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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pints for Prostates Plans Seven West Coast Events Thanks to Rogue Ales

Rogue Ales is giving a real boost to the Pints for Prostates campaign along the west coast by hosting seven events in Oregon, Washington and California during June and July.

Rogue will enlist its network of pubs to help Pints for Prostates use the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message. During the events information on prostate cancer and the need for regular health screenings and PSA testing will be available. Rogue will also raise funds for the campaign, which go directly to the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network.

Five of the events are being held on the Saturday of Father's Day weekend -- the perfect time to have a pint with Dad and nag him about making an appointment to see his doctor -- while two others are taking place during July.

If you cannot make it to one of these events, you can always back Pints for Prostates by making a donation on the campaign's website.

June 20th from Noon-Midnight

The Green Dragon Bistro Brewpub
928 SE 9th Ave.
Portland, Ore.

Rogue Ales Public House
748 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, Ore.

Eugene City Brewery
844 Olive Street
Eugene, Ore.

Issaquah Brewhouse
35 W. Sunset Way
Issaquah, Wash.

Rogue Ales Public House
North Beach
637 Union Street
San Francisco, Calif.

July 2nd from Noon-Midnight

Rogue Ales Public House
100 39th St. (Pier 39)
Astoria, Ore.

July 24th from Noon-Midnight

Rogue Distillery & Public House
1339 NW Flanders
Portland, Ore.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

World Beer Festival in Raleigh on May 2nd Hosts Pints for Prostates Booth

If you are attending the World Beer Festival in Raleigh next Saturday, please look for the Pints for Prostates booth. We’ll be raffling a kegerator at this great outdoor beer festival in beautiful Moore Square in downtown Raleigh, N.C.

Tickets for the World Beer Festival sold out more than a month ago, but you may be able to find some online or from scalpers near the gate. The event is split into two sessions, Noon to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This festival features more than 300 beers from 150 breweries, live entertainment, education sessions on beer, food from local vendors and more.

The good folks at All About Beer magazine, which runs the World Beer Festival, have donated a booth to Pints for Prostates. We’ll have information on prostate cancer, along with the importance of regular health screening and PSA testing.

California League Baseball Team Backing Pints for Prostates

The Visalia Rawhide (Single A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks) have decided to partner with Pints for Prostates and Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network to help raise awareness about the need for men to get regular health check ups and PSA testing.

The team will host “Prostate Cancer Awareness Day” on May 2nd when the Visalia faces Lancaster. Rawhide players will wear blue shoe laces during the game and the laces can be purchased by fans with the funds going to Us TOO International.

The Rawhide will face Stockton on May 7th and Modesto on June 25th in California League action. Donations will be accepted at these two Thirsty Thursday promotions with funds going to support prostate cancer awareness efforts.

On June 21 the team will host a Father’s Day Brunch and Fantasy Camp. During the luncheon a speaker will address the need for men to become active in managing their health by getting regular prostate health screenings.

The Rawhide have produced a long list of Major League players, including Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays (2008 Rookie of the Year) and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. Jim Flavin, Ballpark Operations Manager for the Rawhide, has been instrumental in getting the team involved with Us TOO International. He got involved after seeing a Pints for Prostates ad that had been donated by Sports Illustrated. The Rawhide partnership will help reach men in central California with a critical health message.

Flanagan's Ale House Raising Funds for Pints for Prostates at June 7th Festival in Louisville

Flanagan's Ale House in Louisville, Kentucky, is part of the local O'Shea's Irish Pubs group that supports causes through a series of events. Since 2007, this community-minded company has donated more than $185,000 to worthy causes. Pints for Prostates is proud to be added to the list as a part of the Great Flanagan's Beer Festival taking place on June 7th from 2-5 p.m.

This event will feature 40 breweries pouring their best beers. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Pints for Prostates campaign, which benefits the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network. We'll also have an information booth at the event, so please stop by and say hello.

Tickets for the Great Flanagan's Beer Festival, which are $45, are expected to go quickly. To get tickets when they go on sale on April 27th subscribe to Flanagan's email by sending your name to ashley@louisvilleirishpubs.com.

Any remaining tickets go on sale to the public on April 29th. Tickets can be purchased at Flanagan's Ale House, 934 Baxter Ave., Louisville, Kentucky, or they can also be purchased by calling 502-585-3700.

Drinks & Taxes 2009 v15: California

California Assemblyman Jim Beall put forward alcohol tax hike legislation that failed last year. Now he's back with a new approach that would cause taxes on beer, wine and spirits to skyrocket.

The proposal would generate $1.4 billion for California and is supported by the Marin Institute, a long-time anti-alcohol lobbying group.

The Wine Institute says the proposal would "do great harm to one of California's signature industries." The group says the wine industry generates more than 300,000 jobs in the state.

Assemblyman Beall is trying to back door the tax increase by creating a new fee for wholesalers, instead of making it a straight tax. The fee increase requires only a majority of votes in the legislature, while a tax increase in California requires a two-thirds super majority vote.

The new fees to wholesalers would bump the levy paid on beer from 20 cents to $1.27 per gallon; on wine from 20 cents to $2.76 per gallon; and on liquor from $3.30 to $11.83 per gallon.

Drinks & Taxes 2009 v14: Minnesota

Minnesota lawmakers are the latest to decide the way to manage a state budget is through higher taxes on drinks.

A proposal has been introduced that includes higher taxes on beer, wine and spirits, along with increases in taxes on cigarettes and high-income residents.

Lawmakers say it would be the first increase in alcohol taxes in the state since the 1980s. Taxes on a glass of beer or wine would go up a penny, while taxes on liquor would go up 3 cents a drink.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Playboy's 2009 Top Party Schools

Magazines do ranking stories to generate buzz. Playboy is no exception. They still need to promote themselves, even with pictures of naked women inside. The magazine's list of the Top 25 Party Schools recently came out.

In the case of Playboy, their "scientific" approach rates the school on a series of five things: bikini index, campus life, sports, brains and sex. Some familiar names pop up when you cross reference the list against the Priceton Review's annual ranking of party schools.

We reprint Playboy's list here as a helpful guide for high school seniors (and as a useful warning for their parents):

1. University of Miami
2. University of Texas - Austin
3. San Diego State University
4. University of Florida
5. University of Arizona
6. University of Wisconsin - Madison
7. University of Georgia
8. Louisiana State University
9. University of Iowa
10. West Virginia University
11. University of Maryland - College Park
12. University of California - Santa Barbara
13. Penn State University
14. Lehigh University
15. Arizona State University
16. Washington State University
17. Rollins College
18. Ohio University
19. Michigan State University
20. California State University - Chico
21. Hampshire College
22. James Madison University
23. Florida State University
24. Indiana University
25. SUNY Albany

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beer Wars Draws Simple Picture

I'm just back from watching Beer Wars with a large contingent of the Charlotte Beer Club. As a movie, filmmaker Anat Baron's multi-year project painted a David vs. Goliath canvas that both illustrated the situation and simplified the challenge facing American craft brewers.

On a basic level, if the film is to be believed, all large brewers -- Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors -- are evil and all of their beers are insipid watery swill. Neither is true. But the movie also gave an accurate and clear picture of the challenge small brewers face in gaining distribution and shelf space at retail. The title is accurate; it is a war fought on many fronts on a daily basis. That tap handle is not just handed over to your local brewer because it is the right thing to do.

The movie uses 1978 as a milestone, noting that just 45 brewing companies existed at the time. That year, the Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association was founded in Boulder, Colorado. It's was the year that a bill legalizing home brewing passed in the U.S. Congress. It was also the year when I sipped my first legal beer having turned 18 in Upstate New York.

While the microbrewery movement would take route along the west coast, some of the few remaining regional brewers were pumping out beer not far from where I grew up. Companies like Genesee Brewing in Rochester, F.X. Matt Brewing in Utica and Fred Koch's Brewery in Dunkirk turned out beers that offered an alternative to the national brands. For the most part they were light lagers or ales. Now there are nearly 1,500 breweries doing business in the United States. An amazing array of beer diversity exists, even if it amounts to just a small percentage of overall beer volume.

The one thing that occurred to me thinking back to the 45 brewing companies that did business in 1978 is that many of them no longer exist. Stroh, Olympia, Schlitz, Christian Schmidt, Hudephol, G. Heileman, F&M Schaefer, Rainier, Latrobe and Dubuque Star were part of the the beer scene in 1978 and they are now gone. Sure some of the brands still pop up from time to time, but the hometown breweries are shuttered. It makes you wonder what might have happened to beer in the U.S. if the craft movement had not taken off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: Ten Beers for The Ages

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we recall some great beers sampled in the last couple of weeks.

The life of a drink's journalist can be challenging. There's always a festival to attend, a sample to be tasted, an interview to complete and a deadline looming. Even your down time is spent "researching" new products. It's difficult to pass up a great beverage you know to try something that you have never had -- just so you can feed your blog or have something new to mention to an editor. The stakes are high. That product you have never tried can be a disappointment -- or it might be something to rave about. It is a gamble.

I will admit, there are benefits. The last couple of weeks are a great case in point. I've had some truly outstanding brews. Some sent to me as samples. Others I picked up at a great little beer shop in Asheville, N.C., called Bruisin' Ales, while a few were enjoyed with friends.

Brooklyn Local 2: I became a Grandfather two weeks ago when my daughter Brittany and her husband, Mike, had a daughter, Adelaide. After my daughter returned home from the hospital, she broke her nine month beer fast with this dark Belgian-style ale. This is a beer with a number of layers, thanks to several varieties of malts and hops, along with honey, sugar and citrus peel. Nice and tasty, with a smoothness that hides the 9 percent alcohol by volume. Kind of like a liquid Christmas fruitcake.

Samuel Adams Triple Bock 1994 and 1995 Vintages: To celebrate my Grandfatherness, my brother-in-law Darrin Pikarsky cracked open his private stash and brought out some 15 year old classics from the Boston Beer Co. I was amazed by the 1994 vintage. The maple syrup was still fresh and inviting. The beer poured dark brown and slightly cloudy, but most of the bottle was consumable. It had a sweet nose and overall was enjoyable. The 1995 was a bit thick and the alcohol quality was a little more up front. It had a fig and cocoa note. The cork on this one cracked on the way out and I think we just caught this bottle before it turned. Still very nice after 14 years in the blue bottle.

Duck-Rabbit Paul's Day Off: As the story goes, Paul Philippon the brewmaster at North Carolina's Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, took a few days off so the other brewers decide to have fun making what they call a Farmville dark ale that is "unfiltered, unpasteurized and unsupervised." The beer is brewed with seven different malts and is aged in oak barrels that formerly held 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. The result is an immediate vanilla hit and a whiskey nose, but this mellow as the beer opens. Nice multiple layers of malt richness, some fudge and wood. A real nice limited edition beer.

Scaldis Refermentee 75th Anniversary Amber Ale:: Golden amber color this beer is bright and fruity. Nice head bursts from the bottle and reduces down to a firm lacing cover. The 12 percent alcohol by volume content is clear, but not overpowering. Overall a great bottle to share with a couple of friends.

New Belgium Mothership Wit: This organic wheat beer is one of the more interesting wheat beers I have tasted in some time. Light yellow cloudy color, with a zesty citrus flavor bed. Slight hint of spice, but mainly crisp, clean and refreshing.

Pike Tandem Double Ale: This 7.5 percent Trappist-style ale is a dark, flavorful and rounded brew. There is a slight hint of the coriander used in the brewing and this has an overall semi-sweet chocolate note.

Pike Monk's Uncle Tripel Ale: This 9 percent alcohol by volume ale uses Westmalle yeast ands pours a nice golden color with a lacy head. There is an overall fruity background flavor to this brew with just a hint of honey.

Upstream Oak-Aged Tripel: Who knew they brewed beer like this in Nebraska? This beer pours a hazy reddish brown with a slightly citrus nose. The oak is clear and upfront in this beer. A subtle background sourness rounds out the package.

Cascade Apricot: Ripe apricots are added to a gueuze that has been on oak for eight months to form this brew. Hazy golden color, with a thin white head. Nice sourness that has clear bright spots from the fruit. A nice summer time treat. Lots of subtle oak character.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brewers Association Announces Top 50 Brewers Based on 2008 Sales

The Boulder, Colo., based Brewers Association has released its annual ranking of the largest brewing companies in the United States. The data is based on sales volume during 2008.

Two major changes in the new rankings reflect industry consolidations during the year. Miller Brewing and Coors Brewing merged to create MillerCoors, ranked second on this year's list, while Widmer Brothers and Redhook merged to form the Craft Brewers Alliance, ranked seventh on the list.

Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies by Beer Sales Volume
(Based on 2008 sales)

1. Anheuser-Busch InBev, St. Louis, MO
2. MillerCoors Brewing Co., Chicago, IL
3. Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
4. Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
5. D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., Pottsville, PA
6. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
7. Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc., Woodinville, WA
8. New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
9. High Falls Brewing Co., Rochester, NY
10. Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX
11. Pyramid Breweries Inc., Seattle, WA
12. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
13. Iron City Brewing Co., Pittsburgh, PA
14. Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, WI
15. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY
16. Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, MO
17. Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR
18. Magic Hat Brewing Co., Burlington, VT
19. Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK
20. Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA
21. Bell's Brewery Inc., Galesburg, MI
22. Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
23. Kona Brewery LLC, Kailua-Kona, HI
24. Anchor Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA
25. August Schell Brewing Co., New Ulm, MN
26. Shipyard Brewing, Portland, ME
27. Summit Brewing Co., Saint Paul, MN
28. Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA
29. Mendocino Brewing Co., Ukiah, CA
30. Abita Brewing Co. L.L.C., Abita Springs, LA
31. The Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
32. New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI
33. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
34. Long Trail Brewing Co., Bridgewater Corners, VT
35. Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., San Jose, CA
36. Rogue Ales/Oregon Brewing Co., Newport, OR
37. Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, OH
38. The Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, CA
39. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.,Paso Robles,CA
40. SweetWater Brewing Co., Atlanta, GA
41. Flying Dog Brewing Co., Frederick, MD
42. BJ's Restaurant & Brewery, Huntington Beach, CA
43. Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants, Louisville, CO
44. BridgePort Brewing Co., Portland, OR
45. Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
46. Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA
47. Straub Brewery, Saint Marys, PA
48. Cold Spring Brewing Co., Cold Spring, MN
49. Mac and Jack's Brewery, Redmond, WA
50. Big Sky Brewing Co., Missoula, MT

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Are Beer Festivals Recession Proof?

The ticket scalpers at the NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament reported prices were way down from last year. It's the same for scalpers at this weekend's Master's Golf Tournament. At the start of the Major League Baseball season estimates were that group sales and single ticket sales were down near 1 million from the same point last season. And NASCAR tracks are reporting pre-race sales are off nearly 20 percent.

People have cut back on sports tickets, but they appear to still be more than willing to buy beer festival tickets.

Two upcoming festivals in North Carolina are proof that craft beer has a very loyal following, even in tough economic times. The World Beer Festival in Raleigh, slated for May 2nd, is already sold out. Organizers reported last week that all 7,500 tickets are gone. Even more impressive is the fact that 12,000 tickets for the Brewgrass Festivall in Asheville on Sept. 19th also recently sold out.

Scalpers are now a common site at beer festivals. I never really minded the folks trying to unload a ticket or two for friends who were not able to make the event. What is now more bothersome is the fact that professionals are starting to move in and buy up tickets for festivals they know will sell out and turning to places like Craig's List to make a quick buck. In today's economy, people need to find a way to make a living. And I know beer fans are willing to pay extra rather than be closed out of these festivals. I just like the idea of the real value of a beer festival ticket being the opportunity to get inside and taste the beer, rather than what you can get for it on the curb outside.

Perhaps festivals will have to start holding back 100 tickets to sell on the day of the event as a way of taking the air out of the scalpers trade.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Drinks & Taxes 2009 v13: Delaware

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell wants to close the state's budget gap by increasing the tax on alcohol by 50 percent.

The higher taxes would raise about $6 million that Gov. Markell says the state needs. The price of a six pack of beer would increase about a nickel.

A bill to increase the tax on alcohol died in the Delaware General Assembly last year.

Drinks & Taxes 2009 v12: Indiana

Indiana has a plan to fund sports stadiums and other economic development projects by increasing the tax on beer wine and spirits.

Indiana House Bill 1604 is being called a painless way to raise an estimated $34 million, doubling what is currently collected.

The bill calls for taxes on beer and wine to go up about 1 cent per drink and the tax on liquor to increase about 2 cents a drink.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Willamette Valley Vineyards and Whole Foods Market Launch Cork ReHarvest Program

An Oregon winery is teaming up with Whole Foods Markets, the Rainforest Alliance and Western Pulp Products on a program to recycle corks from wine bottles as a way to protect the environment.

According to Willamette Valley Vineyards the cork forests of the Mediterranean are second to the Amazon Forest in importance to the world’s biosphere. A number of groups, including the Rainforest Alliance, say the increased usage of plastic stoppers and aluminum screw caps is cutting the demand for cork and placing the forests at risk. We covered the issue in an earlier post, pointing out that some predict up to 75 percent of the Mediterranean's cork forests could disappear in the next decade. Cork is harvested in Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France. Cork is harvested by stripping off the bark from a live cork oak, which requires more than four decades to reach maturity. The tree is left standing and the bark grows back in nine years, when it can be stripped again.

The groups launching the Cork ReHarvest program note that cork trees naturally remove carbon from the air and and pump oxygen back into the atmosphere. They say that manufacturing aluminum screw caps and synthetic corks has a negative impact on the environment.

Western Pulp Products in Corvallis, Ore., will recycle the cork into shippers for protecting wine bottles. It's estimated that the wine industry uses 15 billion corks a year, most of which end up in landfills.