By: Draft Magazine
Colorado Vixnu Imperial IPA: This 9.5%-ABV Brazilian brew reimagines an IPA with Rapadura cane sugar, which weaves tasty burnt sugar notes through peachy hops and toasted bread flavors.
Founders Sweet Repute: Residual syrup inside the maple barrels that aged this 12.6%- ABV wheat wine kick-started an unintentional secondary fermentation and laced the brew with lip-smacking sweetness.
Beer bellies, the traditional male malady, are enough to put either sex off the idea of downing a cold one. But they’re a fallacy, says Charlie Bamforth, PhD, chair and professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis, and author of Beer: Health and Nutrition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004). “This is a silly myth. If folks get fat from drinking beer, it’s because their total calorie intake is too high, and they are not working it off.”
Arenas and stadiums are awash in craft beers as teams and concessionaires seize the opportunity to capitalize on the trend toward specialty brews.
The U.S. now has more than 2,500 breweries, more than at any point in history, and more than 1,600 are in the planning stages, reported USA Today. Almost all of them are craft brewers.
After six years of making this annual list, we had to rethink the definition of a top-notch beer bar. New ones are opening every second, and “good beer bar” no longer equals a zillion taps; there’s just more to it now. We needed to walk out of these places saying, “Now there’s a bar that really, really cares about your experience with beer.” So what does that mean? Having well-cared for, thoughtfully selected beer with an eye toward variety, trends and tradition, in the kind of place you’d want to stay awhile, delivered by someone who knows their stuff. We don’t want to send you to a place where the server doesn’t look up from her texting when you ask questions, or where you’ll be told a saison “is basically a lager.” (And yes, both of those things happened on our visits.) We’d rather you to go to ChurchKey in D.C., where beers are smartly grouped by flavor (citrusy, woodsy, etc.), rather than just by style. We want you to go to Bailey’s Taproom in Portland, Ore., which cares so much about beer freshness, the digital menu says when each keg was tapped and how much is left. We want you to go to all 100 of these places, because they really are a cut above the rest.
It appears that 2014 will be another great year for beer consumers. With more than 2,500 breweries in operation and another 1,500 in planning, there has never been a better time to be a beer drinker. While brewers continue to push the innovation envelope, here are three things beer drinkers can expect to see in 2014.
Lower alcohol in session
Look for more brewers to balance out their portfolios with more sessionable beer offerings in the year ahead.
Oreo + Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout: Forget milk; this is dunkability. A gorgeous chocolate, vanilla and bourbon-laced brew melds seamlessly with Oreo cocoa/white frosting sweetness, while the cookie’s crunch finds a friend in the dry barrel notes.
Peanut butter cookie + Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti: Peanut butter flavor fits snugly between this oatmeal-smooth imperial stout’s prickly roast and silky chocolate (think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups). Best of all, the P.B. turns shell-dry in the beer’s ashy finish for an amazingly clean end.
Just months after winning five medals and being named Best Mid-Sized Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival, Long Beach’s Beachwood BBQ and Brewing has garnered even more acclaim for its beers.
DRAFT Magazine, the country’s largest bi-monthly magazine dedicated to craft beer, named Beachwood Six–a smoked black saison brewed to commemorate the sixth birthday of the Long Beach brewpub’s sister Seal Beach location–one of the 25 best beers of 2013.
In the magazine’s end-of-the-year issue, DRAFT’s beer editor Christopher Staten listed Beachwood Six along with 24 other bottled brews as ones that defined unpredictable beers that played on traditional beer styles while celebrating weirdness and experimentalization.
Your beachside oyster shack may just have lager to offer, but if you’re bringing your own beer to the oyster table, you might discover some really amazing combinations when oysters and beer get together. We asked our crew of beer experts about their favorite beer pairings for oysters, both the just-shucked raw kind and grilled and fried options.
Craft’s strong year off-premise has continued through the beginning of autumn. In the October 6th four-week scan data released by the IRI group on October 18th, craft volume accelerated, showing a 17.6% increase from the same period a year ago. That raised craft’s year-to-date volume increase up to 16.4%, up from 15.2% this summer. Craft retail dollars also increased by 20.0% for the period versus a year ago, and are up 18.7% year-to-date. All beer volume has recovered slightly from the summer, and is now down only -0.3% in volume YTD in the IRI numbers, up from being down -1.1% YTD in the June/July numbers.
Unlike gains during the summer, this month’s growth occurred without price cutting, as the price per case of craft in the IRI data increased 45 cents from the previous month, up to $34.12 during the four week period. Overall YTD prices are up 2.0% from the previous year, about a point above the U.S. inflation rate of 1.2% through September. The total beer category saw a slight price increase during the month of 16 cents versus the previous month, largely driven by the growing market share of craft and domestic super premium, and declines in the lower priced domestic premium and domestic sub-premium categories. Overall beer case prices are up 2.9% year-to-date.
More restaurants are tapping into expanded craft-beer programs as the popularity of smaller brewers has increased along with the number of those brewers.
From players who have their own on-site breweries to casual-dining chains, the segment is growing. And craft beer continues to turn consumers’ heads, research shows.
“Outpacing its competitive beer segments of domestic and imported beer brands, craft beer has kept an upward trajectory throughout the economic downturn and subsequent slow recovery,” said Jennifer Zegler, beverage analyst with the Mintel market research consultancy in a December report.
As of June 30 last year, the United States had 2,126 breweries, and 2,075 of those were craft brewers, according to the industry’s Brewers Association trade group.
Mintel research found that craft and craft-style beer sales were on pace to nearly double between 2007 and 2012 — increasing from nearly $5.7 billion in sales to just short of $12 billion in 2012. The report noted that those gains were impressive, as the rest of the beer category had shown flat to declining performance in the wake of the recession.
“Fueling the growth has been changing alcohol consumption patterns in which consumers, especially Millennials of legal drinking age, prefer to drink a variety of beer, wine and spirits,” the report said.
Big Week Toasts Small Breweries Across All 50 States
For the eighth consecutive year, the Brewers Association has declared American Craft Beer Week® (ACBW), a celebration of U.S. craft brewers across the country. Last year, ACBW was celebrated by breweries, brewpubs and retailers in all 50 states with over 1,300 official events. More than 35,000 beer lovers (now up to more than 45,000) were part of the Facebook community alone, undoubtedly making 2012 the largest celebration of ACBW yet.
From May 13-May 19, the tradition will continue and ACBW will provide an opportunity for small and independent brewers, craft beer enthusiasts and the community of better beer retailers to celebrate the ever advancing beer culture here in the U.S. Events will include exclusive brewery tours, special beer releases, multi-course food and pairing dinners, collaboration beers, retail promotions and much more.
While there are an estimated 50 state and regional beer weeks throughout the year, ACBW celebrates the amalgamation of these events, offering craft beer fans everywhere options to learn about, enjoy and share the beverage they love. This comes at a time when America’s craft beer industry is thriving, with over 2,300 small and independent breweries responsible for not only advancing the food arts world, but pouring money into the economy via tourism and jobs while creating an overall vibrant craft beer scene nationwide. America’s craft brewers are certainly something to celebrate.
Visit the official American Craft Beer Week events calendar, for a full list of local celebrations in all 50 states.
Article source: CraftBeer.com