting (and tasting) is what makes craft beer fun. If it was the same thing over and over again, none of this would exist.

I say this with all sincerity. Drink. Be Awesome. Be Positive. Most of all… Be Happy.

Posted in Beer News, Don't Miss This

A Beer Brewed with Whale Testicles

Fin Whale

Icelandic brewery Steojar made news in January of last year when they launched a beer brewed with whale meal (called Hvalur Thorri). Animal activists went nuts. Furthermore, the Vesturland Public Health Safety deemed the beer unfit for sale, only to ultimately allow the beer to be sold.

Speaking of nuts, the brewery is back at it again, brewing a beer with whale balls. That’s right, whale testicles. Steojar decided to follow up their whale-based predecessor with smoked testicles from fin whales into the brew.

One full whale testicle is used in every batch. Hvalur 2 goes on sale January 23rd.

Depending on your sources, the fin whale is either endangered or hanging in nicely in the North Atlantic ocean. Whaling, and the consumption of whale is legal in Iceland, and controlled.

The brewery did not kill the whales for the testicles, but is a by-product of the Icelandic whaling business.

Posted in Beer News

72 People Die From Poisoned Beer in Mozambique


A batch of traditional, home-brewed, beer is responsible for the death of 72 people in Mozambique. More than 100 have been hospitalized.

Early reports point to a poison spiked batch of pombe, a recipe brewed with sorghum, corn and millet. A large crowed of funeral goers drank the poisoned pombe, and immediately fell ill.

The recipe and brewing process of pombe is not fatal. According to Radio Mozambique, the brew might have been poisoned with crocodile bile, a deadly poison. Apparently the container full of pombe is missing as well.

Ed note: Crocodile bile isn’t inherently poisonous. There is a lot of superstition surrounding the pancreas of a crocodile in Mosambique. The beer was potentially spiked with a more poisonous substance.

Posted in Beer News, Don't Miss This, Woodchuck Cider

Barrel Aged Woodchuck Spitter Splinter Cider Joins Limb Series

Woodchuck Spitter Splinter

The next offering in Woodchuck Cider’s Out on a Limb Series is Spitter Splinter, a barrel aged cider.

“Spitter” refers to European bittersweet apples used in this release, known for their tart and acidic nature. The fermented juice is aged in bourbon barrels, giving the cider vanilla and oaky notes.

The Out on a Limb Series is a rotating selection of one-off, experimental ciders. The packaging stays the same, but the ciders change every 45-60 days.

Style: Ciders (Barrel Aged. Bourbon)
Availability: 12oz Bottles. Limited release.
Arrival: December, 2014

5.5% ABV

Posted in Beer News, Spencer Brewery

Spencer Trappist Brewery Launches in Georgia

Spencer Trappist Ale

America’s only Trappist brewery is now in the state of Georgia. Massachusett’s based Spencer Trappist has signed a new distribution deal with Atlanta Beverage and Eagle Rock to bring their (currently one offering) to the state.

Of the 180 Trappist monasteries in the world, only 9 are also breweries. Those 9 are Chimay, Rochefort, Orval, Achel, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Koningshoeven, Stift Engelzell, and now Spencer. The International Trappist Organization recognizes these breweries as Trappist, and each carry the Trappist logo on their bottles. None are in the United States. Until now.

The Saint Joseph Abbey added the brewery, under the advisement of Chimay.

Spencer has just one offering right now, Spencer Trappist Ale, a Belgian-style pale ale, packaged in 11.2oz bottles.

The offering is now available in the state of Georgia, as of the first week of December. Georgia is the brewery’s 7th state of distribution.

Posted in Beer News

Drink Up. It’s Repeal Day. Celebrate 81 Years of Booze [PICS]

Prohibition 1

December 5 is Repeal Day. Today of all days is one you crack open a beer.  81 years ago, you’d be in trouble.

There are plenty of sites and books out there that tell you the story of Prohibition (AKA the Dark Times)  but seeing as 5 pm is just a few hours away here’s a run down so you can look like the smarty pants drinker you are:

  • Prohibition lasted 13 years.  13 LONG YEARS
  • 1830’s: Rise of the Temperance movement (Push for no alcohol)
  • 1855 – 13 states have banned alcohol
  • 1869 – National Prohibition Party is formed (A political party, like Republican or Democrat)
  • 1890 – First Prohibition Party Member Elected To The House
  • 1893 – Anti Saloon League Formed. An anti alcohol superpower. Bigger than Women’s Temperance, and Prohibition Party.  Lobbied all levels of gov’t against beer, wine, spirits. (Buzzkills)
  • 1917 – Volstead Act aka The National Prohibition Act. Cleared the way for 18th Amendment.

The Volstead Act states – (And try not to cry):
An Act to prohibit intoxicating beverages, and to regulate the manufacture, production, use, and sale of high-proof spirits for other than beverage purposes, and to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye, and other lawful industries

The act did everything but specifically prohibit the USE of intoxicating liquors. In this case – HIGHER than .5% ABV.  Liquor production fell into the hands of gangs and criminal organizations – the likes of people like Al Capone. What did the groups think alcohol in the hands of the citizens of the United States would do? 

The emphasis on alcoholic drink stemmed not so much from a moral opposition to liquor as from a pragmatic one. Alcohol abuse, said the Prohibitionists, led to chronic illness, job loss, spouse and child abuse, and impoverishment. The best way to reduce social ills, they maintained, was to eliminate alcoholic consumption.

  • 1919 – Volstead Act passes. No more alcohol. (Goodbye beer)

Near beer – aka non alcoholic beer could be made during prohibition: Pablo by Pabst, Famo by Schlitz, Vivo by Miller, Lux-O by Stroh and Bevo by Anheuser-Busch.

  • 1932 – Herbert Hoover in a Republican Party presidential acceptance speech, calls for the end of Prohibition
  • March 23, 1933  FDR signs Cullen-Harrison Act. Some alcohol legal.
  • April 7th, Cullen-Harrison Act 4% beer re-legalized.  Within 24 hours,  1.5 million barrels of 3.2% beer was sold.
  • December 5, 1933 – Prohibition officially repealed

The beer industry suffered tremendously after prohibition. there were over 1,700 breweries in the US, before and by 1934 under 750.  Sales didn’t rebound to pre-prohibition sales until the mid-1970’s.   [History, PBS]

Posted in Beer News, Don't Miss This, Great Divide

Great Divide Orabelle Planned for Cans

Great Divide Orabelle Cans

A bit more on the Great Divide Brewing can front. The future can lineup in 2015 will feature (at various times) Titan IPA, Hibernation Ale, Colette, and now Orabelle.

Great Divide Orabelle is a seasonal Belgian-style tripel, released in draft and 12oz bottles.

ORABELLE is brewed with barley, wheat, oats, and rye.  This Belgian-Style Tripel is a golden beauty.  Its two yeast strains, orange peel and dash of coriander impart surprising complexity and richness to this delicate ale. Don’t let Orabelle’s demure nature fool you; this is one flavorful pour.  Watch out, she’s a charmer – one sip and you’ll be in love.

Great Divide Orabelle typically arrives in January, but the canning line won’t be producing until closer to summer, 2015. The brewery will outline the can lineup closer to production.

Style: Belgian-style Tripel
Availability: 12oz bottles, Draft. Seasonal Release. 12oz cans (Planned)
Arrival: TBA

8.3% ABV