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Jan/Feb Mutineer Letter From the Editor

Beverage News

42012, Or, as we say on the glorious streets of fine beverage, the Year of the Mutineer, which should be noted is based on a proprietary calendar created by myself in which every year is inherently the “Year of the Mutineer”.

Like always, the year begins with a two and a half day hangover brought on by the enthusiasm for a fresh start in the proverbial sense, and I hope your festivities served you well. The cosmic significance of a new year is not to be underestimated, and as your fine beverage attorney I strongly recommend creating some New Year’s resolutions to set yourself up for a year of respectable drinking and favorable liquid karma.

As drinking evangelists of the highest order, you should expand your palate in every conceivable way and embark on delicious adventures to the beverage regions and producers that are the temples and gods of your liquid religion. Learn new cocktails, read more drink books and seek out more tastings and events. Yes, the time is now to bask in the sunshine of the modern drink experience and soak it in for all it’s worth.

Fine beverage culture in the year 2012 is looking like it is primed for great things. We find ourselves in the heart of a magnificent drink movement that is equal parts renaissance and revolution, and the momentum only continues to build with absolutely no idea how deep the rabbit hole goes.

“There was madness in any direction, at any hour.. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning… And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave …”Hunter S. Thompson

Godspeed,

Alan Kropf, Editor in Chief



Samuel Adams Brewers Unveil A New Spring Seasonal Beer

Beer

Samuel Adams Alpine Spring

BOSTON, Jan. 13, 2012 — The brewers at Samuel Adams have crafted a brand new seasonal beer, Samuel Adams Alpine Spring. This beer has the balanced maltiness and hoppiness of a helles, the strength and smoothness of a bock, and the unfiltered haze of a kellerbier. Although it’s categorized as an unfiltered wheat lager, this one-of-a-kind beer transcends any one style, and the crisp, citrus flavor notes make it a perfect offering for spring.

To create Samuel Adams Alpine Spring, the brewers sourced a German Noble hop variety called Tettnang-Tettnanger, steadily cultivated on vines dating back 100 years in hop gardens at the foothills of the Alps. The beer is brewed using only hops from this region — approximately half a pound per barrel — which gives the beer a bright, orange-citrusy aroma.

Although it’s being released for the first time this month, Samuel Adams Alpine Spring was awarded a pre-release gold medal in the Munich-Helles category at the Beverage Testing Institute’s recent World Beer Championship with an “exceptional” score of 93.

Samuel Adams Alpine Spring will be available nationwide from January to April in six-packs, with a suggested retail price of $7.99.



So You Want to be an Absinthe Connoisseur Part 3: Tasting Events

Spirits

Brian Huff - No tasting

Photo Credits: Brian Huff Photography

If you’ve been reading our absinthe connoisseur series of posts, and doing your homework (a.k.a. drinking!), you’ve probably developed a nice base of education, giving you some fluency in absinthe conversation.  You’re also probably yearning to share your newfound knowledge with others.  I know of no other drink that creates so many proselytiser as absinthe does.  If you’ve come to the decision that you’d like to introduce a group of people to absinthe, why not host a tasting event?

Absinthe tasting events can be both a bonding experience amongst friends and like-minded individuals as well as a very educational opportunity.  However, different situations call for different types of tasting events.  A gathering of friends on a Saturday night over pizza probably wouldn’t work well with a double blind formal tasting.  Nor would a gathering of absintheurs intent upon formal scoring for publication purposes call for an informal type of tasting.  So today’s article will go through both types of events, giving you the ability to conduct either type.  We’ll start by describing how to do an informal tasting, and then list the modifications you’ll need to make in order to produce a formal one.

 

Both types of tastings will need the following:

  • A well-lit venue which will allow each person to have a comfortable seat, writing space, and view of the absinthe ritual.  For most tastings, something as simple as a dining room will work perfectly.
  • A Wormwood Society Scoresheet and Tasting Instructions (or your own WS Tasting Journal) and pen/pencil for each taster – make sure to have enough scoring sheets for each absinthe.
  • Several bottles of absinthe – we recommend no more than three or four per tasting as absinthe tends to anethetise the palate after more than that.
  • Simple Syrup (sugar and water mixed at 1.5 cups of sugar to 1 cup water) – ideally, have a dropper bottle full of simple syrup at each seat.
  • Tasting glasses – enough for each taster to have a clean glass for each absinthe (i.e. 5 tasters and 4 absinthes = 20 glasses).  It’s helpful if these are marked at .5 ounce, 2 ounce and 3 ounce levels if the tasters will be preparing their own.
  • Plenty of pure spring water and ice.
  • Either an absinthe fountain or small individual water carafes or pitchers (water bottles with the pull out spout will also do in a pinch).
  • Table water crackers for palate cleansing – Palate cleansing beverages such as Santasti are another plus.

Absinthe Tasting

Preparation: Self prepared, or pre-prepared?

The first thing you’ll want to figure out is whether you’ll want everyone to prepare their own glasses, or whether you’d like to hand out samples that have been already prepared.  There are pros and cons to each.  By having each person prepare their own glass, it becomes a much more tactile experience, but it also could lead to improper preparation.  You’ll also need more accessories, or a fountain with more spigots to be able to accommodate the needs of each taster.

Brian Huff - NO tasting 1On the other hand, if you prepare the samples for them, you can prepare one large glass of absinthe, then decant it into each taster’s glass.  This ensures that each taster starts with an absinthe that has been prepared to the exact same ratio of water to absinthe.  You can prepare the one large glass in front of the tasters in order to let them observe the louche process.   For this approach, you’ll want to prepare 0.5 oz. of absinthe for each taster.  So, if you have 4 tasters, then you’ll be preparing 2 oz. of absinthe in the glass.

Since absinthes vary so widely in alcoholic proof and herbal robustness, each will have its own particular ratio that showcases its character best. It’s recommended to first prepare the absinthe at a dilution of 3:1 (3 parts water to 1 part absinthe).  If the panelist customarily uses sugar, it may be added after this first taste.  Just a few drops of simple syrup should suffice.

Careful observation of the remaining criteria should follow, tasting the absinthe at gradually increasing dilutions. Some absinthes will reveal their “sweet-spot” at as low as 3:1, while others may stand up to as much as 6:1. More sugar may be added as desired.

Have each taster review the tasting instructions as they progress through the different review qualities such as aroma, taste, and finish, assigning a number to each quality.  Each reviewer should jot down their own personal notes about each category as well.  Encourage them to explain what they are experiencing, and discourage them from trying to pick out individual herbs.  Most people won’t know what melissa, coriander, or wormwood really taste like, but they could describe lemon zest, white pepper, mint, chocolate, etc.

See the full post »



Cease and Desist Letters Can Be Fun – Freetail Brewing Co. and Hopasaurus Rex

Beer

Nobody likes it when craft breweries attack other craft breweries. Most of the time, a simple phone call to the other brewery would resolve whatever minor issue there was. We saw this with Russian River Brewing and Avery Brewing who both had a beer called Salvation. Instead of fighting it, they embraced it and blended the two Salvations together and Collaboration Not Litigation Ale was born. But other times, as was the case with Lost Abbey suing Moylan’s Brewery over the use of similar (and trademarked) tap handles, it goes a different route and ends up in a lawsuit.

Today, another situation came to light. This time involving Freetail Brewing from San Antonio, Texas and a redacted brewery. If you look hard enough in the blacked out text under the date, it’s a brewery from Eugene, Oregon and if I had to guess I’d say it’s probably Steelhead Brewing. The situation involved the use of a trademarked name, Hoposaurus Rex, for a beer which the redacted brewery is accusing Freetail of using.

Below, find the pure winning response of Freetail Brewing.

Freetail Brewing

Freetail Brewing

That is awesome.


2 comments 01.11.2012 |

Federal agency cancels water delivery to Pa. town

Beverage News

WaterThe global water crisis is terrible. People in third world countries are left without clean drinking water and resort to drinking water that will make them sick or even kill them and even then, that contaminated water isn’t easy to get. But what about when it happens in our own country? What about when it’s something we caused? And what about when government officials don’t take the proper steps to fix the situation?

Unfortunately that is what’s happening in Allentown, Pennsylvania where the local water source has been contaminated by a natural gas drilling operation. At first, it looked like they would be taken care of as The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promised to truck in potable water for the city’s residents. Only 24 hours after making that promise, they quickly changed their position and said a tanker wouldn’t be coming after all.

Michael Rubinkamof the Associated Press wrote about the situation:
Eleven families who sued Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. expected water from the EPA to arrive either Friday or Saturday. They say they have been without a reliable source of water since Cabot won permission from state environmental regulators to halt deliveries more than a month ago.

Cabot, which was banned in 2010 from drilling in a 9-square-mile area around the village, took legal responsibility for the Dimock methane contamination, but contends water wells in the area were already tainted with methane long before the company arrived. The company also says it met a state deadline to restore or replace Dimock’s water supply, installing treatment systems in some houses that have removed the methane.

But homeowners say their wells are tainted with methane gas and toxic chemicals that are used in hydraulic fracturing, a technique in which water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep underground to free natural gas from dense rock deposits.
Dimock resident Craig Sautner said an EPA staffer in Philadelphia told him Saturday the water delivery was canceled. He said the EPA staffer, on-scene coordinator Rich Fetzer, would not explain why.

“You can’t be playing with people’s lives like this,” said Sautner, whose well was polluted in September 2008, shortly after Cabot began drilling in the area.

Sautner and the other homeowners had been relying on deliveries of bulk water paid for by anti-drilling groups, but the last delivery was Monday, and some of them ran out.

After the EPA delivery fell through Saturday, the environmental group Water Defense, founded by actor Mark Ruffalo, said it would send a tanker from Washingtonville, N.Y., on Sunday to replenish the residents’ supply.


1 comment 01.10.2012 |

Fine Beverage Photo Blog: Samuel Adams New World Tripel

Beer

Sam Adams New World Tripel

This photo comes to us from Mutineer Photography Henchman Phil Jimcosky and features Samuel Adams New World Tripel. Pale gold in color, this ale is big, flavorful and complex. A special Belgian yeast strain adds tropical fruit and spice notes to the crisp dry ale, while Saaz hops add a subtle herbal note. It is part of their Barrel Room Collection.

To view more of Phil’s photography that features food, beverage and beyond, visit his blog Food Aperture.

Do you have a photo you’d like considered for the Fine Beverage Photo Blog? Email us at general@mutineermagazine.com!



Founders Brewing Company to Release All Day IPA Session Ale

Beer

Founders Brewing All Day IPA

Founders, one of my favorite midwest craft breweries, just announced that they will be releasing an IPA session ale a month from today which will remain in their year-round lineup. I’m really excited about this beer and can’t wait to try it.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 6, 2012— Founders Brewing Co.’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Dave Engbers, announced today that All Day IPA would be the next addition to the brewery’s year-round lineup, with availability limited to Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, and the greater Chicago area beginning on February 6, 2012.

All Day IPA is a session ale that has the traditional qualities of an India Pale Ale with significantly lower alcohol. At 4.7% ABV, the beer is highly drinkable, but maintains the intense tropical aromatics and complex flavors consistent with Founders’ portfolio.

This beer was in development for nearly three years before the brewery perfected it. Then, the All Day IPA recipe won the silver medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Due to capacity constraints and multiple expansions, Founders Brewing Company now feels they are prepared to launch their first year-round product since 2006. Limited distribution is due to the soft hop harvest. “We will never compromise a recipe in order to increase sales,” explains Engbers.

“It’s the beer that almost wasn’t,” says Co-Founder, President & CEO Mike Stevens. “It’s tough to brew and gave us more than one problem throughout its development. But then we realized that this is the beer we’d all been waiting for.”

Engbers adds, “We pride ourselves on only putting beers in bottles that we would pick out on the shelves ourselves—and we’re picky beer drinkers…it would be just wrong not to be bottle All Day IPA.”

The last beer that Founders added to its year-round six-pack and draft lineup was Red’s Rye PA in 2006.

Founders Brewing Company opened their doors in 1997 with the vision of creating some of the most unique craft beer in the world. Today, Founders has a loyal following, with several beers lauded nationally and internationally as award winners in their respective categories. They are currently rated the second highest brewery in the world by ratebeer.com.


1 comment 01.06.2012 |

The California Growler Initiative

Beer

California GrowlersNo one is to say for sure if these online petitions actually make an impact, but this is a law that would be nice to see changed. In many states, one can get nearly any size or type of growler or container filled with beer. It can be brewery specific or a $4.99 non-marked growler. In California, a weird law requires a brewery to only fill a growler that they sold and with their branding. That means the Russian River Brewing, Alpine Beer Co and FiftyFifty Brewing growlers that you paid $30 each for are only good at those establishments and when you’re not using them, they’re going to be taking up a lot of space sitting on the shelf.

But why? Why make people waste additional money on something they already have? Why waste more glass making someone purchase something they already have eight others of? It’s redundant and a waste of money and resources. Personally, I don’t buy growlers now that I’m in California because most breweries seem to sell expensive, branded growlers that cost $20-30 for the glass itself, not counting the $10-20+ beer you’re filling it with. Some people collect growlers, that’s awesome, but I don’t want a closet full of hundreds of dollars worth of growlers that aren’t being used but I need to keep in case I go back for a growler fills during my travels.

With the help of Governor Jerry Brown, California has been making some headway in frivolous laws pertaining to alcohol like the ban on infusing spirits and burdensome beer tasting room requirements and hopefully a change can be made here.

Currently in the State of California, if you buy a growler container it can only be filled with beer from the brewery that sold that growler. You can’t put Stone beer into a Sierra Nevada growler.

So how about creating a Brewed in California growler that can filled at any of the growing amount of breweries in California? Beer tourists from around the world would love to have Kern River’s Citra or Eagle Rock’s Revolution XPA!

It would be something that tourists from out of state could have as a souvenir and something that people from California could use when they travel to San Diego or Santa Barbara or San Francisco.

It would also be more eco-friendly. One, re-usable container for multiple beers. And I firmly believe it would spur more beer purchases which would help a small niche industry grow and create new jobs.

If you would like to travel from Truckee to Temecula and try great craft beer, then please sign my petition.

Click here to sign the petition.


7 comments 01.06.2012 |

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