New Belgium The Hemperor, an India pale ale brewed with hemp, debuts in April.
India pale ales have always been hot in craft beer, but lately, their popularity has skyrocketed. You can thank new strains of dank hops, the New England IPA trend, even cheaper ways for small breweries to can their lineup. New Belgium is always experimenting with the green hop-star, but this time the green is a little different.
New Belgium got started in Colorado, known for scenic mountains, breweries and most recently – legal weed. That legal green has given New Belgium the inspiration for what they believe is a new style of IPA, brewed with hemp.
The brewery has developed a way to recreate the terpene flavors in hemp seeds. Terpenes are hydrocarbons derived from the essential oils of the hemp plants. They are major components of resin. Terpenes give plants their aroma, taste and even color. Those potent hemp seed flavors, plus hand selected hop varieties, promise a truly new and unique “HPA” (hemp IPA).
You’ve probably heard weed referred to as “dank”. You most certainly have heard that term used to describe hops. New Belgium is fusing the two flavors and aromas into one “dank” beer. It is important to note, hemp seeds and other products are not legally allowed to contain the cannabinoid known as THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) in them. Any trace of this would be so small it would take an exorbitant amount of consumption to even remotely show up on drug tests, etc. The Hemperor uses the terpenes or essence of hemp, not the cannabinoid THC.
…we found a unique way to recreate hemp terpene flavors in a beer, which complement the inclusion of hop flavors and hemp hearts (seeds) in a brand new, delicious way—not to mention this beer is extremely dank! The flavors and aromas are so unique that it’s a style unto itself, hence HPA®.
New Belgium The Hemperor will start shipping in April, in 12-ounce bottles and draft.
Style: IPA (w/ Hemp)
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Debut: April 2018
The Brewer’s Association, the not-for-profit trade group that represents small and independent craft brewers has releasd the annual “Top 50” list for 2017.
In the craft segment, Yuengling still holds the #1 spot in sales volume, followed by Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. New to the top 5 is Duvel Moortgat, which includes Firestone Walker, Ommegang, and Boulevard Brewing.
You’ll see a name on this list after acquisitions that closed in 2016. CANarchy, The Craft Brewery Collective checks in at #9, funded by Fireman Capital Partners. The group includes Oskar Blues, Cigar City Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Wasatch and Squatters Craft Beer.
Below you’ll see the Top 50 brewing companies in the United States overall, by sales volume. No surprise, AB InBev still holds the #1 spot, followed by Miller Coors. Constellation has bumped Pabst from the #3 spot.
In contrast, the largest craft brewery Yuengling appears 6th in overall volume.
Dogfish Head Dragons & YumYums, a collaboration with the band The Flaming Lips, has arrived.
Delaware based Dogfish Head is no stranger to musical collaborations. Previous releases include Bitches Brew inspired by Miles Davis, American Beauty with the Grateful Dead, and Beer Thousand with Guided By Voices. (Don’t forget the collaboration with Pearl Jam, Deltron 3030 as well.) The newest musically inspired creation by the folks in The First State is Dogfish Head Dragons & YumYums – a liquid tribute to The Flaming Lips.
Most everyone knows The Lips thanks to their 1993 hit, “She Don’t Use Jelly”. Their elaborate and over-the-top shows and known eccentricity makes partnering with the original “Off-Centered” folks at Dogfish Head.
Dragons & YumYums is billed as a “lip-smacking” tart pale ale brewed with dragonfruit, yumberry, passionfruit, pear juice and black carrot. This is no simple fruit ale. Per Dogfish Head “Us coming together to make, what might be, the world’s first vinyl record filled with pink colored beer… is somehow… perfect!!”
With a shared goal of making this collaboration an epic, sensory enveloping experience at the intersection of creative beer paired with creative music, both Dogfish and The Flaming Lips believe this is the first time a band has been so pivotal and deeply involved in the creation of the beer, the ingredients that were chosen, and the authoring of a song made specifically in tribute of the beer.
Expect Dogfish Head Dragons & YumYums will hit shelves ahead of Record Store Day 2018 – April 21st.
Highland Brewing Company is closing their doors this week. For four days. When they open again on February 23rd, Highland will look a little different.
For multiple decades now, Highland Brewing has sported a kilted Scotsman holding a pint, with the tagline “just a wee bit different”. This week sadly, the Scotsman is retiring.
Leah Wong Ashburn, the president of Highland Brewing and daughter of founder Oskar Wong knew a little while ago that Asheville, North Carolina’s first craft brewery needed a branding change. “Over two decades, we led with beer, and in recent years, we developed our beer portfolio significantly with fresh new styles and our innovative spirit is firing,” Ashburn says. “I love that we are now aligning the message.”
Highland spent most of 2017 collaborating with Austin, Texas-based Helms Workshop on the refresh. The entire beer lineup will still be labeled under the Highland name, but will now depict the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the brewery calls home. The pioneer compass you see is a reminder that Highland was Asheville’s first craft beer.
” We believe in authenticity…You act the same way when no one else is looking. You deliver the same level of quality every time that only you could notice. You are authentic when your actions align with your words. And when our brand aligns with our beer. This refreshed brand is who we are.”
Highland will host a launch celebration in their taproom on February 23rd. Look for the refreshed look on all Highland bottles, cans, and tap handles hitting shelves in the near future.
Stone Brewing is a fierce defender of craft beer. Just ask co-founder Greg Koch about his thoughts on craft beer vs. big beer.
Today, Greg Koch has announced Stone’s intention to sue MillerCoors the very blatant use of “Stone” in their Keystone branding.
In a YouTube video, Koch goes into detail describing the various ways in which MillerCoors has used “Stone” as a very prominent piece of their beer marketing for Keystone. Koch contends this move is intentional, in order to create consumer confusion.
“In the world of beer, the name “Stone” is ours,” Koch says
Koch claims this isn’t a marketing stunt. “This is a weird way to get publicity. We’d rather talk about our own beer.”
According to Stone Brewing, MillerCoors attempted to file a trademark for Stone but was reject (for seemingly obvious reasons). This hasn’t stopped the brewery from using the very prominent “Stone” in their marketing push.
“Keystone’s rebranding is no accident. MillerCoors tried to register our name years ago and was rejected. Now its marketing team is making 30-pack boxes stacked high with nothing but the word ‘STONE’ visible. Same for Keystone’s social media, which almost uniformly has dropped the ‘Key.’ We will not stand for this kind of overtly and aggressively deceptive advertising. Frankly, MillerCoors should be ashamed.” – Dominic Engels, Stone Brewing CEO
Koch says this can all go away if they simply put the “Key” back in “Keystone”.
Stone Brewing is represented in the lawsuit by Noah Hagey, Rebecca Horton and Toby Rowe of San Francisco litigation boutique BraunHagey & Borden LLP.
This is a developing story…
Hot on the heels of Elon Musk sending a Tesla into space is another craft brewery with galactic goals. Oregon’s Bridgeport Brewing recently sent their original IPA to the stars.
Lying just above the troposphere (where the planet’s clouds and weather generate) is the stratosphere. At the equator, the stratosphere begins around 60,000 feet, or roughly 11 miles up. Would you call the stratosphere actual “space”? NASA, which was formed in 1958, has loosely stated space begins above the Earth’s lower atmosphere (troposphere). The U.S. state department hasn’t made anything official either, just some guidelines.
Felix Baumgartner’s epic record-breaking balloon jump in 2012 was 24 miles up from the upper level of the stratosphere. (Side fact, he hit a top speed of 843.6 mph on that jump, aka Mach 1.25.)
Basically, if you’re in the stratosphere, it’s fair to start saying you are in space. Even if it’s just the beginning of space.
Celebrating the 22nd anniversary of Bridgeport’s Original IPA, the brewery sent three bottles soaring 22 miles high in the sky in south Texas. The IPA hit the stratosphere and landed just 55 miles away from the “launch” pad.
You might be wondering – Why? Simple. It’s something freaking cool to do. Bridgeport has been brewing India pale ale longer that most breweries out there, and they wanted to celebrate with something more than a cake. We’d send something to space in a heartbeat if we had the budget for it.
The most impressive part of this little endeavor is that none of the beers were broken. Remember that egg drop experiment where you had to protect your egg from a rooftop drop?
I bet these guys won every time.
Founders Solid Gold Lager debuts nationally on March 1st.
Over the past few months now, we’ve said 2018 will be a big year for lagers and pilsners. Let’s offer this new release from Founders as more evidence. Solid Gold Lager got its start in the Founders taproom in Grand Rapids, Michigan years ago. Their brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki has completely overhauled the recipe ahead of this forthcoming national launch.
Founders Solid Gold is a beautifully crisp, clean lager. There’s a touch of lemony citrus aroma that fills the glass and lingers in the smooth, grainy finish. Has Founders challenged the concept of a lager? If nothing else, they have succeeded making it stand out a bit. The use of Lemondrop hops definitely puts a subtle lemon zesty elegance what some might call a “simple beer”. Solid Gold is beautiful – from pour to finish. If you aren’t convinced yet, hopefully, the pricing will. 6-packs should retail around $7.99, while 15-packs will run $14.99. That’s about a dollar per can, making it one of the most competitively priced lagers on shelves.
Founders Solid Gold Lager is the first year-round beer by the brewery to launch exclusively in cans. Look for it nationally starting March 1st.
Availability: 12oz Cans. Year-Round
4.4% ABV, 20 IBUs