When Beer Street Journal started 11 years ago, big, bitter imperial India pale ales and adjunct-free barrel-aged imperial stouts were all the rage. It’s 2019 we are a long way from there. A LONG way.
Growing up my sister had a Trapper Keeper with sparkly unicorns on it. She loved it so much she would hide it under her bed at night until she went to school the next day. Today, I’m reminded of that beloved binder, not because I’m reminiscing. Nope. It’s because I’m writing about a freaking beer. Two things I never thought would go together. Take second and meet Duclaw Sour Me Unicorn Farts.
The inspiration for this release comes from nearby, self-described “Local as fu#k” Diablo Doughnuts, who makes a pastry called the “Unicorn Fart”. It’s a white frosted donut topped with Fruity Pebbles cereal, plus more frosting. Why the fu#k not?
So how do you make a beer inspired by this colorful plate of high blood sugar? Fruit and glitter. Handfuls and handfuls of edible glitter.
Somewhere the ridiculously creative American brewing landscape, a craft brewer found a way to combine beer and glitter. The result looks something like those squishy balls that kids get out grocery store vending machines. You don’t have to understand it. You just have to know it happened. When making a beer called “Unicorn Farts” it better damn well have glitter in it. Period.
I’m making a pretty safe assumption here. The donut that inspires this pretty freaking sweet and sugary. Knowing this, DuClaw Brewing made this beer sour to offset the circular blast of sugar. In the end, Sour Me Unicorn Farts is a tart beer, with glitter and Fruity Pebble-like fruit additions. The first beer fart we’ve ever actually wanted is here.
The first cans of DuClaw Sour Me Unicorn Farts will be available on Saturday, March 16th at the brewery in Baltimore. A portion of proceeds from the launch event for this beer will benefit The Pride Center of Maryland.
Expect distribution of this
Trapper Keeper beer to start in April.
Style: Sour Ale (w/ Fruit. Edible Glitter.)
Availability: 16oz Cans
Image: DuClaw Brewing
The Brewer’s Association has released its annual list of the top 50 craft breweries (in sales volume) in 2018. Yuengling remains #1 for another year.
Following Yuengling is Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Duvel Moortgat (which own Firestone Walker, Ommegang and Boulevard), overtaking Gambrinus who previously held the 5th spot in years past.
While the Brewer’s Association “tweaks” the definition of a craft brewer every so often, below is the definition used for the 2018 compilation:
- Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
- Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
- Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.
All figures are based on companies that met the craft brewer definition for all or part of 2018.
SweetWater Mango Kush Wheat Ale debuts this month, the second edition in the weed-inspired “420 Strain” Series.
Hops and marijuana have some biological similarities. That’s why you hear the descriptor “dank” thrown around so often with India pale ales. Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing decided last year to go all-in on that very smell and released 420 Strain: G13 IPA. The “G13” dates back to a government strain of weed created in the 1970s. If you haven’t tried it, you should. The brewery killed it with this release. It smells like weed and is a solid IPA to boot. G13 has a new bragging right at the brewery, since launch it has become the brewery’s second best-selling beer, behind 420 Pale Ale.
The brewery had always intended to make this a full series of “420 Strain” beers and this month, the second iteration has arrived – Mango Kush Wheat Ale.
This fruity “kush” strain features herbal, juicy notes of mango, finishing with the “dank” nose that the 420 Strain Series is now known to give.
This dank series uses strain specific terpenes (flavor molecules) plus organic hemp flavors to mimic real marijuana strain smells. These beers are 100% legal everywhere and contain zero psychotropic compounds, like THC.
SweetWater Mango Kush Wheat Ale can be found at the brewery as early as this week, with 12-ounce bottles arriving later this month.
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Debut: Early March 2019
5% ABV, 30 IBUs
19 Crimes, the Australian winemakers with the augmented reality labels, are launching 19 Crimes Beer in the United States.
The wine debuted in the United States 6 years ago, and is now a staple in pretty much every grocery store you step foot in. According to Michelle Terry, CMO or Treasure Wine Estates, the company noticed a duality between wine drinkers and craft beer drinkers. “We know that our 19 Crimes wine lovers also highly index as consumers of craft beer. There is so much opportunity with this brand, and our retailers and customers have been asking us to expand into other alcohol beverages.”
Three styles of 19 Crimes beers are ready with the initial launch – 19 Crimes Pilsner, 19 Crimes IPA, and 19 Crimes Lager. All three styles are brewed at Sleeping Giant Brewery in Denver, Colorado.
Each of the cans portray the familiar characters on the labels, complete with augmented reality stories through the Living Wine labels phone app. The stories on the wine and the beer are the same.
19 Crimes Beer will launch first in Ohio. Expect more states before the close of 2019.
Boulevard Brewing Co. is releasing something completely different in April, and it’s not beer at all. Meet Fling Craft Cocktails.
For decades now, Boulevard has been brewing beer in Kansas City, Missouri. Needless to say, it’s been going quite well. However, as of late, the craft beverage industry has seen the rise of other flavored malt beverages, hard ciders, and hard seltzers. As President Jeff Krum puts it, this little brewing diversion has taken a life of its own.
“While we’ll always remain first and foremost a craft brewer, sometimes you just want something different. We have the facilities and the equipment and the talent to make all kinds of interesting and delicious beverages, and we’re excited by the opportunity to give consumers more choices, to go where they go. Plus, we’re having more fun than is probably legal.” – Jeff Krum, President, Boulevard Brewing Co.
Each ready to drink cocktail in a can features all natural ingredients, and are touted as low in carbohydrates and calories. Four cocktails will be a part of the program:
Blood Orange Vodka Soda – A combination of 360 Vodka, soda water & blood orange
Cucumber Lime Gin & Tonic – Builders Botanical Gin, tonic, and fresh lime & cucumber
Mai Tai – Lime, Orange, Almond, & spices to complement Virgin Islands Rum
Margarita – Mean Mule American Agave neutral spirit, lime, & salt.
Fling Craft Cocktails will launch on March 28th, corresponding to the Kansas City Royals Opening Day. Regional distribution will follow in April, with national distribution to occur throughout the rest of the year.
Anderson, South Carolina based Carolina Bauernhaus is building a second location this year, in nearby metro area of Greenville.
Mixed used developments have become a big draw for breweries looking to build second locations. Crooked Stave chose The Exchange in Denver for their second taproom. Atlanta’s Scofflaw Brewing is building a second facility in The Works on the Westside of the city. Atlanta City Winery did the same thing in Ponce City Market. These mixed-use developments draw big crowds looking for a plethora of food, drinks and fun activities, and typically lead to an influx of apartment, condo, and hotel build nearby. The days of building production facilities in heavy industrial complexes are slowly dying.
Carolina Bauernhaus, an all-oak, wild ale brewery, winery, and cidery has selected Poe West, a 60,000 square foot mixed-use development in The West Village of Greenville for their second build. Bauernhaus has 3,000 square feet of the new space for their beer garden, outdoor and entertainment space.
The 5.8 acre $10 million dollar build breaks ground this month and is expected to open in Fall 2019.
Arrogant Consortia, Stone Brewing’s “arrogant” extension of their brewing operation, was always destined for a collaboration like this. Stone and Metallica have created a new pilsner rolling out nationally.
Musical collaborations are nothing new in the beer industry. Dogfish Head has created several musical releases with Pearl Jam, Guided By Voices, and The Flaming Lips. Dropkick Murphys teamed up with Magic Hat and Megadeth with Unibroue – that’s just the beginning of the list. Now musical hall of fame inducted Metallica has their own national release- Enter Night Pilsner.
Iron Maiden has their own successful beer and Metallica has taken notice. After launching “Blackened,” a Metallica inspired whiskey last fall, beer was an obvious next step. According to drummer Lars Ulrich, Stone Brewing’s name kept coming up while doing some research. Beer fans know how fiercely independent Stone is, and Metallica was drawn to Greg Koch and Stone for that mentality.
Metallica didn’t want to just “slap a label” on a beer, and Koch wasn’t about to do the brewer’s version of the same thing. The band dove head first together into the creation of this collaboration – Enter Night Pilsner.
Now, a lot of folks think a metal-inspired beer should be strong, black, barrel-aged, or be brewed with goat’s blood or something “metal” like that. Most musicians want something on the lighter side of the spectrum to drink before, during, and after the show. The guitar solo on “One” wouldn’t as epic if Kirk Hammett was shit-blitzed on barleywine. A pilsner became a perfect choice (plus Ulrich is from Europe originally and knows the style well).
Enter Night Pilsner is every bit a clean, crisp European style lager with just a touch of aggressive American hops. When Stone Brewing and Metallica say this beer “transcends genres, shatters preconceptions and challenges convention,” we tend to agree. They both have done that in their perspective industries and definitely in this beer. Enter Night is not like any pilsner you’ve had before.
Enter Night Pilsner is hitting shelves nationally in 16-ounce cans.
Crank The Black Album and get drinking.
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft.
Debut (Nationally): Early 2019
5.7% ABV, 45 IBUs
PIC: Beer Street Journal