April Fool’s Day is a big day for brewers. You finally get to drop that joke about a beer so ridiculous you have to know it’s a joke. Minus those brewers that shop the jokes for an actually good “next big thing.”
2021 was pretty heavy on the hard seltzer jokes. In true Stone Brewing fashion, instead of joking about a hard seltzer, they announced they are actually releasing one. You can actually hear the pain in Greg Koch’s voice from here.
In case you missed out of some of the jokes thanks to Instagram’s piss poor algorithm, here’s what yesterday looked like, complete with bad commentary.
Michigan’s Founders Brewing is threatening to make beers glittery again. The name is on point.
Everything Bagel Hard Seltzer from Funky Buddha. Honestly, since it’s Funky Buddha, there’s a 60% chance this bad breath maker is real. 75% chance they will make it this year. 99% chance I would drink it because I hate myself.
California’ Bear Republic’s “Bear Claw” Hard Seltzer. Comes in Plain, Hop Backward (Hop-Free), Mango (with no mango added), and Cherry (Not real cherries just additives). Next up, “Bear Claw” Pastry Stout that ships with a fork.
Old Town Glowstick Glowy IPA. Made with 300 lbs of fluorescent jellyfish. No word on what it does to your pee.
Alabama’s Trim Tab introduces the Brew Canoe 2-Pack made for you and your fellow paddler. Would be great for Valentine’s Day.
Crux Fermentation Project’s no alcoholic seltzer, Lacrux. The name wins.
Steve Austin and El Segundo Brewing is dropping the 2nd Steve Austin collaboration, a hard seltzer with bananas. 3.16% ABV. And that’s the bottom line…
New Holland is making sure the squirrels aren’t left out. Introducing the .6 ounce beer that’s a little nutty.
Mother’s Brewing Company is just asking to get sued by Amazon for their drone idea. The jokes on Mothers Brewing. They ACTUALLY pay taxes every year… #BezosPleaseStillDeliverMyShit
America’s #1 selling hard seltzer is creating cans that will tell fellow party-goers where you land on the 6 feet thing. In cinnamon, green apple, and all new hand sanitizer flavors.
Richmond, Virginia’s The Answer makes some really off-the-wall beers with weird shit. So much so, them making a Funyans beer could ACTUALLY be real. It’s only sold by the case at 1 am. It’s dosed with 500mg of sugar and extra yeast to make it EXTRA splodey. Pickups are by the dumpster.
Asheville, North Carolina will be home to Green Man’s new Peeps flavored IPAs. But then again, could be a hoppy, diabetic nightmare coming to actual taps soon.
We’ve drank with the guys that created 10 Barrel Brewing. It’s an aggressive experience. That’s why I would put money on the fact that someone at the brewery has actually made this punch before, and is still getting the puke stains out of the carpet.
AMF is a canned cocktail with vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sour mix, blue curacao, lemon-lime soda, and cherry juice. Just 22.3% ABV.
Let’s be real. One of y’all has actually made this before.
“Adios motherf%$ckers!” – 10 Barrel Brewing
Champion Brewing channels either Clint Eastwood or Chewbacca with the beer can party sling.
Only sold at Spencer Gifts next to the Marilyn Manson posters.
Monday Night Brewing Narwater is a real hard seltzer line by the brewery. BBQ Ranch flavor is not…. yet. I mean… brewers have already used chicken wings, so why is this a stretch?
Charleston, South Carolina has a mega-merger by the sea. Holy City Brewing and Frothy Beard will now be known as Frothy City Brewing.
The best part of Hop Valley’s post? The hashtag. #PleaseDon’tMakeUsBrewThis
Indy Brewing Boner Emoji Beer. It’s a sour.
Three Taverns is Belgian-inspired. But apparently, they are pivoting to Italian. This is Prepastarous. (But it’s a lager, so it’s ok.)
Finally, the kings and queens of adjunct brewing in Georgia made the public statement they will stop putting candy fruit and lactose in their beers. This comes a week after announcing a 2nd location in the state, complete with a lactose silo.
Chances are, some of these will be actually released this summer. See you in line.
Face it, hard seltzer is here to stay. We almost dismissed it as an odd summer trend a few years ago, and now the seltzer industry is valued over $4 billion dollars. Alpha Water is one of the newest boozy water brands hitting the market and it’s worth checking out.
Atlanta-based New Realm Brewing opened in early 2018 with a state record-breaking 20,000 barrel annual capacity. That same year, New Realm purchased Green Flash Brewing’s Virginia Beach location, renovating as New Realm Virginia Beach early that fall. Within the first year, the brewery was operating at near capacity across the board.
Taking tanks away from beer to make anything else would have seemed like a bad business move, but you can’t ignore hard seltzer anymore.
“I didn’t know what the heck I was doing,” Mitch Steele, brewmaster & co-founder says, mid-chuckle.
That’s pretty much the response we’d expect from Mitch. His brewing has had such an impact on craft brewing in America and the last thing we thought we’d be asking him about is fermenting fruity dextrose water. The man literally wrote the book on brewing IPA.
New Realm Brewing’s foray into hard seltzer wasn’t just done because it’s a hot new trend.
“Demand for something that wasn’t beer was in high demand in the restaurant, but Georgia law prevented us from selling anything else but what we make,” Mitch says. Ultimately that means you have to make a cider or a seltzer.
So how do you switch gears from IPAs and pilsners to hard seltzers? Well, when Google didn’t help, Steele asked around. “One of our suppliers had an employee that worked in hard beverages in Wisconsin for years,” he tells us. “After a 2+ hour phone conversation with him, I had enough direction to get started.”
From there, it was test batch after test batch, trying to get the yeast right and the flavoring on point. Plus, figuring out what flavors to run with. All in all, New Realm tested over 15 different hard seltzer flavors. The most popular, which was the first chosen to be packaged, is Acai & Blueberry, along with Citrus Punch, Cucumber and Lime, and Black Cherry.
Lemon Hopburst, while loved by the brewers- apparently failed to impress amongst taproom attendees.
Unlike some seltzers, these flavors are quite memorable. The cucumber doesn’t walk a fine line with tasting like pickles, the blueberry aroma is fresh and bright, and the Citrus Punch over ice is simply a win. Honestly, that flavor could and should be in its own 12-pack.
Hard seltzers were a weird notion from the start, but as we have come to find out, are here to stay. Just like IPAs, hard the seltzer world is becoming the “wild west” of flavors.
Alpha Water gets it right.
Oh yeah, we took it to Vegas too. PICS: Beer Street Journal
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer has arrived.
While the mineral water from Monterrey, Mexico has been around for more than a century, the national obsession with it seems more recent. Bartenders love it for cocktail making (think Gin Fizz or Palomas), other folks swear it cures hangovers.
Topo Chico was always popular in border states like Texas, but distribution was unfortunately limited. All that changed in 2017, when soda giant Coca-Cola acquired Topo for $220 million. The rest of the United States finally got a taste of what the “extra bubbly” water was all about.
For those who love Topo Chico, but thought it lacked alcohol, your prayers have been answered.
Molson Coors Beverage Company has the production contract for Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, brewed under the “TC Hard Seltzer Company” out of Tempe, Arizona. Topo Chico states the hard seltzer is created with the same Monterrey water that has made the beverage so famous.
Four flavors are available on the official launch date of March 29th – Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava, Tangy Lemon Lime, and Tropical Mango. Each 12-ounce can contains 2 grams of sugar and is 4.7% alcohol by volume. Additionally, 24-ounce cans will also be available at launch (which jacks your sugar content to a whopping 4 grams.)
When it comes to Topo Chico the flavor and bubbles it what sets it apart. The hard seltzer is no different. The flavor is bold and flavorful, finishing almost creamy. At times you almost forget it’s hard seltzer. Topo entering the seltzer market could have simply been a money-maker by putting the Topo name on the can, but as we’ve found – you get Topo and great flavors.
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will be available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas, plus six cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York City, Northern New Jersey, Seattle, Washington, the District of Columbia and Vancouver, Canada.
I’ve missed draft beer. That’s a phrase I never thought I would say unless I accidentally stumbled back in time to 1930.
Now, there is nothing wrong with packaged beer. But a pint fresh from the taps is a thing of beauty I had probably taken a little for granted until COVID-19 basically killed draft beer in America for a while. New Realm Brewing’s Hazy Like a Fox IPA was a staple during quarantine, and sitting down at a bar this week finally have a fresh pint felt a little bit like a hoppy Christmas.
Except that’s not what I got.
Every beer drinker has had that internal debate whether to say something to the bartender about a miss-poured beer, and look a little pretentious in the process, or say something. If you say something, the beer will just be poured down the drain. Such a waste. What was sitting in front of me wasn’t Hazy Like a Fox, but equally if not more delicious. It’s been a shit year, so I decided to stay the course and be grateful I’m sitting in a bar and not on a Zoom call.
As it turns out, it was New Realm Hoptropolis. This “juicy” IPA debuted back in 2018, and honestly, that was the last time I had it. As of late the beer has been popping up everywhere. Jeff Chassner is New Realm’s VP of Business Development and a good friend, so I asked him what was up. As it turns out, New Realm is “leaning in” on Hoptropolis as spring and warmer weather sets in.
“Hazy Like a Fox is now our number one selling beer both inside and outside of the brewery, and Hoptropolis isn’t far behind,” he says. “We figured it’s time to remind folks don’t forget about our other favorite IPA.”
It’s built on Loral, Citra, El Dorado, and Azacca hops which are all headliners in juicy IPAs in these days. Georgia is lucky to have an IPA god like Mitch Steele working his brewing magic with Tyler and team.
Covid lulled me into a bit of a rut. Same safety beers during a turbulent time – until the wrong pull of a tap. I very literally proved New Realm’s point without even knowing it.
On the same topic, that’s another unintended problem beer has dealt with during the ongoing pandemic. It’s not just a loss of volume to every brewery in America. It’s the loss of the variety and exploration you get sitting down in front of a tap wall. Trying something new by the pint is much less daunting than 6 pack commitments. A notion I nearly forgot after playing it safe so many months now.
Asheville, North Carolina based Hi-Wire Brewing is in the process of building a new taproom in Louisville, Kentucky.
The 5500-square foot space will be located at 642 Baxter Avenue, in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood – a part of a new mixed-use development. Guests can expect 21 Hi-Wire beer taps spanning year-round beers, seasonals, one-offs and sour ales, 3 taps for wine, and family-friendly activities like soccer pool, table tennis, foosball, and shuffleboard.
“Taprooms are a core revenue stream for our company, especially given our current climate. They create brand ambassadors in those markets. They create jobs and increase wholesale sales in the region,” says Hi-Wire Brewing co-owner Bryna Frosaker.
Hi-Wire Louisville is the brewery’s sixth taproom location and marks just their second location outside of North Carolina. Interesting, this Hi-Wire build is Kentucky’s first out of state brewery to build in the Bluegrass State.
Construction is expected to begin in March 2021.
October 2012 was when the beer world first got a taste of Narwhal Imperial Stout. The beer joined Sierra Nevada’s “High Altitude” Series, shortly after the brewery had debuted another huge stout – 30th Anniversary Imperial Stout. Soon, it looks like another Narwhal will be spotted – Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Peanut Butter Cup Narwhal.
This is far from the first variant of Narwhal that Sierra Nevada has released. The brewery’s Trip in the Woods Series has seen Barrel-Aged Narwhal with red and black currants, as well as Barrel-Aged Cocoa Coconut Narwhal.
As for Barrel Aged Peanut Butter Cup Narwhal., the artwork is all we have right now, presumably brewed and both Chico, California and Mills River, North Carolina locations, and at a minimum – available in both gift shops.
Hold tight as this flavored Narwhal Imperial Stout dives to new depths, an abyss that’s rich with cocoa nibs, peanut butter flavor, and hints of vanilla from bourbon barrels. No need to unwrap candies, power the legendary dessert right into your glass.
Barrel-Aged Peanut Butter Cup Narwhal Imperial Stout is a 16-ounce can or bottle release.
Creature Comforts Table Beer, formerly known as Epicurious, returns this month.
This release started with chefs, not brewers back in 2016. The Creature Comforts team sat down with Ryan Smith of Atlanta’s Staplehouse and Peter Dale, Executive Chef and Owner of Athens’ The National with the goal of creating a beer to pair with a wide variety of food.
Table Beer, a foodie’s beer, doesn’t fit any style guidelines according to the brewery. The beer is described as “earthy, floral, and soft citrus hop character that is balanced by complex yeast flavors and subtle bitterness on the finish.”
Rather than looking at industry trends for what to brew next, we brewed a beer that best complements drinking with food and friends.
The label artwork for this culinary-inspired can is thanks to the talent of Athens local Bryn Rouse, whose illustrations can be found on her Instagram feed.
Creature Comforts Table Beer returns in 12-ounce cans across the brewery’s entire footprint starting November 13th. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this beer benefits The Giving Kitchen.
Style: Belgian-Style Session Beer
Hops: Sterling, Saphir, Lemondrop. Dry Hop: Cascade and Comet.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Limited.
Debut: October 2016
Latest Return: November 2020
PIC: Beer Street Journal