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Sponsored: Oskar Blues Explores the Perks of Having an In-House Coffee Roaster

Sponsored: Oskar Blues Explores the Perks of Having an In-House Coffee Roaster

(Photo courtesy Oskar Blues Brewery) Presented by Oskar Blues Brewery.

While coffee beers are increasingly common, few breweries use an in-house coffee roaster to source beans from family farms in Ethiopia.

“There’s only a finite amount of this coffee in the world,” says Matt Herren of Hotbox Roasters. The company was founded in 2015 by Oskar Blues Brewery founder Dale Katechis, after he bought and learned how to roast on a small roaster as a hobby behind the brewery in Longmont, Colorado.

Herren isn’t being hyperbolic. This particular bean is grown and harvested on a family farm near the community of Banko Gotiti, located in the southern district of Gedeb, Ethiopia. Bedhatu Jibicho, now in her 80s, has almost single handedly run the farm since the 1960s. Her three children (with degrees in forestry, social and environmental development and business management) have recently returned to grow the family business. So minimal is the quantity, Hotbox Roasters can’t even package the beans in its Crowler cans, which it sells through a subscription coffee service and in its […]

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Foreign Exchange: American Beer Styles, Brands Capture Attention of Drinkers Abroad

Foreign Exchange: American Beer Styles, Brands Capture Attention of Drinkers Abroad

(Illustration by Jeff Quinn) Ben Beinhardt has lived in Germany all his life, surrounded by hundreds of years of brewing tradition and some of the most iconic brands the world has known. He still fondly recalls his first Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, made at a brewery that’s been around since 1877, and his excitement at drinking a beer steeped in Bavarian heritage. He also favors Augustiner-Bräu, which started brewing in 1328, and its Edelstoff and Lagerbier Hell brands.

But honestly, he wouldn’t mind an American IPA, either.

“I think it’d be great if we had new beers coming into the country and you get younger people to drink them,” says Beinhardt, 35, a resident of Stuttgart in the country’s southwest Baden-Württemberg state. “Developing a new beer culture in Germany would be tremendous and help our beer scene, but it would also take a lot of time and money.”

Maybe something like the $25 million Stone Brewing spent to open its production facility in Berlin? Beinhardt isn’t sure yet, but after a trip to the United States in 2014 […]

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Northern Monk Double Heathen

Northern Monk Double Heathen

Pull on a blindfold and inhale. This is a big, chunky beer right from the first sniff. Actually, that blindfold might come in handy if presentation is important to you. This is a murky beer with a disconcerting appearance, but once other senses kick in, the fog lifts. This full-bodied and warming beer is very quaffable for 10%. The IBUs are 70, but you’d never know it as it’s initially sweet, with a hint of caramel. Lemon, grapefruit and tangy pine are then delivered by a firm punch of hops that join with alcohol in the dry, gum-tingling finish.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. The brewery is based in an old flax mill in Leeds, a city that was once the industrial powerhouse of Yorkshire. It’s a modern concept with—borrowing the monastic habit—a refectory where visitors can drop by for a […]

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Blacks of Kinsale World’s End

Blacks of Kinsale World’s End

World’s End
Kinsale, County Cork , Ireland

Cocoa-bean husks and Madagascan vanilla pods are added to this beer’s imperial stout base. A beer labeled “chocolate vanilla stout” screams luxury—rich, silky creaminess, perhaps even a pudding in a glass. Well, this Irish beer doesn’t disappoint in flavor. It’s brimful of velvety milk chocolate and has a coffee note suggestive of espresso without being as bitter. Boldness continues into the dry finish, with deep chocolate and coffee eventually giving way to hop bitterness. Crucially, however, the body and texture are not too full and thick, which is a bonus for beer connoisseurs but perhaps a minor disappointment to those looking to enjoy this as a dessert in its own right.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. Husband-and-wife team Sam and Maudeline Black launched their brewery in 2013 as part of the fast-moving Irish […]

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Wicklow Wolf American Amber

Wicklow Wolf American Amber

The joy of a fine amber ale is the harmony between delicate caramel from the malt and fragrant fruitiness from the hops. This Irish beer is very well-made from that point of view and is loaded with flavor. The malt character is smooth and mellow, supporting orange and floral notes from the hops that waft around on the palate. Is it perhaps a touch too sweet? Maybe, but it’s a minor criticism that’s soon assuaged by the tangy hops in the dry, firmly bitter, robust finish, with lingering citrus peel and pine having the final say.

Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide , The Book of Beer Knowledge , Beer Lover’s Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com. The brewery in Bray is so named because the last wolf in Ireland was seen in the area, and the brewers happily link that to Humulus lupulus , the Latin tag for the hop plant. The beer has an entrancing […]

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Great Raft You, Me and Everyone We Know

Great Raft You, Me and Everyone We Know

You, Me and Everyone We Know
Shreveport , Louisiana

This American wild ale incorporates various strains of Brettanomyces and 600 pounds of Louisiana peaches. Pouring a hazy, sunny golden hue, a thin, off-white head quickly dissipates, leaving just a slight suggestion of foam around the sides of the glass. That said, the carbonation is just enough to tease the nose with hints of peach, chardonnay, a touch of wood and sour notes. Those tantalizing aromas don’t lie. With its tartness balanced just enough by Louisiana peaches, this beer is interesting on its own, but also can play a supporting role. I’d pair it with a rocker on a sunny front porch on the bayou, with nothing else scheduled except more of the same.

Lisa Morrison has been writing about beer for nearly 20 years. She also owns Belmont Station, a well-known bottle shop and taproom in Portland, Oregon. The satisfying hiss is what you hear, the hazy yellow liquid is what you see, but it’s the Brett that speaks first. “Farm!” it blurts, […]

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Orpheus Serpent Bite

Orpheus Serpent Bite

Serpent Bite
Atlanta , Georgia

This dry-hopped release combines the brewery’s love of hops and
sour beers. It was recently made a year-round offering. Sometimes “dry-hopped” and “sour” in the same beer description frightens me. I’ve had a few that miss the mark by being too much of one or the other, and with two strong, possibly competing components duking it out, your palate often suffers. But Orpheus charms your taste buds with a deftly balanced one-two punch of citrusy hoppiness and a lemony tartness. Not overly complex, this beer snakes its way between sour and hoppy without ever really being either, slithering in a touch of funkiness before ending on a delightfully dry finish.

Lisa Morrison has been writing about beer for nearly 20 years. She also owns Belmont Station, a well-known bottle shop and taproom in Portland, Oregon. Deep yellow and translucent, this beer raises a fine white foam. The aroma is an odd amalgam of pickles, wet stone and tropical fruit (you kinda had to be there). The broad acidity […]

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Trumer Pils

Trumer Pils

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a Trumer in the de rigueur green glass bottle, and when I did, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some fresh bottles—despite the occasional scuttlebutt about skunky bottles here and there. So I was pretty stoked to see the lovely, balanced, German-style pilsner showing up in cans! Trumer Pils in cans is exactly what you would expect: fresh, lemony herbal hop notes, a medium body, nice effervescence and a crisp, dry finish. Thanks to the cans, a deliciously portable prost!

Lisa Morrison has been writing about beer for nearly 20 years. She also owns Belmont Station, a well-known bottle shop and taproom in Portland, Oregon. Snap! goes the handsome can, and the pale golden beer tumbles bright, the foam bouncing up. The aroma is sweetly malty with just the faintest whiff of sulfur (I like that. … It smells like a brewery). Light floral hops bloom over the malt. The bitterness is nicely focused, the malt holds firm and dry through the center, and […]

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Goodwood Brandy Barrel Honey Ale

Goodwood Brandy Barrel Honey Ale

Here’s a beer that Michael Jackson would have enjoyed. He wrote classic books, not only about beer but spirits, too, as the two have much in common. Goodwood brings it down home with a drink the color of honey, the flavor of malt and the soul of barrel-aged brandy. Big ecru head, spicy nose and fruity taste buzzes in my head as I consider food combinations: Oregonzola, Cougar Gold, and Off Kilter artisan cheeses accompanied by Honeycrisp apples, Goldenrod honey and a shot of gold-medal-winning Jepson Mendocino Alambic brandy, a sweet choice!

Charles Finkel is founder of Merchant du Vin and the Pike Brewing Co. Finkel is a pioneer in the marketing of beers in America. Beautifully clear chestnut brown ale. The aroma takes me back to judging supreme homebrew competition winners; brews with complexity and individual uniqueness. Delicious full-flavored “good” oxidation and wood character combine with deep notes of caramel and immense toffee. Certainly honey has contributed to the memorable personality of this divine beer. A religious experience. Not overly hopped, so the […]

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Lesson’s From Speakeasy’s Closure

Lesson's From Speakeasy's Closure

Yesterday afternoon, San Francisco’s Speakeasy Brewery shuttered their doors. A tweet came out followed by this announcement : "Speakeasy Ales & Lagers has been forced to immediately cease brewing, packaging, and tap room operations at their San Francisco brewery for an indefinite period of time. Difficulty securing capital investment and outstanding debt obligations led to this difficult and painful decision. The company’s primary creditor will determine the future of the brewery and brand, and no decision or further information is available at this time."
"According to Speakeasy founder and CEO, Forest Gray, ‘The brewery has worked with multiple investment banking groups and have had numerous meetings. One fact has become central to the process, and that is the company is financially insolvent and requires new capital to move forward. Whether that will happen is unclear, but I do hope the brewery and brand will persist.’" It was an unexpected announcement and I haven’t seen any description of the particulars, but I think we can infer quite a bit from this : In 2015, […]