Sunday, March 12, 2017

THE BEER BEAT: Highlights but no Lites, or a beer news roundup.

Leading it off, NABC recently retrofitted the Maheen to fill 12-ounce bottles. The six-year "bomber" experiment has concluded, and now there are 4-packs of Hoptimus to compete for retail shelf space. In addition, these new packages can be found at both NABC locations.

Coincidentally, as I ponder the most recent effort (fingers crossed) to bring the NABC buyout saga to a conclusion, All About Beer offers a wonderful tip about the power of realism.


Imagine starting a brewery on a shoestring, cobbling together a small system, making just one barrel of beer at a time. Then, after working tirelessly to reach a point where demand exceeds capacity, miraculously being able to move into a new location already outfitted with the exact equipment needed to expand. Improbable? Not quite.

In some cases, breweries can start or scale easily, without any break in production of beer, when they move into a location previously occupied by another beer company.

It's far too good of an idea to make sense in my situation, so let's turn to sad news from the left coast.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers to Cease Operations Indefinitely

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.

Those words: capital investment, debt obligations, primary creditor. You embark on a crusade to change the world, and capitalism intervenes, reminding you that the monetary "powers that be" aren't really interested in the world changing, unless they get paid. Viva la Sanders!

Returning closer to home, the over-hyped advent of Yuengling has been like a clever litmus test to gauge the localism commitment of area pubs and eateries. In short, which beer was taken off tap to make room for another corn-laden adjunct lager, albeit family-owned and yes, to be defined as "craft"?

NUVO gets straight to the heart of the anti-matter.

12 local Indiana lagers to drink instead of Yuengling, by Cavan McGinsie (NUVO)

If you're one of the many people who doesn't really care that another macrobrew is coming to Indianapolis — whether it be due to their political leanings or if you just prefer to support your local business owners and the kickass beer that they make right here in Indiana — we're here to provide you a few locally-crafted lagers.

Speaking of Indiana-brewed ...

7th Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival

Choose from hundreds of beers to sample from 50+ Hoosier breweries and guests at the Brewers of Indiana Guild's annual spring fundraiser. #BtownBfest returns to Historic Woolery Mill for the seventh and possibly final time before we move to a new location, so don't miss out on your chance to support Indiana's brewers through this one-of-a-kind experience.

At some point soon, the unique Woolery Mill site is to be redeveloped and the festival will move to another location in Bloomington. As an aside, during my time as a Brewers of Indiana Guild board member, there were many discussions about staging a smaller event along the lines of the one at Woolery Mill, but at a Southern Indiana venue, serving as an Indiana beer showcase for the Louisville metro market. An autumn fest slot remains open.

Just saying.

As for Louisville news items, here are three. First, as introduction to one of my recent favorite local beer profiles, kudos for use of the word "predicaments" in a headline. What's more, the folks at Drinkswell are wonderful, and how many brewing system contractors have their own taproom?

Drinkswell keeps beer flowing from taps, despite wild ‘predicaments’, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

Drinkswell’s main focus is setting up brewing systems for restaurants, breweries, venues and more – it’s the only business of its kind in Kentucky, in fact. Bullen has been a beer enthusiast since he began homebrewing at age 16 while growing up in Canada. A former professional brewer for the now-defunct Hops chain of brewpubs, among other breweries, Bullen opened Drinkswell in 2005 because, “I think I realized I wanted to stay in the beer business, but I wanted to work for myself.”

In addition to the never-a-dull-moment installation and repair work, Drinkswell also is home to a cozy craft beer taproom — open to the public Wednesday through Saturday — in its headquarters inside Butchertown Market Building. Not that Bullen gets to spend much time there, given he’s on the road so frequently; his car is less than a year old, and there’s already 20,000 miles on the odometer. One of the two Drinkswell service trucks has 300,000 miles on it – and it’s a 2011 model.

Over in Germantown, the Eiderdown's reboot is drawing plaudits. The chronicler Gibson focuses on food, but the beer selection also has been overhauled to feature more German styles.

Eiderdown’s new menu highlights Germantown roots at a nice price

Not long after Germantown Craft House abruptly closed late last year, Eiderdown suddenly announced it also would close temporarily to revamp its menu, leaving residents in Germantown wondering what the heck was going on.

But Craft House is now reborn as Goss Ave. Pub, and Eiderdown has since reopened with a new menu that focuses not only on Germain culinary traditions, but also price-friendly options designed to keep people coming back.

I'm almost three weeks late on the latest brewery opening, so allowing for a quick catch-up, a hearty welcome to Holsopple.

East End brewery is opening today, by David A. Mann (Louisville Business First)

Holsopple Brewing Co., at 8023 Catherine Lane in Lyndon, just north of New La Grange Road, opens today.

We first told you about this new spot last June. Wife-and-husband team Kristy Holsopple and Sam Gambill, both of who are career beer brewers, have developed the brewery.

For reviews of the beers, go to LEO Weekly for Syd Bishop's careful analysis.

Finally, with St. Patrick's Day landing on a Friday in 2017, a weekend of sheer chaos is assured. Blog readers are perfectly capable of surveying the landscape for establishments in which to celebrate, and as you'd imagine, I recommend your friendly local brewery. Given the circumstances, 2017 also would be a fine year for symbolism, so dying Yuengling green might actually be funny -- or maybe orange would be more appropriate in at least two different but complementary ways.

If you're interested in learning the St. Patrick's Day rules, read all about them in this reprint from 2016.

ON THE AVENUES: Erin Go Blagh -- a timeless classic for a green-hued holiday.

· Not only is the "Irish Car Bomb" (a pint glass half full of Guinness with a shot glass of Bailey’s and Jameson dropped in) an appalling name for a drink, the waste of Guinness and Jameson in some novelty shooter is nothing short of blasphemy. Save the “Boilermakers” for the Milwaukee’s Best and enjoy a quality beverage the way it's meant to be enjoyed.

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