2013 was a great year for us and we want to thank you all for continuing to read and share our articles, tagging your photos #hookedonhops, and saying hello to us when we are out at a bar or festival. We appreciate all of it, and we are excited for what’s to come in 2014!
In the meantime, I have compiled the articles and topics that were the most popular over the past year. Enjoy! (more…)
Lagunitas’ CEO and founder Tony Magee took to Twitter late Thursday night with some interesting data about craft beer’s percentage of the beer market, and what that looks like for future growth, both with existing breweries, and with new breweries. It’s an interesting bit perspective from the 6th largest craft brewery in America, and I’ve always enjoyed Magee’s perspective on his business. I edited his statement slightly, only to fix all the “Twitter grammar,” to make it easier to read:
Was looking at IRA data. I added ALL the craft-type sales, meaning the narrow Brewers Association definition of craft beer, as well as Shock Top, Blue Moon, Craft Brewer’s Alliance brands, Guinness, Newcastle, etc… It turns out that the things y’all drink when y’all want flavor represent a freakin’ 12% market share, not the 6% share that is reported.
Could say that the extra 6% share represents the ACTUAL shortage of capacity within authentic craft beer. Makes building another brewery seem like a stoopid safe bet. I see Blue Moon & Shock Top, and the other faux beers as mere spackling in the cracks. A sort of beer-bondo that we can easily chip back out when we’re ready to use that market crevice ourselves. Maybe that sounds pompous, and maybe it is. And when I write ‘we’ I’m referring to all of us new brewers. Bottoms up!
In a recent newspaper thing I said that I thought Lagunitas could be as big as Anheuser Busch or MillerCoors. WTF does ‘big’ mean? Big is the result of something else. No one ‘owns’ big. It’s an artifact of your decision making. Could Lagunitas be that big? Sure. But in the end it’ll be up to you. We’ll just try. But like every mountain climber knows first hand, there’s nothing up there on the top. The trip is the thing, & we’re sure trippin’ lately.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to take part in a Lagunitas beer pairing dinner at Mandalay Bay’s Fleur. The event was organized by Certified Cicerone Sarah Johnson, Mandalay Bay’s director of food and beverage. The event was wonderfully executed, and featured not only great beer, but also very delicious food paired with it. Without further ado, let’s discuss the incredible dinner that took place!
Lagunitas’ pilsner was the first beer that we were given, to help whet our palates and prepare us for what was to come. This beer is extremely dry and crisp. It has the firm bitterness that pilsners should be known for, with a nice, grassy finish.
Certified Cicerone Sarah Johnson, director of food and beverage for Mandalay Bay, is hosting a beer pairing dinner along with Lagunitas head brewer Jeremy Marshall.
In addition to the below pairings, dessert includes tastings of 2009 ,2010, and 2011 vintages of Brown Shugga!
It is interesting to see craft beer grow into an industry as large as it has become. With this growth, invariably, comes matters of propositions, legislation, and taxes. Currently, Florida is trying to legalize the sale of 64oz growlers. Maryland just legalized on premise beer sales and consumption for breweries.
Taxes have a bit of a mixed reputation in this country, to put it lightly. With regards to the beer industry, this is no different. Currently, the Brewers Association is pushing to enact the Small BREW Act through congress. This act is seeking to amend the tax code to lower the rates of excise taxes brewers pay. Well, specifically the first 2 million barrels produced by a brewery making less than 6 million barrels of beer a year.
The craft beer industry is one of the fastest growing industries in America, and for the breweries making less than 60,000 barrels a year, the new proposition would cut their taxes in half. Considering the massive growth the industry has seen, and considering the continuation of this growth, these tax cuts would allow for continued growth, investment, and jobs being added to the economy. (more…)
Selling out happens when you forget why it is that you are in that position in the first place. It’s easy to believe your own press. In our case, we realize that, as ever, we still suck and have a lot of work to do to earn a place in the world. Like I said above, beer-lovers are driving our bus and we do respect the bus driver!
Lagunitas is probably the most amusing brewery there is. As seen above, Lagunitas CEO and founder, Tony Magee, tries to ensure that the brewery doesn’t take itself too seriously, ensures they have fun, and laughs at themselves whenever possible. Examples include the release of a butterfly knife-styled bottle opener, and releasing a beer called The Kronic. The name later got denied by the TTB, so it was renamed Censored. (more…)
Simply put, cask beer is a beer that is brewed and fermented, and then placed into essentially a small keg, where it is then conditioned and naturally carbonated through a secondary fermentation. The beer is transported to its serving location in this vessel and served directly from this vessel without the use of any additional pressure.
That being said, cask beer is delicious. Todd English’s PUB and Public House always have at least one cask beer available at any given moment. There are a couple other places in Las Vegas that also have cask beers available off and on. If you get the chance, try out one of these beers!
Here’s what to expect: (more…)
A shot of the festival grounds with local band Tribal Seeds
On October 20th, Motley Brews presented the follow-up to their 2012 Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer: The Las Vegas Downtown Brew Festival. After having a blast at the last Motley Brews presented festival, I was more than excited for this one. To start with, the location and timing of this event could not have been more perfect! The Clark County Amphitheater is a nice, large, outdoor venue, and the great October Vegas weather made for a phenomenal marriage!
For their first outing in 2011, I had complained that the event seemed disorganized, and way too compact. These problems were pretty much resolved on their second go around. This time, I can only tip my hat to the organizers and sponsors of this fantastic festival! We arrived a bit late (roughly 2:15 PM), but had no trouble finding parking in the large adjacent parking lot. Upon walking up to the entrance, we were quickly able to redeem our Groupons, and were inside and ready to drink within just a few minutes.
Upon entering, we made our way right to the Joseph James tent to try and wet our palettes with their R/D #11 Ginger Lemon Weizen. Thankfully, and remorsefully, we were able to get our hands on the very last drops, which may have proven to be the best beer I had the pleasure of experiencing. The beer tasted like a mix of spicy ginger ale with a refreshing lemon twist. I really hope this one sees a bottle release, as I want everyone to be able to taste this amazing local brew! Their other two R/D offerings did not disappoint either; both the Black Rye Session Pale and the Bourbon-Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout were quite the tasty offerings! Joseph James never ceases to amaze me when it comes to what they pull off for these special events. I will continue to look forward to more R/D batches, while still sipping on their great year-round fermented offerings.
Karl Herrera, the Las Vegas Beer Ranger, pouring some New Belgium brews
Our next stop was to the New Belgium tent to get a pour of their refreshing Shift Lager. Shift really is a perfect summertime beer with its light-body, and flavorfully crisp finish. While chatting with Las Vegas’ new Beer Ranger, Karl Herrera, he officially coined the term “Get Shift-faced!” which pretty much demands to be on the front of a T-shirt! New Belgium was also pouring their Red Hoptober, Ranger IPA, and of course, Fat Tire. Their Super IPA was also on display at the Get Hopped Up Tent, along with Stone 16th Anniversary IPA and Bear Republic’s Racer 5.
Tim and Alex from Tenaya Creek
From there we hit another local favorite in Tenaya Creek. They were happily pouring their new Dutch-style Belgium Tripel, Oktoberfest Lager, the recently bottled Hauling Oats Oatmeal Stout, and their iconic Hop Ride. Not to mention, they also decided to unveil a Hop Ride infused popcorn! Being a Las Vegas staple for years, you really can’t go wrong with anything that Anthony and Tim brew up. Their year round beers are top-notch, and their seasonal brews always leave you looking forward to the next one! If you haven’t been to the brewery yet, you should make it a point to do so. Hell, there’s a good chance you’ll see your’s truly at the bar sipping on a Hop Ride!
Another local staple, Big Dog’s Brewing Company was pouring just nearby. Their selections included Dirty Dog IPA, Las Vegas Lager, Lake Mead Monster Double Red Ale, and the Great American Beer Festival 2012 Silver Medal winning Red Hydrant Ale! Big Dog’s is another local brewery that you just can’t go wrong with! While I would have loved to have seen the seasonal Pumpkin Ale, or the monster that is War Dog IPA, I was more than pleased with what they had to offer! With 2 locations in the Valley, there is no reason not to stop by and grab a drink!
After making our rounds with the local breweries and New Belgium, we decided to hit the outside circle and try and get our hands on some beers we haven’t had before. Our next stops were to Tommyknocker’s and Moa. Tommyknockers, from Colorado, is fairly new to the Las Vegas craft brew scene. They had with them a nice assortment, including Vienna Amber Lager, Maple Nut Brown, Imperial Nut Brown, and a nice, mild, Pumpkin Ale. All of their offerings were solid, and can be found locally at this time.
Moa, from New Zealand, is a brewery that I have yet to try, but I’ve always been curious about. They had samplings of their Breakfast, Pale Ale, and Blanc Evolution. I only tasted the first two, but I was quite fond of both! As a nice contrast to most breakfast inspired stouts, Moa’s Breakfast had a bright, wheat, sweet cherry flavor that would pair nicely with a berry muffin or eggs. While it won’t be for everyone, I think it would be a nice substitute for a mimosa at brunch. The Pale Ale had a subtle citrusy hop nose and flavor, which was balanced by a bitter malt aftertaste.
From here, we went along the line, sampling well known beers from the likes of Dogfish Head (Namaste and Midas Touch), Firestone Walker (Pale 31, Union Jack), Sierra Nevada (Hoptimum, Pale Ale, Torpedo, Kellerweis), Lagunitas, Indian Wells, Three Monkeys, Chicago Brewing Co., and a newer name to the Las Vegas scene: Riley’s
To be honest, I had not heard much about Riley’s until this event. Riley’s is a smaller brewery from Madera, CA, who are in roughly their fifth year of existence. Their lineup consisted of: Sancha, which reminded me of a cross between a pale ale and a honey ale; Vixen: a coffee/chocolate inspired stout; and Wildcat IPA. All three were quite tasty brews, and show a lot of promise for this new brewery. I’ll be looking forward to what they decide too cook up next!
If there is one beer trend that I really enjoy, it’s the new “Session IPA/Pale Ale” trend. Something just appeals to me about a low ABV, flavorful IPA that won’t make you feel all nice and fuzzy after just one glass. Thankfully, one of our last stops, Ballast Point, brought along a beer that is a perfect pale ale for this occasion. Their Even Keel Pale Ale, was just fantastic, and perfect for this mild October day. It had a perfect pine aroma, with just enough citrus to hit your nose. The taste was quite the same, with a great dry finish that didn’t linger for too long. Not be outdone, they also brought along an arsenal of their other lovingly-crafted brews: Big Eye IPA, Calico Amber, Pale Ale, and the incomparable Sculpin IPA.
I can’t finish this without giving a shout-out to all of the food vendors that made it out to quench the hunger of the beer sipping crowd. From restaurant representatives to food trucks, there was something for everyone. Our eatery of choice ended up being Haulin’ Balls, who serve a variety of gourmet sandwiches based around, you guessed it, the meatball. The food was nothing short of remarkable, and I would recommend that any carnivore seek them out.
All in all, this may have been the most pleasant beer festival that I’ve had the opportunity to attend. A big thanks is in order to all the vendors, sponsors, and especially Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada for all the phenomenal brands that they helped bring together! As a group, we’d also like to thank any of our followers that found us and said hello. It’s always great to meet you guys in person, and we appreciate all of the kind words and constructive feedback that we receive.
In closing, if you have not had an opportunity to attend one of these festivals, then you are missing out! Do yourself a favor and make sure that you clear your calendar off and come out and have a blast! …I’m sure you’ll see us there!
Your’s truly filling in for Karl at New Belgium, while he took a well deserved bathroom break
India Pale Ale. Better known as it’s modern day, and less historically accurate cousin, IPA. One of the most popular craft beer styles in America, especially here on the west coast. In 2011, I had 52 different IPAs total. Of these 52 different IPA’s, I’ve managed to choose my favorite 10 that I had the pleasure of consuming this year. And by 10, I really mean 17. Enjoy, in no particular order:
Dogfish Head 120 Minute/90 Minute/60 Minute IPA/Aprihop
This might look like 4 different beers, but to me I see 4 different variations of the same beer. These are the most approachable of the IPAs, with more so a strong hop aroma and flavor rather than bitterness.
The 60 and 90 are available year round. The 120 is only available a handful of times a year, and is hard to find when it is. Aces and Ales happened to get it on tap and Whole Foods and Khoury’s sold out of the bottles immediately. Aprihop is a variation of the 60 Minute with apricots thrown in, available in the spring time.
Stone Cali-Belgique IPA/IPA
Stone IPA is one of my favorite IPAs and a great example of the “west-coast style IPA.” This is a strongly bitter beer with a bright, citrusy aroma. It is available nearly everywhere that sells beer and on tap at nearly all the PTs as well as Millers Alehouse and Yardhouse.
Cali-Belgique is the same beer, but made with a Belgian yeast strain. This is the best Belgian style IPA I’ve had. The Belgian yeast adds a little bit more fruitiness to the beer that compliments the citrus flavors.
Despite being a year-round brew for Stone, Cali-Belgique can only be periodically found in Las Vegas.
Lagunita’s Sucks Holiday Ale
Probably the heaviest hop aroma of all these beers, this IPA is incredible. Loads of sweet, citrusy aroma. Very sweet and smooth body and very drinkable.
This is only a seasonal ale that was brewed in place of Brown Shugga’. This is still available in bottles around town and is currently on tap at Tenaya Creek Brewery.
Coronado Cask Idiot IPA
Neither the cask version, or the normal version is available in Las Vegas. I had this beer in San Diego. I never had the normal version, but the cask version was probably the smoothest IPA I’ve had. It wasn’t overly bitter and had a bit less aroma then the other IPA’s on this list. Being as it was on cask however, is what made this beer stand out from the rest. Soft texture, lightly carbonated and full of earthy, piny hop flavor.
Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin IPA/Sculpin IPA
Sculpin IPA is one of the highest rated IPA’s on Untappd. It is another “west coast style” IPA in that it has a strong bitter bite with huge grapefruit flavors and aromas.
Ballast Point recently started distributing to Las Vegas, but are keeping Sculpin in California.
If you visit the brewery in San Diego, they may have Habanero Sculpin on tap. This is a version of Sculpin with habanero peppers thrown in. The pepper flavors compliment the hop bitterness perfectly, and it adds a nice burning finish!
Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA
A truly incredible and unique beer. This one had mixed reviews from people as they felt that the citrusy hops didn’t go well with florally aroma and tea flavor. Like I said, it’s very unique and I thought it was awesome. Sadly, it was only brewed once and was never available in Las Vegas.
Maui Flyin’ Hi.P.Hay/21st Amendment Hop Crisis
Technically two different beers from two different breweries, but I’m grouping these together as they were both amazing IPAs and both from cans. Both had amazing hop aroma bursting out of the can and a great citrusy flavor.
Maui Flyin’ Hi.P.Hay is apparently a limited release beer, but I feel like I saw it in town recently. Maybe not?
21st Amendment Hop Crisis is also a limited release beer and sadly, the brewery does not distribute to Nevada.
Dogfish Head Hellhound on my Ale
As you can tell, many of these IPAs are being described as “citrusy.” This beer actually was brewed with lemons! As such, it had a nice sweet lemony flavor pairing with the harsher citrus bite from the hops.
This was a special release beer commemorating blues guitarist Robert Johnson. It was brewed twice last year and may still be available in town.
Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Variation of the IPA style, a black IPA is both hoppy and roasty. This particular beer is probably the greatest black IPA there is. Very full bodied, soft texture and a wall of leafy hop aroma.
Brewed this summer for Stone’s 15 anniversary, there are no plans to brew this again. Good news is that it’s still available in town. I recently saw it at both Khoury’s and the Las Vegas Blvd Whole Foods. If you can’t find it, then you should try…
Stone Double Dry Hopped Sublimely Self Righteous Ale/Sublimely Self Righteous Ale
This beer is available year round in bottles and can be found on tap at Yardhouse. Sublimely Self Righteous Ale is very similar to Stone’s 15 Anniversary ale except there is a little less alcohol and less body making this less filling and more drinkable. Still has the wall of hop aroma that hits you right before your first sip, this is one of my favorite beers!
Earlier this year Aces and Ales had a double dry hopped variation. What this means is that there was even more hop aroma bursting out of the glass, making this an even more flavorful beer than it already is!
All of the above images were taken from the respective brewers’ websites.