Beer News

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A selection of interesting articles related to beer, craft beer and breweries I find every week/every other week on the internet, for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!

Micro-breweries mushroom all over the country


Clockwise from top: The Independence Brewing Company, Avanish Vellanki and Shailendra Bist, the Gateway Brewing Company.

he funny thing about life is that nobody is happy with what they are. Street food wants to be upmarket, gastronomy desires demystification, wine craves friendliness, and beer, oh lovely beer, yearns complexity and nuance. For those of us who get to partake in such diversity, we’re lucky to be privy to two ends of a spectrum.

The last couple of years have been exciting for beer lovers in India. There’s been much hype around an emerging craft beer culture. A steady move away from the usual non-descript bottled lagers, craft beer is all about small-batch production, yielding forth brews made with passion and personality; pints that are edgy, flavourful and keenly defined. A big step ahead for the Kingfisher-fueled market.

The idea was simple, to create a pub-like atmosphere, and to serve a selection of beers brewed in-house, poured straight from the tanks, minus any preservatives. It may have been simple in concept, but fashioning laws from scratch in each state was an uphill battle, not to forget the red-tapism along the way. Today, the major concentration of micro-breweries exists in Pune, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Mumbai. Whether it is for the novelty of it, or the thirst for an affordable mug of a characteristic brew for so long, consumers have taken to craft beer like moths to a flame.

The first micro-breweries cropped up in Pune and Gurgaon almost simultaneously. Shortly after, Bangalore followed suit. In Mumbai, the wait for craft beer was more harrowing than for George R. R. Martin’s sixth book, so much so, that the trio at the Gateway Brewing Company (GBC) changed tactic mid-way, and instead of waiting for the requisite micro-brewery permissions, they fought their way to a license that allowed them to brew at a facility in Dombivali and supply kegs to various bars. GBC beers are currently available at over a dozen hotspots in the city. Every few months, they mix things up a bit swapping one style for another — their wheat beer White Zen and German dunkle style Doppelganger are the most popular beers. Barking Deer and White Owl are the other beer destinations in the city and now even Pune’s favourite brewery Doolally serves up some frothy goodness at its taproom in Bandra.

The idea was simple, to create a pub-like atmosphere, and to serve a selection of beers brewed in-house, poured straight from the tanks, minus any preservatives. It may have been simple in concept, but fashioning laws from scratch in each state was an uphill battle, not to forget the red-tapism along the way.

Another impressive brewery in Pune is Independence Brewing Company (IBC). Conceived of by Avanish Vellanki and Shailendra Bist, the duo brought on board famous beer guy Greg Koch as advisor. Koch is CEO and co-founder of Stone Brewing Company, a name synonymous with America’s craft beer revolution. What is especially noteworthy about IBC, apart form their variety (eight beers always on tap) is their insistence on, and attention to beer styles. Not one to shy away from the “more-complex-less-popular” styles, Bist who operates as head brewer, serves up some unusual brews like the oaked brown ale, four-grain session beer or the Belgian wine style, and manages to do justice to them all.

Bangalore is the uncrowned beer capital of India. From the more recent Windmills Craftworks and Arbor Brewing Company to the more landmark Toit and Biere Club, Bangalore is perhaps the only city that has (generically-speaking) managed to improve with the opening of every successive brewpub, not leaving any room for the established to slack and rest on their laurels. On the flip side we have Gurgaon, which is largely dominated by spaces with lovely ambience but rather mediocre beer. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any difference between lagers and ales in most bars. Craft beer here, seems more a gimmick than an attempt to make great suds, a trend that is certainly hurting the very concept, and devalues it in a novice drinker’s mind.

So where is all this headed towards? IBC’s Bist believes, “The craft beer market will be headed towards strong demand and growth for the next five years, at least in the micro-brewery format. Customers will demand more authentic flavours and also bolder, innovative beers.” While the major metro cities have been able to mark its growth, the popularity will now take it to tier-II cities. Laws remain the biggest hurdle to this growth. “Craft beer as an incipient market needs some government push to gain critical momentum. This can come as lower excise duties, tax breaks, lower licensing costs, allow retailing and self distribution” suggests Bist.

The one caveat that the industry collectively needs to watch out for is growing too fast. Taste is what has built this industry from the beginning and that should remain its core value as it grows. Perhaps, there will come a time when the beer brethren will create measures to ensure that nobody makes bad beer. The ancient Egyptians decreed that anyone who brewed a bad batch would be drowned in it. It is a serious crime after all.

Source: Sunday Guardian

  April 01, 2015

GQ Happy Hour: Doolally Taproom

What: Doolally Taproom

Where: Bandra West, Mumbai

Doolally’s two dozen regularly updated and meticulously curated brews have helmed Maharashtra’s craft scene for a few years now. And now after nearly debuting several times, Pune’s most popular microbrewery — and what was the state’s first — has finally kickstarted its Mumbai outpost this week. The 1,400 sq ft space functions as a tap room — the beer brewed in Pune is packaged and transported here in kegs — and also as a stage for acoustic performances and workshops.

Currently available on tap, with a pint priced at Rs 250, is theApple Cider, The Corinthians outpost’s best-known brew made with Himachal apples; the Oatmeal Stout, a classic British stout made with 25 per cent oats for a creamy mouthfeel and summer-time favourite Hefeweizen, a smooth session beer, the go-to pint for beer drinkers who actually don’t like beer.

Loyalists should sign up for Doolally’s Mug Club where for Rs 3,000, you get a customised dog-tagged mug that only you drink out of, plus 50 percent more beer in it each time, to allow for spillage after disorderly clanking.

Source :

March 19, 2015

Scientists edge closer to creating rehydrating beer that prevents hangovers

hangover free beer
Could there really be a hangover-free beer?(Quinn Dombrowski)

Scientists in Australia are looking to create beer that rehydrates you as you drink – stopping hangovers (or making them far less severe).

Researchers at the Griffith University Menzies Health Institute in Queensland are trying to develop the beer that rehydrates you, but that actually tastes the same as normal beer.

Speaking to ABC Gold Coast, scientist Ben Desbrow said: “We’ve really concentrated on fluid rehydration initially, so looking at a beer that doesn’t leave you as dehydrated.

“Certainly dehydration has been proposed as being one of the factors that increases hangover severity.

“We know from previous experiments in other fluids that sodium content in particular has a large influence over rehydration. But in the context of alcohol that research is less well-established.”


17 March, 2015

The Real Story Behind St. Paddy’s Green Beer

Updated by on March 14, 2015, 12:00 p.m. ET  

Green beer is the delicious treat that many drink (and drink and drink) on Saint Patrick’s Day. But the most colorful beer is not an Irish tradition: it’s an American-born innovation that requires a lot of moxie and a little blue food coloring.

This is how it came to be one of our greatest traditions involving food coloring.

The origins of St. Patrick’s Day’s green beer

Regardless of who invented it, the first people to make green beer probably made it the same, slightly unintuitive way it’s made today: a mixture of beer and blue food coloring (the blue mixes with the natural yellow of the beer to make green).

Generally, the drink is credited to Professor Thomas H. Curtin, a physician who made green beer for his clubhouse in New York. Curtin’s green beer was around as early as 1914, but other green beers appeared at the same time or slightly earlier.

In 1910, the Spokane Press used a headline to shout, “Green Beer Be Jabbers!” (“be jabbers” is an excited swear). According to the paper, the First Avenue Bar served the beer to patriotic Irishmen and anybody else who wanted to drink a green brew. Whoever wrote about it had clearly been drinking some green beer:

Green beer in the Spokane Press.

Some poetic description of green beer. (The Spokane Press)

The practice grew, but not that quickly: in 1926, the Washington Post still called it “an anomalous concoction.”

By the ’50s, green beer was a mainstream symbol of a holiday that was becoming less specifically Irish and more American. The tradition spread across the country, and bartenders caught on that it was easy to make green beer and even easier to drink it. Eventually, the beverage became so popular that it went international, too. As late as 1985, United Press International reported that the Irish were still being introduced to the delicious, unusual drink made in their honor.

It was an impressive turnaround for green beer, since the term used to be synonymous with beer that wasn’t ready to be consumed.

Green beer used to make you sick … and not in the way you think

Green beer wasn’t always the distinguished treat it is today — in fact, it used to make you sick.

“Green beer” is a term brewers still use today to describe beer that’s too young (or “green”). Asdescribed by Serious Eats, green beer still contains acetaldehyde, which can make beer taste bad because it’s not yet fully fermented.

It was such a big problem in the late 1800s and 1910s that beer companies leapt on the idea of “green beer” to promote their own products. Beer companies warned against the “biliousness” that could come from drinking green beer. Schlitz even used the impressive slogan “Schlitz is Old Beer” to convince drinkers its beer wasn’t green:

Schlitz is Old Beer!

One of the more unusual ad slogans in history. (The Evening Times)

Was green beer actually a problem? Maybe. In 1922, the Washington Times found a chemist who said “green beer is extremely bad on the stomach.” Fortunately, though brewers still use the term today, underaged beer is less likely to make it into your stomach because beer production is better understood and regulated.

That said, green-dyed beer still has the power to make you sick — you just have to drink too much of it.


11 March, 2015

Why Brain Science and Beer Go Hand in Hand

By Lisa Qu


Beer and neuroscience — an unlikely combination, you might think, for anything other than a collegiate shooting the breeze over drinks. But in my field of study — olfaction — they can be tightly intertwined.

I work to uncover the neural mechanisms of how we learn about a new odor. The parallels between olfactory research and beer start with some basics: They have overlapping chemistry terminology (“esters”, “volatile compounds”), and the craft of brewing beer camouflages as one application of the scientific method, with plenty of trial-and-error and hypothesis testing.

No, it’s not your imagination. Beer isn’t something that smells good to most people at first. In fact, just a few years ago, I actually disliked beer. But since then, I’ve slowly amassed a mental library of styles and flavors that I’ve encountered, those I like, and those I’ll pass on next time. These learning experiences are not unlike the ones of brewers or chefs or perfumists. Important to my work, we know that even things that once smelled or tasted repulsive can come to be pleasurable. So how do we form new odor representations, and how are they affected by learning and experience?

Three ingredients (besides water) make up your average beer: grain, yeast, and hops. Grains are prepared before you brew, yeast is added as you brew, and hops can be added while or after your brew. At each of these stages, a brewer relies heavily on his or her senses. Many scientific experiments, along with anecdotal evidence, have revealed mixed findings.

You have people like Richard Paterson, also called “The Nose”, who purportedly can identify the region of Scotland a whisky is from just by smell alone. A study from my lab showed that prolonged exposure to a particular odor improved differentiation among related odors. For example, repeated experiences with a floral-like smell allowed the subjects to become floral “experts.” This finding was underscored by neural activity changes in brain regions involved in olfaction.

But our sense of smell does not operate in a vacuum. Consider another study in which 54 wine students at the University of Bordeaux were asked to describe the odor qualities of a red wine. They used an overwhelming number of red wine descriptors, such as “prune”, “raspberry”, or “red currant”. As it turns out, the red wine was simply a white wine that had been dyed red, revealing just how much our other senses can affect olfaction, even in trained experts. Another study found that participants rated the same odor differently depending on whether it had been labeled “cheddar cheese” or “body odor”. These results highlight the magnitude of sensory and cognitive interactions on stimulus perception.

Work from various olfaction labs has suggested that odor representations exist as brain activity patterns, with different odors evoking unique patterns of activity. These representations are malleable according to this research, but a key question remains: How do these patterns form and encode learned information?

My current research looks at the development of novel odor representations by pairing ambiguous odors (mixtures that we have created) with pictures of similarly unfamiliar fruits and flowers (such as dragon fruit or silver vase plant). By creating these original representations through category associations, we can examine how the brain learns and codes olfactory information through activity patterns. Results of this study will help us understand how we learn about olfactory associations, and how this information is shaped through experience. It also provides a basis for how we learn to categorize information from a complex and dynamic environment.

From this work, I hope to gain insight into how the brain incorporates newly learned information to guide behavior. It might help us to understand the abilities of a whisky or wine expert, but it also sheds light on how important smell is for any kind of learning, whether it’s in the lab, or in the bar.

Lisa Qu is a neuroscience Ph.D. student at Northwestern University in the laboratory of Dr. Jay Gottfried. She received her BA in Behavioral Biology from Johns Hopkins University and currently serves as the Student Life Chair for Northwestern’s Chicago Graduate Student Association.


05 March, 2015

Bar/fly: Bernard Beer Spa, Prague

‘All my life I’ve wanted to steep in a beer bath while drinking beer and this was my Heaven’s Gate moment.’ Illustration / Rod Emmerson

Erik Heinrich is in ecstasy sipping an award-winning lager while steeping in a beer bath.

By Erik Heinrich

There’s nothing better for curing a bad case of jet lag than a few hours at a spa – and in Prague it has to be a beer spa. That’s what I decided as I pulled my third pint of Bernard pils from my private tap while soaking in a jacuzzi bath filled with pedigree Czech hops and brewer’s yeast.

Getting access to a private tap and all the beer I could drink in the cellar of a 500-year-old building was alone worth the price of treatment. All my life I’ve wanted to steep in a beer bath while drinking beer and this was my Heaven’s Gate moment.

That said, the Bernard Beer Spa is not just a gimmick. Bernard pils is an award-winning Czech lager exported to 26 countries. It comes out of the tap unfiltered and unpasteurised with 4.2 per cent alcohol content and a yeasty aroma. The body is golden with a slight cloudiness and thick white head. On the tongue it releases a pleasant bitterness and full hoppy aftertaste.

For the jacuzzi tub, Bernard uses Zatec or Saaz noble hops, grown in the town of the same name for more than 700 years. They are considered the Rolls-Royce of hops in a country that consumes more beer per capita – 148.6 litres per year – than any other. The high concentration of Zatec hop oils opens pores, improves circulation, helps with detoxification and is thought to be an aphrodisiac.

“Bathing in beer and consuming the beverage has long been used in Czech folk medicine,” says Tereza of the Bernard Beer Spa.

“Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers recommended using brewer’s yeast for many ailments.”

Technically I wasn’t bathing in suds from a tap because beer gets sticky when it’s heated. But I was bathing in the ingredients used to make the best Czech lager while gulping down the nectar of Valhalla.

This made me wonder about the paradox of detoxifying my body while getting intoxicated. But I could not think of a better way to end an day of exploring this city’s medieval and Baroque architecture.

It also set me up perfectly for a dinner of Czech-style tapas.

The flavours are smoky, sour and savoury with an occasional morsel of delicious animal fat to help stimulate beer consumption.

My favourite is probably Olomoucke syrecky, donut-shaped slices of ripe, pungent cheese much loved by the Austrian Emperor Rudolf II – a sorcerer who spent most of his life trying to uncover the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone.

A close second is Matjes herring fillets. These tender strips of Norwegian herring marinated in oil and crowned with freshly chopped onions melt in your mouth.

Other Czech tapas classics include pickled sausages known as utopenci (drowned men), nakladany hermelin, a marinated camembert type cheese served with a sprinkling of fresh onion and paprika, and hog’s head cheese.

Everything is accompanied by fresh Czech sourdough rye bread and washed down with Pilsner Urquell, the world’s original golden lager brewed in Plzen since 1842. Any beer using pilsner in its name is a faded copy of this Sistine Chapel of beers.

So when in the City of a Thousand Spires, visit the Bernard Beer Spa, chill out with some Czech lager – and knock on Heaven’s Gate.


March 04, 2015

What 170-Year-Old Beer Uncovered From a Shipwreck Really Tasted Like 

Sarah Zhang

What 170-Year-Old Beer Uncovered From a Shipwreck Really Tasted Like 

Back in 2010, divers off the coast of Finland stumbled upon some astonishingly old booze: champagne and beer preserved underwater in a 170-year-old shipwreck. Naturally, they had a taste. But now scientists are back with a rigorous chemical analysis of the beers.

In the initial taste tests, the beer was so sour no one would tell how they were originally meant to taste. But when our noses falter, we have machines. Chemists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland looked at two particular bottles of recovered beer, which they called A56 and C49. Before they ran any tests, they recorded their own impressions of the beer’s smells, which seem, erh, largely unpleasant.

Bubbles of gas, presumably CO2, formed during sampling, producing a light foam. Both beers were bright golden yellow, with little haze. Both beers smelt of autolyzed yeast, dimethyl sulfide, Bakelite, burnt rubber, over-ripe cheese, and goat, with phenolic and sulfury notes.

Both bottles contained much more salt than usual, suggesting the beers had been diluted with seawater. With modern chemistry techniques, scientists are able to separate out individual compounds and by accelerating them through an electric field, figure out their molecular composition—cutting through the sourness and saltiness to the beer’s true character, in other words.

A56 and C49 turned out to clearly be different beers. C49 was much hoppier and thus more bitter. An analysis of yeast-derived flavor compounds—basically the stuff that gives beers its fruity and floral notes—also revealed rose and sweet apples flavors that were high in A56. C49 had a higher concentration of flavor compounds for green tea.

Some flavor differences may be because of how beer was brewed differently in the 19th century. For example, A56 contained much more of a compound called furfural, which is possibly the result of mash being heated over an open fire. Both beers, even when they were fresh, were also more sour than your average modern brew. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that brewers learned how to keep acid-producing bacteria out of beer. Until that breakthrough, pretty much all beer, including A56 and C49, was sour beer.


February 26, 2015

Great roundup of the 20 best beers under Rupees 200 by GQ India. It’s great to see that quality imported bottled brews are more readily available here.

February 20, 2015

Great article about the rise of craft breweries and how they are challenging the large scale breweries that dominate the world.

What craft beer can teach the brewery big boys

The renewed appreciation for craft beer is bringing the art of beer brewing back to life. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

Beer is one of the oldest drinks in human history. The Sumerians had a beer goddess, Ninkasi, and the world’s oldest known barley beer dates to 3,400BC. Beer is now highly industrialised and today a handful of companies control most of the market. Heineken for example, is responsible for around 9% of global beer production and Carlsberg, 6%. But now, a European craft beer market has come of age and smaller independent breweries are gaining attention.

Sebastian Mergel, co-founder of Berlin’s Bierfabrik and president of theGlobal Association of Craft Beer Brewers (GACBB), points out that Europe has always had a network of small, independent breweries, but in the face of the beer behemoths, they got lost in the mix. Things are changing though, and over the past five years the number of European breweries has grown by 73%, invigorating the market and encouraging people to drink locally made beer.

“[If] you buy local beer, you’re cutting down on beer miles, you’re helping your spend stay in the local economy,” says Jon Kyme of Stringers Beer in Cumbria, northern England.

Craft beer production is often cited for its sustainability benefits but brewing on a smaller scale isn’t always as efficient. “It’s a fact that small-scale brewing is a bit problematic – it’s hard for a small brewer to be as efficient in water or power usage as the mega brewers,” says Kyme. “Of course, us little brewers know this is a problem, and a lot of us make extra effort where we can.” For Kyme, this means working with Good Energy to ensure that all of the power used at the brewery comes from renewable sources.

Waste is another area where brewers can act sustainably. Kyme, much like many other brewers big and small, sends off his spent grain – the leftovers of beer production – to a local farm, where it’s consumed by pigs, and hops waste goes to a local allotment where it’s turned into compost.

N17 in Ireland takes this a step further, focusing on what other products can be made from the brewing process. For Sarah Roarty, N17’s founder, everything has value and spent grain from her beers has gone into growing mushrooms, making granola bars and even dog biscuits. “You end up with not just one product for sale but four different products,” she explains.

Beyond environmental sustainability, craft beer has benefits for the economy and communities. According to the Brewers of Europe, more than 5,000 breweries are responsible for more than 2m jobs on the continent, from “grain to glass”. “Consumers can be sure that the money they spend in local structures will help their direct neighbourhood to grow,” says Mergel.

What’s exciting for beer lovers is that the renewed appreciation for craft beer is bringing the art of beer brewing back to life. In terms of what they brew, craft brewers are much more nimble than their larger counterparts. Mergel points to a project that the GACBB did, getting seven breweries around the world to develop a recipe together before brewing it at their various breweries with different yeasts to give it a local flavour. For him, “brewing with other brewers is like a jam session, but instead of guitars and drums we use hops and malt to improvise.”

“Certainly brewing on a very small scale costs more per litre than larger scale operations,” says Scott Williams of Scotland’s Williams Bros Brewing Co. “We can however be much more experimental.”

Williams Bros focuses on old recipes and local ingredients, recreating ales brewed centuries ago which would have only been brewed using plants, flowers and spices picked locally. This includes the brewery’s Fraoch Heather Ale, for which it picks the heather themselves.

In Spain, the Menduiña brewery also uses local ingredients that a “consumer can recognise as their own cuisine,” says brewer Alberte Fernandez-Perez. Its beers are unfiltered and GMO free, and the brewery has its own hops production on site. While still in its infancy, the goal is that eventually the brewery will produce 25% of its hops on site.

Around 2,600 farms in the EU grow hops, with most of hops production taking place in Germany. Global hops production has declined in the last five years. However, a growing interest in flavour hops – those varieties that give beer a distinct, and mostly fruity note – has the craft beer sector some growth.

In the US, with the huge craft beer market demand, the trend has been to pull out high alpha hop crops, and replace them with aroma hops. Countries like Germany have tried to compensate for that by growing more high alpha crops, and craft brewers often get popular aroma hop varieties like Citra and Cascade from the US. Yet thanks to a growing European interest in these more flavourful beers, the production of aroma hops in Europe is gradually increasing. “It’s really important to grow our own varieties to create interesting flavour in the beer,” says Florian Perschel of the German-based Barth-Haas Group, the world’s largest supplier of hop products and services. “In the future there will be more varieties.”

Deck and Donohue, a brewery that opened in 2014 just outside the centre of Paris, has been experimenting with a variety of local ingredients and even hand-harvesting Strisselspalt hops in Alsace for one of its beers.

“Contrary to wine, beer can be produced pretty much anywhere, and very close to where customers actually are. This proximity enables more interaction,” says co-founder Thomas Deck.

And this is what makes craft beer so special. The whole process, and final product, has the ability to engage consumers in a way that its industrial counterparts simply can’t.

Consumers are putting increasing value on knowing where their products have come from, and craft beer nearly always comes with a great story from a person passionate about their profession.


10 Feb 2015

Six of the Most Expensive Beers in the World

1. Samuel Adams Utopias


Country of origin: United States
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 28%
Price: $150 for 750 ml ($ .20 per ml)

Boston brewer Samuel Adams has been producing its Utopia edition every two years since 2002. The aged, uncarbonated beer resembles a fine sherry or cognac more than it does a bottle of suds. So much so, it’s recommended that you serve this brew at room temperature. Each batch is aged in brandy, bourbon and Scotch casks for up to 18 years and is generally limited to less than 15,000 bottles per run—making it highly coveted among beer aficionados. As a bonus, each series of Utopias is bottled in numbered, ceramic decanters.

2. BrewDog’s Sink the Bismarck!


Country of origin: Scotland
Style: Quadruple IPA
ABV: 41%
Price: $80 for 375 ml ($ .21 per ml)

What do you do when a standard IPA isn’t enough? If you’re Scotland’s BrewDog brewery you multiply it by four. Released in 2010, this quadruple IPA has four times as many hops, it’s freeze-distilled four times and is four times as bitter as a conventional beer. The end result is a potent 41% ABV—and a hefty bar tab. If your motto is “drink, pee, repeat,” this probably isn’t the beer for you.

3. Schorschbräu’s Schorschbock 57


Country of origin: Germany
Style: Eisbock
ABV: 57.50%
Price: $275 / 330 ml ($ .83 per ml)

Dubbed “the strongest beer in the world,” Schorschbräu’s Schorschbock 57 is a mind-boggling 110-proof bock. Anything higher would breach Germany’s 500-year-old Beer Purity Law. Tasters have described this beer as everything from smoky and nutty to overpowering and breathtaking. Produced in 2011, Schorschbock 57 was a limited edition brew that yielded just 36 bottles.

4. Carlsberg’s Jacobsen Vintage No. 1


Country of origin: Denmark
Style: Barley wine
ABV: 10.5%
Price: $400 / 375 ml ($1.06 per ml)

Produced in 2008, Jacobsen Vintage No. 1 was the first in a vintage trilogy of limited edition brews created by Carlsberg’s Jacobsen brewhouse. The 10.5% ABV barley wine was aged for six months in oak barrels, giving Vintage No. 1 tones of “vanilla, smoke, caramel and port.” Each series was done in conjunction with a famous artist who contributed the artwork for the bottles. Only 600 bottles were produced in 2008, so finding one on the open market is rough going.

5. BrewDog’s The End of History

Country of origin: Scotland
Style: Blond Belgian Ale
ABV: 55%
Price: $765 / 330 ml ($2.31 per ml)

Leave it to the Scots to come up with one of the strongest—and weirdest—brews out there. BrewDog’s potent 55% ABV blond Belgian ale is infused with nettles and juniper berries, but don’t expect a light and fruity taste. This beer has been described as having tastes of mushrooms, soy sauce, beef, leather and tobacco. The kicker? Each bottle is presented in a stuffed squirrel or stoat that was specially created by a taxidermist for this limited edition beer. Don’t worry, animal lovers: The company claims all the animals used in the production of this beer were a result of roadkill.

6. Nail Brewing’s Antarctic Nail Ale


Country of origin: Australia
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 10%
Price: $1,850 / 500 ml (highest winning bid at auction) ($3.70 per ml)

Nail Brewing’s Antarctic Nail Ale takes the expression “cracking open a cold one” to a whole new level. As the story goes, members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society brought melted ice from an Antarctic iceberg back to Perth, Australia, to be used in one of Nail Brewing’s limited edition brews. The result was a 30-bottle run of Antarctic Nail Ale. A beer you could feel good about drinking, 100% of the profits from an auction of this refreshing pale ale went to the Sea Shepherds to aid in protecting the world’s marine life.


07 Feb 2015

SEWAGE BEER – No it’s not a typo – read on….

Sewage beer sounds like something out of a dystopian movie or someone’s terrifying, unsavory nightmare. We’ve seen beer made from seaweed and whale bones, but of all the weird and wacky ingredients used to make craft beer, sewage is by far the most unappetizing. But could it catch on? Oregon’s Clean Water Services is putting money on it. The water resources management company is backing an initiative to use purified sewage water to make beer.

In an article published on January 28, NPR reported that Clean Water Services is pursuing this goal to show off the possibilities of recycled waste water. If it succeeds, the company will not only turn sewage into a drinkable product, but a desirable one at that. It’s one thing to turn waste water into potable drinking water; it’s another thing entirely to turn it into the nectar of the hops gods.

Clean Water Services has a lot of hoops to jump through before this beer becomes a reality, however. NPR reported that the company has requested permission from the state to allow a group of home brewers called The Oregon Brew Crew to try their hands at making beer with sewage water. Next, in April, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission would have to approve of the plan, and if that happens, the state will have to okay amendments in the Recycled Water Reuse Plan. So far only the Oregon Health Authority is on board.

As it stands now, “the state of Oregon doesn’t technically allow anyone to drink wastewater, no matter how pure it is,” NPR said. Recycled wastewater is only sanctioned for “irrigation, industrial processes and groundwater recharge.”

Mark Jockers, a spokesman for Clean Water Services, told NPR that his company’s water purification system has the technology to recycle waste water into acceptable drinking water: what it calls High Purity Water. The three-step process involves ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis and enhanced oxidation, NPR explained. Ultra-filtrationpushes liquid through a semipermeable membrane and separates out bacteria and other microorganisms. Reverse osmosis is the process used to desalinate — or remove salt from — seawater. Enhanced oxidation “uses ultra-violet light and an oxidizing chemical to break down contaminants.” Need a beer to wash all that down?

The real question is, what will sewage beer taste like?

Jockers told HuffPost Taste that “the water has a very flat taste.” He explained that most bottled water contains minerals and salts “to provide a mouth feel, a taste.” Clean Water Services’ High Purity Water, however, lacks those minerals and salts. Jockers says it’s easier for brewers to build a beer with a specific flavor profile if the water doesn’t already contain minerals and salts. Brewers find the purified water’s “blank slate” exciting.

Jockers isn’t the only one vouching for the High Purity Water for brewing beer. In a competition sponsored by Carollo Engineers and The Oregon Brew Crew last summer, a collection of home brewers tried making beer that had to consist of 30 percent purified waste water from Clean Water Services. One brewer told The Oregonian that the purified water was totally tasteless, which was a good thing. Another brewer told The Portland Tribune that he thought the water was “very plain. [He] saw it as a blank slate.” Clean Water Services is currently proposing that the Oregon Brew Crew be allowed to make beer that is made with 100 percent purified waste water.

Jockers said that Clean Water Services’ goal isn’t limited to recycling waste water into beer. “This about changing the conversation about water and the best place to have a conversation is over a beer,” Jockers told HuffPost Taste. He’s definitely right about that. And if sewage beer is going to make it anywhere, Portland would be the right place for it.

“There is nothing remarkable about this,” Jockers told us. The key issue is that Clean Water Services is acknowledging and drawing attention to the finite resource that water is, and the capacity we have to recycle it


Budweiser really hit below the belt with this one…

10 Feb 2015

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Sparks Controversy With Craft Beer Makers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Budweiser has sparked a firestorm with its Super Bowl ad bashing craft beers.

In the ad, the company proclaims it’s proud to be a “macro-brew.” But then it goes on to say that it makes beer “that’s not to be fussed over” as the audience sees a mustache-wearing man with glasses examining some dark brew.

It goes on to say: “Let them brew their pumpkin peach ale,” but that Budweiser will keep brewing its golden suds.

Some in the craft beer industry have taken offense.

“I was watching it as it transpired and was quite surprised to see that,” said Andy Kwiatkowski from Hitchhiker Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Mount Lebanon.

He’s also president of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance and believes Budweiser is nervous.

“A market or niche they thought they could ignore for the last 30 years has suddenly come up right behind them, and I think they’re definitely a little bit threatened by what went on,” said Kwiatkowski.

It’s true that overall beer sales are down in America, but craft beer sales are up.

Asa Foster at The Brew Gentlemen, a microbrewery in Braddock, also thinks Budweiser is trying to attack its growing competition.

“The ad was very much not built to try to get craft beer drinkers to try Budweiser. The ad was built to try to get Budweiser drinkers to not try craft beer,” he said.

Abita Brewing in Louisiana came out with its own video where it states that they don’t make “one-size-fits-all” beer.

It also points out that Abita is American-owned, a jab at Budweiser’s foreign ownership.

Despite the controversy, Budweiser’s Twitter postings indicate the company is standing behind its campaign.

Watch the Ad here:


Can India get a taste for craft beer?

If you have ever had a bottle of beer in India – or even in an Indian restaurant somewhere else in the world – the chances are it was one particular brand.

Kingfisher is synonymous with the drink in India, where it has more than 50% of the beer market.

But just a few kilometres from the company’s headquarters in Bangalore, in the bustling Biere Club bar, dozens of customers sip beer without a drop of Kingfisher in sight.

Instead the crowd are drinking glasses of American rice lager, malt stout or a Belgian-style wheat beer. And it is all brewed just a few metres from where they are sitting.

Opened three years ago, this was Bangalore’s first so-called brewpub – a bar with a small brewery on the premises – but now there are about 15 similar businesses in this one city alone. Best-known as India’s IT hub, it has also become the capital of the country’s craft brewing culture.

“It’s become very competitive – but we have some loyal customers,” says Biere Club founder Arvind Raju. “And we have to make sure we have a variety of beers and keep the quality high so that they come back.”

Arbor Brewing Company pubCraft brewing has been gaining popularity in major Indian cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi

Artisanal products

“They’ve been introduced to fine lifestyle products and craft beer is one of them”

Gaurav SikkaArbor Brewing Company

Craft brewing has been booming in the US over the past 10 years – grabbing a market share of about 8%, and causing a doubling in the price of hops to boot.

And its success there – as well as in Europe – lies behind the emerging scene in cities like Bangalore, says Gaurav Sikka, managing director of the Arbor Brewing Company.

His Bangalore pub was set up in partnership with a brewery of the same name in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Mr Sikka studied and got the inspiration for his business. It sells mainly US-style drinks but with a nod to local tastes – including its Mango Maibock brew, an Indian take on a German lager, using the in-season fruit.

“There’s a large population of young people in India, and many have travelled extensively,” Mr Sikka says.

“They’ve been introduced to fine lifestyle products and craft beer is one of them. We’re making beer with the best ingredients sourced from around the world so these are essentially artisanal products and people in India are yearning for that. They have a taste for them.”

Arbor Brewing Company boardMany Indian craft beers cater to local tastes

And his customers seem to agree.

“We’ve had the domination by Kingfisher for decades,” says Madan Kumar, a regular in the Arbor pub. “But the liberalisation brought in more foreign beers, and now the craft beers, so there are always new things to try.”

And for Amin Kassam – who is part-Indian, part-Scottish and works in Bangalore while his family is in the UK – venues like this make being away from home a little less arduous.

“The ale tastes really good,” he says, holding up his dimpled beer glass. “And having a proper pint is great.”

‘Discerning tastes’

Sourcing brewing equipment and hiring brewers remains difficult and expensive but opening brewpubs has become easier in Bangalore since the state government developed policies on licensing and environmental issues.

Other states have followed suit – and several microbreweries have opened in the past year in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai.

Customers in Biere ClubA relatively young population has also contributed to the growth of the craft beer market

“Competition will only get better and we welcome that because craft beer is more of a brotherhood, collectively fighting against bad beer, getting people to drink better beer”

Rahul MehraGateway Brewing Company

But for all the hype about craft brewing, when it comes to sales the numbers remain tiny.

Instead it is the strong beer category – where alcohol by volume is typically about 8% – that is growing most rapidly in India.

Kingfisher Strong leads the way, but foreign brands have moved in with the likes of Budweiser Magnum, Carlsberg Elephant and for the less subtly minded, an SAB Miller beer called Knock Out.

“While in Europe people tend to drink beer for refreshment, here it’s to get a high and that’s why you see stronger beers always performing well in Indian markets,” says Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president of the retail and consumer products division at consultants, Technopak.

“The target area is in cities and semi-urban areas and that gives you volumes of sales. But the tastes of the microbrewing segment is more discerning, more evolved, so you’re essentially talking about two different markets.

“That’s why I don’t see the microbreweries at loggerheads with the mass-market beer industry in India.”

A board showing various craft beers in a pubDespite the growing popularity craft beers have a small share of the market


That is the hope at the Gateway Brewing Company – India’s first small-scale brewer that produces beer to sell on to pubs and restaurants, rather than to serve on its own premises.

Run on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Mumbai, it took about two years to get government permission to operate, and even with that hurdle cleared there are plenty of other difficulties.

Brewing only happens about three days a week because of regular power cuts, the company roasts its own malt because of a lack of reliable supply, and excise duties are higher than for mass-market brewers.

But as word gets around, it is seeing more businesses buying its 20-litre and 50-litre kegs, boosting its presence in Mumbai and nearby Pune.

“We’re hoping more people will come into this trade,” says Rahul Mehra – one of Gateway’s three co-founders and an avid home brewer.

“Competition will only get better and we welcome that because craft beer is more of a brotherhood, collectively fighting against bad beer, getting people to drink better beer.”

For Mr Mehra and his colleagues, anything is a preferable alternative to the mass-market drinks that have dominated his country for so long. But he still thinks that anyone trying to ride the new craft beer wave, especially by opening a brewpub, needs to be cautious.

“Many brewpub owners work on the gimmick of it – they think that if they have a brewery more people will come to their bar.

“What they don’t get is the differentiator is not the big shiny brewing tank. The differentiator is the beer.”


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