For years Mikkeller Brewing, headed up by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, was a one of the world’s most venerable gypsy brewers. Meaning he didn’t have a brewery of his own to call home.
That all changed when Peter Zien, owner and founder of AleSmith Brewing, was expanding in San Diego and mentioned his old space a mile away was for sale. Bjergsø jumped at the chance, and Mikkeller Brewing San Diego was born.
Despite his brewery’s geographical proximity to California ballparks (especially the San Diego Padres), Mikkeller brewed two beers for Citi Field, home of the New York Mets this season. That move might make more sense now, as Mikkeller Brewing NYC is on the way.
Beer Street Journal is told the brewery will occupy a portion of the stadium that the Mets were using for ticket holder and fan hospitality near 126th Street and Right Field Gate. A 20-barrel brewhouse and around 60 taps will be found there.
The cost of construction and initial plans have not been disclosed. The build is expected to be completed in 2017.
It would seem baseball park breweries are becoming popular. Terrapin just opened a 5-barrel brewhouse at the new Suntrust Park in Atlanta. For years, The Sandlot Brewery has been operating at Coors Field in Denver; touted as the birthplace of Blue Moon.
A placeholder site for Mikkeller Brewing NYC is now live.
This week, the Brewer’s Association, a not-for-profit trade group dedicated to small and independent breweries in America, launched a new seal. The “Independent Craft” seal can be licensed for free, designating a brewery’s independence.
For a little insight, the Brewers Association intends this move to create more transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. For instance (and something you will see in the comments below), one of the most controversial purchases this year is the Anheuser Busch’s acquisition of Wicked Weed. Wicked Weed will continue to brew as normal, and be sold under the Wicked Weed Brewing name, even though the ownership has changed.
For the Brewers Association, which fiercely supports the small and independent brewers, this move lacks consumer clarity. Thus, the “indie” seal.
Today, brewers that make up “The High End,” the series of breweries that AB InBev has purchased over the past fews years (Goose Island, Devil’s Backbone, Four Peaks, etc), have a response to the seal.
The responses range from, “the beer tells the story,” to, “we will always support the craft beer industry,” to responses that are a little more salty – “that logo doesn’t mean shit to me.” You’ll find a little bit of animosity towards the Brewers Association in the “Six Viewpoints from The High End” below:
David Buhler – Elysian
“What would I do, because it’s about my brewery and my people and as a team of graphic designers and packaging on that side of the business and what we do — I thought how I would use it and how would I use it and what are the decision that other breweries across the country are doing right now looking at this logo. Is this logo a mandate for breweries to put on their labels that are not part of “big beer?” Does this logo designate something like quality? Does it differentiate anything about what the beer is or how it is perceived by consumers – because it’s all about the consumers, the consumer is what drives our businesses, right?”
Walt Dickinson – Wicked Weed
“I mean at the end of the day we are all making beer, we are all brewers, whether you want to call us craft or not craft or whatever. I’m pretty sure Pernicious was a craft IPA like 2 months ago and I’m pretty sure it’s a craft IPA now, right? So we’re all doing the same thing – we are beer. We are fighting this bigger battle which is wine and spirits and we are losing margin every year to them, and so they have to be looking at us and just laughing, thinking this is just — why are you throwing us a bone right now? You guys are literally in-fighting, this is just a civil war meanwhile this armada of boats is coming across the Atlantic to crush us and we are shooting each other with, you know, muskets and sling-shots. So what’s the point? We need to band together and grow this market as a whole and if we do that everyone has a great space in the market, right? Small independents like us innovate, they get a platform from a strategic to take those great ideas and take them to a bigger market and create new consumers and grow the space as a whole and what does that do? It opens up more spaces for innovation and good product wins. So that’s the point of this whole thing. You know, I was just hoping we could get back to just talking about beer, but I guess we’re not there yet — but hopefully soon.”
Garrett Wales – 10 Barrel
“At the end of the day the beer does the talking, not the label on the package, and the consumer makes up their own mind. The problem is that the BA continues to refuse to let the consumer make up their own mind and try to make it up for them. They have a little bottle that someone told me “that’s what I have to buy” because there is a bottle on the six packs – but that doesn’t mean shit to me.”
Andy Ingram – Four Peaks
“There are clear threats from wine and spirits out there that, whether we are being willful and not noticing that or we are too busy fighting amongst ourselves, there is a clear present danger out there, there are storm clouds on the horizon for the beer industry. Some people think its top heavy — I don’t, I think we can sustain a lot more — but we are not going to be able to do that if we are divided. I think that is a key role going forward that the BA needs to focus on, as well as getting back to quality. When a major trade organization is saying it doesn’t matter whats in your glass as long as it’s independent, and they’re telling consumers that, then that’s a big issue, you’re saying go ahead and drink crap just as long as you don’t support the big guys. And it’s not heathy and not a good way going forward.”
Felipe Szpigel – The High End
“And now comes this piece on- you know independence, and for me the real thinking behind independence is that consumers don’t necessarily care about independence. What they care about is, what is the impact that small businesses have on the communities? And are the communities being better? Think about our partners, the amount of support we give locally, the amount of jobs that we provide locally by keeping on investing on our own partners. By the responsible things we do in terms of drinking or connecting to communities or natural resources and giving back – honestly I see no other brewer that does as much as we do. That makes me proud. And I think that’s what we are going to tell our consumers. That at the end that’s what really matters behind being independent or being small — is doing the best for your community or the communities… I’m proud of what we do and our partners do in the communities that we are in.”
Steve Crandall – Devils Backbone
“We are going to continue being the same guys we have always been. We are going to continue offering the best possible beers and occasions to our consumers that we have always done and we are always going to support the craft beer industry.”
David Buhler – Elysian
“Well to be independent would mean you don’t put the logo on because you’re indie. So to be truly punk you don’t use the logo, you do your own thing and you follow your own rules.”
When the weather eventually turns cold, you might be sipping this new release. New Belgium Imperial Frambozen with Cocoa.
“Frambozen” (Flemish for raspberry) is the beautifully red fruit forward beer brewed with a touch of chocolate malt; a seasonal that hit the market around Thanksgiving. For us at Beer Street Journal, there literally was no better beer to pair with turkey. Whether or not we see the base seasonal release again in 2017 remains to be seen. In the meantime, a new edition has popped up on the release radar.
New Belgium Imperial Frambozen with Cocoa increases the dessert-flavored aspects of Frambozen with both roasted and ground cocoa husks, and fresh northwestern raspberry puree.
Frambozen, Flemish for “raspberry” is our big, luscious celebration of the ruby red fruit found in Belgium’s Framboise ales. Our version is fermented with northwestern raspberries and a special addition of single-origin Ghana cocoa husks freshly roasted and ground by Nuance Chocolate in Fort Collins, CO. A Colorado holiday tradition from our brewery to your glass. Cheers!
New Belgium Imperial Frambozen with Cocoa is touted a limited release in 22 ounce bottles. The brewery has not yet announced this release.
The Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent breweries in America, is launching a new “official seal” designating a brewery’s independence.
In a world where brewing giants like Anheuser-Busch InBev are purchasing craft breweries, the Brewers Association asserts that the general public is losing ownership transparency. The implementation of a seal is intended to clean up that confusion.
“As Big Beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent. Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity—now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent.” – Bob Pease, president & CEO, Brewers Association
This new seal is available free of charge to the 5,300+ American craft breweries that are federally licensed, meet the Brewers Association craft brewer definition, and sign a license agreement.
A few numbers to consider. The United States is home to more than 5,300 breweries. Independent craft brewers account for 99% of that total. Their sales on the other hand, are just 12% of the total U.S. beer sales.
Breweries wanting to implement this new seal can find more deals at BrewersAssociation.org/seal.
Ice cream inspired beer? Stone Neopolitan Dynamite, a collaboration with Abnormal Beer Co. and American Homebrew Association Rally winners Paul Bischeri and Patrick Martinez, is on the way.
2017 marks the 10th year AHA members have submitted their beers for judging which includes team members at Stone Brewing. Past winners include Ken Schmidt twice (Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout) and (Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter), and Jason Fields and Kevin Sheppard (Chocolate Cherry Stout). The winner brewer or brewers gets to brew the beer on a production scale, usually with a guest production brewery.
This year’s release Stone Neopolitan Dynamite is inspired by Neopolitan ice cream. The base beer is an imperial stout, brewed with strawberries, vanilla, chocolate and coffee.
You hold in your hands the most recent winner. Finding inspiration in that humble box of striped ice cream from out childhoods, Neapolitan Dynamite is an intense Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla, strawberries, an chocolate, revved up with a shot of coffee to fuel the ultimate dance contest on your palate, gosh!
Stone mentions this Rex Kwon Do of imperial stouts has it all. Nunchuck skills, computer hacking skills, AND bow hunting skills. Plus it pairs well with a liger. That’s have man, half tiger.
Stone Neopolitan Dynamite will be available in 22 ounce bottles. The brewery has not officially announced this release.
This fall a new coffee heavy milk stout will debut in Michigan – Bell’s Arabicadabra.
The slightly complicated to say name is a play on the Arabica coffee beans in this release. Bell’s chose Grand Rapids, Michican based Ferris Coffee. At least for 2017, Bell’s Arabicadabra will stand in for longstanding favorite, Java Stout.
Arabicadabra uses cold coffee extract made at the brewery, using Nicaraguan and Sumatran coffee beans and a touch of the milk sugar.
Java Stout will always have a special place in our portfolio and isn’t being permanently retired. This year, we are changing things up a bit. Arabicadabra is a different take on a coffee stout and very similar to a local favorite that was released at our pub and at some events. It’s time to share it with an even larger audience.” – Laura Bell, CEO
Bell’s Arabicadabra will be available in 12 ounce bottles and draft in fall, 2017.
Style: Milk Stout (w/ Coffee. Lactose.)
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Debut: Fall, 2017
Soon to be marking 20 years of dedicated craft brewing will be a celebratory release, Ommegang 20th Anniversary.
Brewery Ommegang was founded in 1997 in Cooperstown, New York (home of the the Baseball Hall of Fame). The Belgian inspired brewery sits on 136 acres that was once a hop farm. Apparently in the 1800’s, Cooperstown was the hub for hop production in the U.S. In two decades, Ommegang has gone from humble beginnings, to national status and a name synonymous with quality.
Ommegang 20th Anniversary is slated to be a Belgian-style strong dark ale, aged in bourbon barrels.
Aging in bourbon barrels has created a deep mahogany hue, with aromas of oak, bourbon, caramel, toffee, molasses, and chocolate. Mouthfeel is smooth and Lucious with a bit of weight. The drying finish helps balance the sweetness.
Ommegang 20th Anniversary will be available in 750 milliliter bottles and draft. The brewery has not yet announced this release.