Monthly Archives: August 2015

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/31/15

Here are today’s links for this rather pretty Monday morning. I almost didn’t notice, but this is the 100th Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/30/15

Another week has passed and now you are resting on Sunday.  Let’s be honest, however, you are thinking about your NFL fantasy draft and waiting for the next 2 weeks to pass so you can settle in and watch football for 12 hours. On to beer.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/28/15

Today’s Five Articles will look at craft beer as a business. While beer is beer and it should be fun, I think we too often don’t take it as seriously as a business as we should.  Craft beer has become a revenue and tax driver for cities and states as well as providing a roof and food for the people who work in the business on a daily basis.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/27/15

There is a definite North Carolina slant to the Five Articles today with 3 coming from North Carolina and one coming from Upstate South Carolina.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/26/15

Computer issues got me started late this morning, but here we are and here we go with the Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/25/15

Back in the rhythm of the Five Articles and it feels good.  As the summer winds down, kids get back to school, and football (both kinds) gets started the beer news will crank back up. There are big things afoot in the beer world in Charlotte and beyond.  Here are five articles to get your beer day started.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/24/15

It has been hard to find Five Articles worthy of my attention this past week.  So I took a little more time off to actually catch up on sleep.  That is why today, I have four articles about beer and one about Quentin Tarantino.  My three guys from the 1990s indie movie explosion are Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Ed Burns.  Smith is now a podcaster and a good one when he isn’t too stoned to keep conversations on track.  Burns has turned to television and away from movies for the time being.  Anyway, the Five Articles.

Porter/Stout Tasting Series: Heretic Brewing Porters

I have finished the week-long experiment of reviewing one beer a day for a week.  What didn’t happen was me falling out of love with beer.  However, I did a day to not even look at a beer and I’ll probably spend time drinking a lot of IPAs and Saisons.

What did happen was I crystallized something that I’ve been ruminating since I got really serious about beer.  I went through the same thing most do when they start getting into craft beer. Most people enter into craft beer by being fascinated by a particular beer and/or beer style.  Then you get into everything imperial.  All the big taste and ABV beers out there, you find and drink.

I’ve been through that phase for a few years now.  I’ve been in the play the field mode, drinking whatever good beer I could find.  As I started working in craft beer something happened.  I started moving away from the bourbon barrel aged stouts made with orange peels, cocoa nibs, chocolate, chili peppers, and whatever else brewers put in their beers to set their beers apart.

My favorite beers now are the simple beers that show skill as well as creativity.  All brewers are creative and the idea of using chili peppers with orange peels takes creativity to pull off successfully.  However, the marketplace has made the creative more important than the skillful.  My favorite beers from the last week (Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout and Heretic Brewing Hazelnut Chocolate Porter, were the simple ones and not the complicated one-off/special releases filled with stuff.

I’m going to keep honing this idea here and in other places (Gravity Magazine coming soon), so I’ll move on to the last of the reviews.

This whole thing started when I was in a big box wine/beer retailer and saw these two bottles of Heretic Brewing porters right beside each other and thought, “Hey, why don’t I do a side by side tasting comparison with these two.”  Then I got home and noticed I had a lot of porters and stouts in my fridge and why don’t I do a tasting on all of them.

20150817_171912The Shallow Grave Porter pours a dark brown and has a thin/interrupted head that dissipates rather quickly.  The aroma is a good roasted chocolate and coffee smell with little hop presence.  I expected a little more nuance with maybe a caramel or a touch or smoke with the roasted aroma.

The taste is of coffee with touches of roasted chocolate.  That’s it.  It is a nice simple beer.  There is no adornment with Belgian candy or any other adjuncts.  It is really just water, malt, hops, and yeast.  It also has a smooth taste that makes it easy to drink and its ABV is just above the mythical sessionable limit meaning you can have a couple or three without worrying about getting too drunk.

20150817_211942The Hazelnut Chocolate Porter pours a dark brown and has a nice foamy head with a good long retention.  The aroma is a roasty chocolate with hazelnuts, basically it smells a lot like Nutella.  The bitterness comes from the roasted malt and the chocolate taste.

When you taste this beer, it is one of the best-constructed beers you will ever drink.  The roasted malt adds a touch of bitterness along with the bitterness and sweetness of chocolate along with the nice nuttiness of the hazelnut.  It is a beer with the taste of hazelnut and chocolate instead of a beer with brewed with a bunch of Nutella dumped in the brew kettle.  It has a nice smooth and easy finish.  Like its Shallow Grave brother, it is an easy drinking, sessionable porter.


Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/19/15

I’m a little late on the Five Articles today.  It’s worth it though because I get a little extra sleep and I found a bounty of good stories to pick from for today’s list.  Get ready for a laws and money.

  • As consolidation looms, more and more breweries are starting to seek out capital investors to fund their expansion plans. Brooklyn Brewery is just the latest.  An aside about the consolidation I’ve been talking about in this space for a few weeks.  I think we are headed to a place where because of consolidation and the growing influx of capital investors, breweries will either be really, really big, as in regional or larger, or really, really small, as in your neighborhood brewery.
  • Change and growth are scary things and in Colorado brewing, it is really scary. A good point is made by the Colorado Brewer’s Guild spokesman in this article.  Craft beer is a big business and to expect everyone to have pure beer motives as they enter the business and to not expect the big brewers to notice is naive.  The nature of the beer business as a whole is changing and the nature of craft beer is changing along with it.
  • Drunk college students do stupid things no matter what country you are in as this report from Germany shows.
  • Here is the latest issue to crop up between Asheville brewers and NC ALE. At least this time the ALE managed to learn of a large beer festival in its jurisdiction before the day of the event.  I also think it was a very responsible (if not overly responsible) for the group putting this even on to cancel it until they got true clarity on what was expected of them.
  • That kind of clarity is what I think is missing in the ALE’s enforcement of the ABC Commission’s regulations. There are two related issues that I don’t think are particular to North Carolina.  The first is, we have 3 separate interpretations of the rules governing brewers.  The ABC Commission, the ALE, and the brewers are all on different pages.  The ABC and ALE need to sit down with brewers all over the state and explain what the rules are and how they are enforced.  There are so many interpretations because most of the laws and rules were written 30 to 100 years ago. Instead of rewriting the laws to keep up with changing times, the laws have been reinterpreted and tinkered with to satisfy multiple competing constituencies.  By the way, if you’ve ever been in a bar when ALE agents roll in, they come in like Elliot Ness looking for a bunch of moonshiners.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 8/18/15

A quick Five Articles today.  I will post the last of the Porter/Stout reviews tonight.  It was fun and I learned a lot.