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The Beer Goddess

31 Jul 2017
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What’s just as important as making good craft beer? Making sure it is available to the people who want to enjoy it. Ever since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, there has been a three-tier system of distribution for alcoholic products in the United States, overseen by the U.S. government. The first tier is the supplier or producer—in the case of beer, a brewery. The second tier is the distributor or wholesaler, which purchases the product from the supplier, and then sells it to those in the third tier: the retailer—bars, restaurants and stores that sell the delicious products to consumers. However, a new company is looking to disrupt this 80-plus-year-old distribution paradigm. Liberation Distribution, aka LibDib, is offering what it calls the first three-tier web-based distribution platform. LibDib creates an opportunity for makers and retailers to work together directly—thus giving restaurants, bars and stores access to a larger variety…
04 Jul 2017
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While it’s always a great time for a delicious craft beer, it’s also fun to celebrate beer with others—and the upcoming months bring an array of awesome beer festivals where people celebrate in style. Beer weeks and festivals celebrate the culture and community of craft beer and give fans options to enjoy new and special brews. Here are just a few beer events to put on your calendar: San Marcos: Stone 21st Anniversary Celebration and Invitational Beer Festival, Aug. 19: Hailed as one of the godfathers of craft-beer events, this is not your average beer festival. It’s not only the largest craft-beer festival in Southern California; the beers are carefully selected to include some of the finest and rarest beers around. Seattle: Washington Beer Collaboration Festival, Aug. 19: Washington celebrates collaboration and creativity by featuring 25 unique collaboration beers from 50 different Washington breweries. Stay tuned for the pairings. The…
26 May 2017
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During Coachella, I tasted a lot of delicious craft beer, both in the Craft Beer Barn and at the Rare Beer Bar, the latter headed by Jimmy Han, owner of Los Angeles’ Beer Belly. One of my favorite discoveries: Wicked Weed Marina, a blonde sour ale that is aged in wine barrels—with more than one pound per gallon of peaches and apricots. Just days later came the announcement that Anheuser-Busch InBev had bought the Asheville, N.C.-based Wicked Weed. It became the latest of 20-plus former craft breweries that are now owned by corporate brewers. I say “former,” because the Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as small, independent and traditional—with less than 25 percent ownership by a non-craft brewer. What does this all mean? I spoke to Julia Herz, the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program director, and Mitch Steele, the former brewmaster of Stone Brewing who is now the founder,…
20 Apr 2017
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The diverse and impressive musical lineup makes the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival one of the most popular events in the world—but it’s the food and drink lineup that rounds out the experience for many festival-goers. Nic Adler, who also puts on Eat Drink Vegan in Pasadena, has been curating the food at Coachella for four years. I recently had the chance to interview him. How has the food and drink morphed at Coachella since your first year working on it? In many, many ways. … There are a lot of things that happen back-of-house to make restaurants and vendors successful front-of-house. For many years, the vendors that we used—and still use—at Coachella have been used to vending at high-volume events. However, a lot of the restaurants that I brought in were not used to being in front of 100,000 people. They might do a food festival with 4,000…
31 Mar 2017
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Whether you’re new to craft beer or are already familiar with some of the best and brightest brewers across our 50 states, this non-comprehensive and unofficial list of 25 great craft beers is a good start. Keep in mind there are now more than 5,000 breweries nationwide, so this is just a taste of all the amazing beers available. In no particular order: 1. AleSmith Old Numbskull: American Barleywine (11 percent ABV) This barleywine has won three Great American Beer Festival awards and two World Beer Cup medals. It’s extremely well-balanced and full-bodied, and can be paired with anything from roasted meats and stews to a variety of pungent cheeses. 2. Allagash White: Witbier (5 percent ABV) Spiced with a special blend of coriander and Curaçao orange peel, this Belgian-style wheat beer has won numerous awards, including gold at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015, and gold at the…
15 Feb 2017
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There was a time not too long ago when I cringed at the sight of a raspberry wheat or berry blonde beer. I thought these beers were too dainty, too affected—and frankly, not worth my money. However, I’ve changed my tune in recent years—and I am not alone. Let’s look at just one beer category, flavored IPAs, for evidence. In 2015, sales of “tropical-flavored” IPA increased by 250 percent, according information presented to the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia in May 2016. According to market-research firm Mintel, in 2010, 15 percent of new beers introduced were flavored. In 2015, 27 percent of beers to come onto the market were flavored. But fruit has not been relegated to just IPAs. Brewers are also infusing pale ales, saisons and even stouts with fruit from the farm—grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes and so on. Take San Diego brewer Ballast Point’s Pineapple Sculpin, for example.…

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