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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brewers Celebrate GABF Medal Wins

The Great American Beer Festival for 2009 is in the books. The activities wrapped up last evening at the Colorado Convention Center, but for the brewers the main event happened during the afternoon session, when medals were handed out.

There were 3,308 beers in the GABF competition entered by 495 brewers in 78 categories and the Pro-Am category. The beers were judged by 132 industry professionals from 10 countries.

Here is the complete list of winners from the Brewers Association.

The top five medal winning states were: Colorado (45), California (39), Oregon (22), Washington (13) and Pennsylvania (12).

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year is Chuckanut Brewery of Bellingham, Wash., and Will Kemper.

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year is Pizza Port Carlsbad of Carlsbad, Calif. and Pizza Port Brew Guys.

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year is Dry Dock Brewing Company of Aurora, Colo., and Dry Dock Brewing Team.

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year is Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Maryland, and Robert Malone.

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year is Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colo., and Dr. David Ryder.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Samuel Adams LongShot Winners Announced

One of the highlights of the Great American Beer Festival for the beer journalists at the event is the annual Samuel Adams brunch. It's a chance to have some quiet time with writers you know and respect, plus Jim Koch gets back to his homebrewing roots at the event.

The Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest selects beers from two homebrewers and a Boston Beer employee's recipe to make up the yearly release of the LongShot variety pack.

This year's six pack is going to be one you need to try. Michael Robinson of New Hampshire has an Old Ale in the pack, Ben Miller of New Mexico contributes a Barleywine, and Jeremy White, an IT employee at Boston Beer, offers a Belgian-style Saison.

The LongShot pack is slated for release in April 2010.

Denver Rare Beer Tasting is in the Books

I'll leave it up to others to comment on the quality of the inaugural Denver Rare Beer Tasting to benefit the Pints for Prostates campaign, but I figured I'd post a few photos and offer thanks to all of the people who made the event a success.

First of all, 24 great breweries came through with a group of truly unique and exotic beers. You can check out the list of the brews that were served here. Part of the buzz from the event was created by the fact so many legendary brewers were on hand to talk with beer fans about the special beers being poured.

There were the volunteers, many of them home brewers with a real passion for beer, that made it possible to produce the event. The team at the Wynkoop Brewery received the beer over several days as it arrived from around the country and they provided excellent service as beer fans sampled the brews and enjoyed snacks.

Then there were the 450 beer fans who had the faith to buy tickets for a first time event and started lining up for the DRBT about an hour before the doors opened. There is no shortage of beer events in Denver this week, so it was great to have so many people turn out. Several told me they came to Denver from across the country just for this event, which is pretty impressive.

Then there were a host of folks who donated services to get the programs, signs, glassware and other items produced, including eTix, Harperprints, Image Navigators and Eric Mower and Associates. A special thanks also goes out to the Brewers Association, BeerAdvocate.com and Visit Denver for helping to promote the event, which sold out more than a month ago.

The biggest thanks of all go out to Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer Magazine, and the entire team at the publication, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The amount of energy and expertise they put into the Denver Rare Beer Tasting made the entire event possible. Literally, without Daniel's tireless efforts the DRBT would have never happened.

In the end, the Denver Rare Beer Tasting helped raise the awareness of the brewing community and beer fans about the need for regular prostate health screenings and PSA testing. The funds raised at the event go to help the Us TOO Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a group that works with men with prostate cancer and their families. And, while there are plenty of good reasons to have a beer tasting, this is one of the best I can think of and why we are talking about doing it again next year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ready or Not: It's Beer Festival Time in Denver

There is excitement in the rather chilly air of Denver on the eve of the 28th annual Great American Beer Festival. The city is pretty much a giant river of beer for the next few days, with thousands of beer fans paddling through the rapids, outstretched hands holding tasting glasses in search of the next great brew.

To start things off, the first Denver Beer Fest is currently underway. This 10-day event is one of what will become two annual “Beer Weeks” for the Mile High City. The time leading up to and during the GABF has always been packed with beer related events, but the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau decided to formalize things this year by serving as a hub for all things beer. There are dozens of tastings, dinners, tours and other events focused around beer. There is no possible way to participate in everything, but there is no excuse not to immerse yourself in the celebration.

The GABF is still the focus in Denver this week. The Brewers Association will break records with this year’s event. Paid attendance is expected to reach 49,000 people (plus volunteers, brewers and media) during the four sessions. Organizers say 46 percent more space in the Colorado Convention Center is being utilized to hold a record 457 brewers pouring 2,100 beers. The event is sold out, which is music to the ears of scalpers working the streets near the venue. If you are attending, please stop by the Pints for Prostates booth (D-1), not far from the Pro-Am beers and the GABF t-shirt sales area. We’ll be raffling a kegerator to raise funds to help fight prostate cancer and we will have information available about the disease.

The GABF medal competition will also set records this year. A total of 495 breweries from 48 states have entered 3,362 beers for judging by a team of dedicated industry professionals. Over the years GABF medals have helped establish the brewing credentials of some of America’s top craft brewers. Winning a GABF is a true point of pride for brewers. If you are trying to handicap likely contenders, check out this post from that chronicles the 2,987 medals handed out since the professional judging panels were established in 1987.

One of the happenings in Denver this week that I’m most excited about on several levels is the inaugural Denver Rare Beer Tasting. This event started out a few months back as a simple idea to bring together some of America’s best craft brewers to help fight prostate cancer. With the help of All About Beer Magazine, in cooperation with BeerAdvocate.com, this event brings the Pints for Prostates campaign to Denver in style. We are using the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message.

The brewing community really stepped up for this event. We have 24 of the country’s most innovative brewers pouring some of the most exotic and hard to find beers on the planet. You can check out the beer list here and you will understand why the 450 tickets for this event sold out weeks in advance. There is even a waiting list of people who want to volunteer. All proceeds from the DRBT benefit the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity that helps men with cancer and their families.

Lyke2Drink will file several reports from Denver this week to keep you up to date on some of the happenings in and around Denver. We hope you will join us for the ride.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Release of 1,001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die Set for March 2010

Amazon.com has already started promoting advance sales for 1,001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, which has a scheduled release date of March 23, 2010.

The book, edited by U.K. beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones, is the result of contributions from beer writers around the globe. I put together the reviews for 24 of the American beers that will be featured in the book -- so just 2.4 percent of the final product, but I got to taste some world class brews in the process. I'm not going to name drop at this point, since part of the fun of getting this book will be to find out which beers were selected and which of your favorites are missing. This is one of those books that will start a few debates in various languages.

The thing about a book like this or any list that attempts to rank the best is that there is always someone left out. Even with the great team of writers for this book, there are certainly more than one or two great beers that did not make the cut. Sometimes it's because the editor feels that a particular beer is the 1,002nd beer to taste before you die. In other cases it might be because the brand is relatively unknown or the brewery is in a remote location. This book will not be out long before the beer message boards buzz with lists of beers that people feel were snubbed. That's half the fun.

According to Amazon, this 960-page hardcover book published by Universe will have a list price of $36.95. The early bird discount on Amazon is 34 percent, so you can get it for just $24.39. That's 2-cents per beer reviewed in the book. I'm certainly not that objective about the project, but I'd say it's certainly worth the price.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Celebrating Oktoberfest in Winston-Salem

Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, N.C., celebrated Oktoberfest today with an event that raised funds for Pints for Prostates and Save the Ta Tas.

I stopped in and had the chance to enjoy a rich Oktoberfest beer produced by the talented Jamie Bartholomaus and the Foothills team. This amber colored beer has a thin tan head and nice sweet aroma. Good light roasted malt notes and plenty of caramel touches to the finish. Perfect for the season.

The event included a number of contests, raffles and German food to go along with the Oktoberfest release. I brought back a growler to enjoy during tailgating tomorrow for the opening game of the NFL season for the Carolina Panthers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Denver Rare Beer Tasting Brews Announced

The beer list for the sold out Denver Rare Beer Tasting has been finalized. The brewers donating beer to this event have gone out of their way, dug deep into private cellars and provided some real gems for beer fans to sample.

For those of you lucky enough to have one of the 450 tickets to this inaugural event, here's what you can look forward to enjoying on Sept. 25th:

* Alaskan Smoked Porter 1999 & 2008
* Allagash Fluxus 2009
* Bison Reunion '09 -- A Beer for Hope Double White Ale
* Samuel Adams Utopias 2009
* Brooklyn Wild 1
* Deschutes Double Black Butte Porter XX
* Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra 2006
* Foothills 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Aged Total Eclipse Stout
* Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine 2008
* Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Glacier Harvest ’09 Wet Hop Ale
* Highland Big Butte Smoked Porter
* Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Mars Grand Reserve 2006 & 2007
* Lost Abbey The Angel's Share 2009 Brandy Barrel Finish
* Mich Brett
* New Belgium Trip II
* New Glarus Golden Ale
* Odell Crimson Shenanigans
* Oskar Blues Wet & Whiskeyed Gordon
* Rogue Ales John John Hazelnut
* Saranac Imperial IPA
* Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Scotch Ale
* Stoudt Old Abominable Barleywine 2007
* Stone 2008 Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Red Wine Barrels
* Wynkoop Barrel Aged Berserker Mead

All money raised by the Pints for Prostates campaign goes to help the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Drinking Reduces Depression in Teenage Girls

Is beer good for teenage girls?

Just asking the question might earn you a trip to the local jail in some southern states. But, according to a brave researcher in Indiana, drinking might be the key to help teenage girls avoid depression.

Timothy Owens, a sociology professor at Purdue University in Indiana, conducted a study that found high school-aged girls who had drinks once or twice in the past month with their friends were less likely to report feeling depressed than peers who did not drink.

Owens said the reason appears to be having a drink or two gives the the teenage girls a reason to go out with friends to relax, have fun and interact. Building social relationships are extremely important to teenage girls and has a positive impact on how they feel about themselves.

Owens said the study results reflect occasional drinking and not binge-drinking or getting intoxicated on a regular basis.

Owens said the study also found little correlation between drinking by teenage boys and their emotional well-being.

The research looked at more than 1,000 high school students. The results are published in the Journal of Adolescence.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: Great Stuff from Kentucky

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we taste four new whiskeys from Kentucky.

They make whiskey in Kentucky. Very good whiskey. There are a precious few distilleries in the Bluegrass State, but they turn out some of the best brown spirits you will find anywhere. This is especially true when the distillers produce a special bottling or dig deep in their rackhouses for aged barrels.

Happily, I occasionally receive samples of these whiskeys for articles I am writing. Recently some samples arrived that were really extra special. In fact, one bottle might be one of the rarest whiskeys in the world.

Let me explain. A bottle of Rittenhouse Very Rare Single Barrel Rye, a 25-year-old rye, arrived for tasting. A 25-year-old rye by itself is a fairly rare whiskey. Then Larry Kass from Heaven Hill Distilleries contacted me to say a mistake had been made. My first thought was they might want the bottle back. Instead Larry told me that the bottle did not contain the contents of a single barrel, as promised on the label, but mistakenly contained a blend of barrel numbers one and three. So what I had instead of a great single barrel rye was an extremely small batch whiskey the distillery had not planned to release. Even better was knowing a second "correct" bottle was on its way.

Rittenhouse Very Rare Single Barrel Rye: Barrel #1, barreled on Oct. 11, 1984. Heaven Hill released 21- and 23-year-old expressions of this whiskey earlier in the decade. Glowing cherry wood color. Wonderful vanilla nose. For a 100 proof whiskey this is extremely smooth.

Rittenhouse Very Rare Blended Barrel Rye: Barreled on Oct. 11, 1984. Barrels #1 & #3. For an "error bottle," this is darn good whiskey. Pretty much the same color as the single barrel #1 whiskey. The vanilla nose is there, too, if slightly muted. This rye is smooth, but has more smoky characteristics.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection: This is the fourth release in this series and uses oak that has been seasoned for three to five years. At 100.4 proof you can certainly cut it with a little water, but you will at least take a small sip first. Dark mahogany color with a slightly sweet nose. Nice oak and dark fruit flavors. Finishes with a touch of spice.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon: Distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2009 this 97 proof whiskey is the latest in the series started by in 2002. Nice glowing amber color and slightly sweet nose. The whiskey has big oak up front. As it opens follow up sips give hints of nuts and toffee, with a lingering cherry note around the edges at the finish.