Samuel Johnson once said, “We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice.”
There is a notion that professionally brewing beer can lead to big things. The general public thinks of breweries as hulking factories turning out millions of bottles a year. However, the overwhelming majority of the 1,600 U.S. craft breweries produce much less than 50,000 barrels a year. (One barrel equals about 31 gallons, or 248 16oz pints.) Read more
Belgium is the holy land of beer and each year thousands of thirsty pilgrims make the trek overseas to visit the Trappist breweries, fulfill their love of lambics and sample great gueuze. American brewers are regularly among those visitors, there to unwind but also school themselves in the centuries old traditions that are the foundation of beer today.
It seems that the Belgian counterparts are taking notice to what American brewers are doing as well and regularly pay similar visits to see what the less encumbered by tradition folks are up to.
Occasionally, brewers from the two countries will collaborate. These partnerships are still somewhat rare given the collaboration frenzy that American brewers are in the midst of with each other but that makes the end result that more special.
I did a quick television interview last week for local cable station News 12 New Jersey about beer for Valentine’s Day.
We taped at J.J. Bittings, a brewpub in Woodbridge, N.J. which has a wonderful chocolate cherry stout on tap.
I show up in the second half of the story to talk about the cuvee brut from Liefmans. We filmed a bit about Gamma Ray from Terrapin brewing (a wheat wine brewed with two types of honey) but it was cut due to time. Oh well. Next time.
A note came in from Sam Adams HQ this February 2, 2011, that the prognosticator of prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and, as such, Spring would arrive six weeks early. With the winter beating most of the country has received over the last few months this is certainly welcome news.
According to a press release from the brewery, Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Co. which makes the Sam Adams line of beers, was in Punxsutawney this morning to watch the most famous rodent weatherman make his prediction. Last night, Koch was made an honorary member of Punxsutawney Phil’s Inner Circle, “a group of tuxedo-clad keepers sworn to uphold the grand tradition of Groundhog Day.”
It should be noted that – in pictures at least – Koch shunned the top hat and tails and wore his usual outfit of tan kahki pants with a blue denim button down shirt stitched with the Samuel Adams logo.
It is fitting that Punxsutawney Phil predicted spring, because the brewery is using it as a chance to promote their spring seasonal beer, Noble Pils.
This beer showed up in recent years as a nice alternative to some heavier “spring” alternatives. It’s brewed in the Czech style and comes out as crisp with a nice bit of hops on the finish. At 4.9% ABV, it’s a really nice session beer.
Noble Pils, Koch told me in an interview a few months ago, was first brewed as a wedding beer for his daughter who was married a few years ago. It was so popular, he said, that the brewery decided to add it to their regular lineup.
Available between January and March, Noble Pils, should make us all think of warmer times. That is something we desperately need right about now.