Mid Atlantic Brewing News December 2010/January 2011 : Page 1
Stella! A Flexes its PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: HANS GRANHåEIM Global Brand MUSCLES POUR DOWN. Top-Chris Myers of Madison, Wis., winner of the 2010 Stella Artois World Draught Master Championship, demonstrates the nine-step pouring ritual at Old PHOTO COURTESY OF BEER MAGAZINE Billingsgate in London, site of the deciding round. By Greg Kitsock By MABN Staff T hey’re set up in backyards, basements and industrial parks. They mix malt and hops in what appear to be oversized soup pots. Yet, in the eyes of the government, they’re co-equal with Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors, paying taxes and peddling their beer to the public. There is no ofﬁ cial deﬁ nition for the term “nanobrewery.” Paul Gatza, director of the Colorado-based Brewers Association, comments, “I think most folks think of them as commercial ... brewers using a very small system (1/2 to 3 barrels), brewing less than 100 bbl per year and serving a very limited See Smallest p. 4 Editorial ........................................3 Infinium .........................................8 Supersize My Guinness ..............9 HomeBrewing ............................12 Book Review ..............................16 Events .........................................39 INSIDE State by State News Virginia ................14 C Pennsylvania ...22 Philadelphia ........24 E. Pennsylvania ..26 Maryland ..............28 Baltimore .............30 New Jersey ..........34 W. Virginia ...........36 Delaware ..............37 DC ........................38 —The slogan “Les Createurs de Beaute” (She is a thing of beauty) is projected next to a giant beer glass on the facade of Old Billingsgate, a 19th-century ﬁ sh market on the Thames transformed into a swanky auditorium. Inside, several hundred revelers are swaying London to a jazz band performing ‘60s pop standards. Onstage, 20 contestants representing 20 countries, from Croatia to the Cayman Islands, are vying to see who can pour the perfect glass of Stella Artois in compliance with a nine-step pouring ritual that will yield a foamy head precisely two ﬁ ngers in width. Welcome to the fourteenth annual Stella Artois Draught Master Championship -bartending as a spectator sport. See Stella! p. 6
Through The Magnifying Glass:
They’re set up in backyards, basements and industrial parks. They mix malt and hops in what appear to be oversized soup pots.<br /> <br /> yet,in the eyes of the government, they’re co-equal with Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors, paying taxes and peddling their beer to the public.<br /> <br /> There is no official definition for the term “nanobrewery.” Paul Gatza, director of the Colorado-based Brewers Association, comments, “I think most folks think of them as commercial ... brewers using a very small system (1/2 to 3 barrels), brewing less than 100 bbl per year and serving a very limited Distribution range close to the brewery. Most would be located in states that allow self-distribution or limited self-distribution. All of the nanos I have heard of are/were homebrewers who decided to take it another step.”<br /> <br /> Paul Rinehart, who recently founded Baying Hound Aleworks in a warehouse in Rockville, Md., fits the profile in almost every way. Rinehart started brewing at age 14 in his parents’ Washington, DC home, and by 16 had built a still. The 37-year old Rinehart has since held a variety of jobs while continuing homebrewing, including apprentice shoemaker, sous chef, web developer and barista.<br /> <br /> Paul’s godmother’s final words to him were “Follow your dream,” and he is doing just that. The brewery (it consists of a 55-gallon brewhouse and two 42-gallon fermenters) debuted its beer Oct. 16 at the Nuclear Free Beer Festival in Takoma Park, Md.<br /> <br /> Rinehart’s initial offering is Baying Hound Pale Ale, a beer inspired by his late pet, a bloodhound named Marmalade. It’s a well-balanced beer brewed with crystal, Vienna and pale malts, and with nine hop additions, one every fi ve minutes, of Warrior and Willamette. Rinehart says he formulated the pale ale to be as foodfriendly as possible. “A good beer can elevate a meal from simple to sublime.”As of November, Rinehart was planning a smoked porter as his holiday seasonal, and said he might release and IPA as well.<br /> <br /> Rinehart estimates he’ll turn out a little less than 100 bbl his fi rst year, to be sold in 12-oz bottles in Montgomery County, Md., Washington, DC and northern Virginia.<br /> <br /> Brewing in a Quonset Hut<br /> <br /> Elsewhere in the DC suburbs, Cabot Boyd recently received the go-ahead for his Washingtonian’s Brewing Co. In Ft. Washington, Md., just outside the Capitol Beltway. He’ll brew an open-fermented, unfiltered and bottle-conditioned Belgianstyle ale called Monumental Triple. He’ll condition the cork-and-cage 750-ml bottles for a month and cellar them for an additional 90 days before release.<br /> <br /> After years of pilot batches, he’s designed his beer to cater to the American palate: it’s a bit sweeter, softer and with more mouthfeel than many of the Belgian examples.<br /> <br /> The nanobrewery is located in a quonset hut on Boyd’s property, just steps from his house. He cobbled together the brewery for the past three years, customfabricating much of the equipment himself. Boyd needs to brew seven consecutive batches to fill each of his two 9.5-bbl stainless steel fermenters. He plans to produce roughly 60 bbl of Monumental Triple in 2011 for the DC area. Target date for first release: February 2011.<br /> <br /> “This is the first time I’ve done something I really loved and it’s terrifying to live your dream,” says Boyd.<br /> <br /> Joys (and Sorrows) of Nanobrewing<br /> <br /> JoBoy’s in Manheim, Pa. Is a nanobrewpub. Jeff Harless, a retired Air Force officer, and his wife Jo serve Carolina-style barbecue and several house-brewed beers, including a pale ale, red ale, an IPA and rotating dark beers, using a half-barrel Sabco Brew Magic system. Jeff needs to brew once or twice daily to keep up with demand. One of the advantages of starting this small is that you don’t need a lot of capital. Jeff describes JoBoy’s as a “mom-and-pop operation” that he and his wife own outright, with no investors.<br /> <br /> A tiny brewery also permits the brewer to be a little more creative. ”It’s easier to tweak recipes because you are dealing with small batches that you can produce quickly.” His Sabco system is computerized, able to memorize up to 60 recipes, which helps keep formulations consistent. Also, “in the event a batch doesn’t turn out well you haven’t lost a lot of money.”<br /> <br /> The big disadvantage? <br /> <br /> “You never get a break. There is always the risk of running out if You can’t keep up with demand.” That’s bad news if you only sell your own beer.<br /> <br /> At Baying Hound, Rinehart is a one-man work crew. Brewing is done on Mondays and Wednesdays, bottling on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and distributing, selling and everything else on Fridays. Rinehart bottles his beer with a simple manual capper, one container at a time, a very labor intensive operation.<br /> <br /> Cabot Boyd says of his biggest challenge,“There is no economy of scale, you pay retail for everything. As a nano, the one tool you don’t have is money, and that’s the one tool you need the most.” It’s critical to study federal guidelines, he stresses. Boyd struggled with label approval for six months while delaying production of his first commercial batch.<br /> <br /> Even Dogfish and New Belgium Started Small<br /> <br /> Nanobreweries tend to be unstable. Either the owners get tired of 12-hour work days and meager returns and close shop, or they expand rapidly.<br /> <br /> Being a nanobrewery is a temporary phase for Mary Wolf of Wild Wolf Brewing Co. In Nellysford, Va., about 40 miles from Charlottesville. She’s currently brewing a smoked Scottish ale, a honey saison, an American lager and other beers on a 10-gallon Sabco system that certainly qualifes as one of the smallest professional breweries in the country. Wolf, who also Sells homebrew supplies, began offering her beers in growler jugs in November. Eventually, she intends to move to larger quarters and install a 15-barrel brewhouse, but starting small “lets us get the product out there.”<br /> <br /> Some of the nation’s leading craft breweries started as nanos. Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione, when he opened his Rehoboth Beach brewpub in 1995, dribbled out ten-gallon batches on what he called a “glorified home brewing system.” He kept upgrading, and is now approaching 100,000 barrels a year. New Belgium Brewing Co., which brews more than a half million Barrels annually, was founded in 1991 in the owners’ basement; cases of Fat Tire were stacked in the garage while awaiting distribution. Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg, Mich. Broke into the business fermenting his beer in plastic trash buckets.<br /> <br /> The Brewers Association doesn’t keep statistics on teeny-tiny breweries. However, Michael Hess, a nanobrewery owner (Hess Brewing Co.) In San Diego, compiled a list of nanobreweries across the country in mid-September and found 46 in operation and 23 in the planning stages. Hess writes that some, like Two Beers (Seattle) and Schooner Exact (Seattle), “have started on one-barrel systems and have grown into 7-10 bbl systems in a matter of months.” Others, like Healdsburg (Sonoma County) and Steffan’s Aldergrove (Tulalip, Wash,) “have stayed at 10 gallons to 31 gallons for a couple of years now.”<br /> <br /> We’ll certainly see more in the Mid- Atlantic. As this issue went to press, a Hammonton, NJ homebrewer named Jason Chapman has rigged up a one-barrel system and planned to open as Pinelands Brewing Co.<br /> <br /> Baying Hound’s Paul Rinehart doesn’t fear the competition. He hopes that more homebrewers will turn pro. “Do it! But talk to me first,” is his advice.<br /> <br /> Steve Frank, Arnold Metzger, Nathan Zeender, Zachary Hubbard, Mark Haynie and Greg Kitsock contributed to the article.
London—The slogan “Les Createurs de Beaute” (She is a thing of beauty) is projected next to a giant beer glass on the facade of Old Billingsgate, a 19th-century fish market on the Thames transformed into a swanky auditorium. Inside, several hundred revelers are swaying To a jazz band performing ‘60s pop standards. Onstage, 20 contestants representing 20 countries, from Croatia to the Cayman Islands, are vying to see who can pour the perfect glass of Stella Artois in compliance with a nine-step pouring ritual that will yield a foamy head precisely two fingers in width.<br /> <br /> Welcome to the fourteenth annual Stella Artois Draught Master Championship - bartending as a spectator sport.<br /> <br /> Could this retro party be the first stirrings of an awakening giant?<br /> <br /> In 2008, Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate InBev bought out Anheuser-Busch to form the largest brewing company the planet has ever seen - in 2009 it pumped out over 340 million barrels of beer for a global market share approaching 25%. <br /> <br /> But the company has had one hand tied behind its back, integrating Anheuser-Busch into its corporate culture (and cutting out $1 billion of fat from the books) even as it tried to whittle down a mountain of debt. InBev paid $52 billion to hook the St. Louis giant, the largest allcash acquisition in the history of commerce.<br /> <br /> Now, the combined operation, dubbed Anheuser-Busch InBev, is poised to spread its wings like the eagle on its redesigned logo. According to intelligence from the A-B distributors convention in New Orleans in October, the company aims to double its share of the U.S. high-end beer market (imports, crafts and specialty beers) over the next three years.<br /> <br /> Stella Artois will play a key role in meeting this goal. The international pilsner with the delicate Saaz hop-accented aroma and flavor is available in over 80 countries. Press material proclaims the brand “the number one Belgian beer in the world,” although in some nations, like the U.K., it’s brewed locally under license, instead of being imported from its home base in Leuven, Belgium.<br /> <br /> (That same press kit was obviously not written by brewers. It states that Stella Artois is “bottom-filtered.” Could they possibly mean “bottom-fermented”?)<br /> <br /> Image Conscious<br /> <br /> The United Kingdom is Stella’s largest market, but it’s got an image problem here. It’s called “wife beater.” This might be a reference to the character Stanley Kowalski in the play A Streetcar Named Desire, who bellows “Stella!” before wailing the tar out of his wife. Or it might be a cynical comment on the flood of cheap lager that’s exacerbating alcohol-related problems in Britain. One London restaurateur tells us that supermarkets sometimes sell beer at lower prices than bottled water. A recent study published in the British medical journal Lancet argued that alcohol was more harmful than crack or heroin, and urged that taxes should be raised to make it less affordable.<br /> <br /> “We should be premium, but retail pricing is something we have no effect on,” comments Alexander Lambrecht, global marketing manager for Stella Artois.<br /> <br /> Stella, an everyday draft in its native Belgium, wants to hobnob in the high end of the cooler elsewhere. The brand is a sponsor Of major film festivals around the world, including Cannes, Toronto and Sundance. A-B InBev hired directors Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (son of Francis Ford Coppola) to film a commercial in which a young woman, fooling around with a panel of buttons in a mechanized bachelor pad, is swallowed up by a rotating sofa and bed. Her date is too entranced by a glass of Stella to pay attention to her muffled protests.<br /> <br /> A-B InBev has released two new products to shore up its U.K. market. Stella Artois 4% is meant to be a socially responsible product with less alcohol than a full-strength brew. The curiously named Stella Artois Black is actually a golden-amber in color. It’s a bit More fuller-bodied than the regular version and lightly spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel, the same condiments used in the company’s Hoegaarden Witbier.<br /> <br /> Don’t expect either to show up in the United States yet. A-B InBev wants to concentrate its marketing efforts on the core brand. Although Stella Artois ranks a respectable number nine on the list of U.S. imports (between Dos Equis and Newcastle Brown), global marketing manager Lukas Herscovici thinks there is still much room for growth. “It’s well-known on the East and West Coasts, but not in the interior.”<br /> <br /> Rumors are cirulating that Budweiser might cede one of its Superbowl 2011 spots To Stella. “It’s a possibility, not a reality,” comments Herscovici.<br /> <br /> Stella Artois debuted in 1926 as a Christmas beer from what was then the Artois brewery. Because of its name, it’s often assumed to be French. Mark Dolan, a British standup comedian and TV host, whose emceing the Draught Master championship does nothing to dispel this misconception. “You can almost hear the ladies of Paris with their 500-franc high heels clicking along the Champs d’Elysee,” he intones.<br /> <br /> “The Stella Artois is as ice cold as Catherine Deneuve in a Truffaut fl ick.”<br /> <br /> Masters of the Pour <br /> <br /> Our contestants, dressed in black aprons and identical bartender garb, have three minutes to complete an intricate pouring ritual which begins with a thorough rinsing of the chalice-shaped glassware and ends with the server presenting the filled glass, logo pointed outward, to a panel of judges.<br /> <br /> Madison, Wis. Resident Chris Myers, representing the United States, has the looks and charm of a young Bill Clinton. He hopes to wow the judges with his risky behind-theback glass flip, which, if improperly executed, could result in shattered crystal and a quick exit.<br /> <br /> Myers survives the first two eliminations. One by one, his competitors, from Belgium, Canada and Australia, fall, until Myers is declared the newest World Draught Master, while a partisan section of the audience yells “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”<br /> <br /> Myers is surrounded by camera crews and it takes about an hour before I can horn in to conduct an interview. The 32-year-old University of Wisconsin graduate remarks, “Since I was an English major, I thought I’d tend bar.” The U.S. preliminaries, however, were open only to beer consumers (no professionals), so Myers had to quit his gig to remain eligible. He’s been living with a friend in Panama to conserve money. “I haven’t earned a dollar in two months. I’ll be flying back to Madison with ten bucks in my pocket.”<br /> <br /> When he’s not quaffing Stella, Myers enjoys craft beer, citing Wisconsin craft brands Spotted Cow, Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart from New Glarus, and Autumnal Fire from Capital Brewing among his favorites. As he tours the world over the next 12 months demonstrating the art of the pour, maybe he can sneak in a few local brews between Stellas.<br /> <br /> The Beer That Made Leuven Famous<br /> <br /> Like a snowball rolling downhill, the company now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev became the world’s largest beermaker by gradually absorbing brands and breweries from the surrounding beerscape.<br /> <br /> A-B InBev traces its history back to 1366, when a brewpub named Den Hoorn (the “hunting horn”) opened in Leuven, Belgium, on the edge of a forest full of deer and boar. In the early eighteenth century, Sebastien Artois, who had apprenticed at the brewery, took over the company. He would lend his name to the brand Stella Artois, first introduced in 1926 as a special Christmas beer when pale, hoppy lagers were more of a novelty than they are now.<br /> <br /> Artois began its rise to the top in 1987 when it merged with a Wallonian brewery called Piedboeuf to form a new company called Interbrew. Over thirty more deals followed during the 1990s, including the acquisition of Labatt and Latrobe Brewing Cos. In 1995 that gave Interbrew a firm foothold on the North American continent.<br /> <br /> In 2004, Interbrew merged with AmBev, a South American company that had been formed by the union of Brazil’s two largest brewers, Brahma and Antarctica.<br /> <br /> In 2008 InBev pulled off the unthinkable by purchasing the largest U.S. brewer, Anheuser-Busch, for $52 billion or $70 a share. According to the recently published Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon by Julie MacIntosh, the hubris of the Busches helped make the deal possible. They owned less than 4% of the stock in their own company, and never bothered to set up a two-tiered shareholding system that would have kept the company under family control. Longtime CEO August Busch III managed to snag over 50% of the U.S. market, but didn’t see the writing on the wall as the beer industry globalized. He turned down several deals, including proposed mergers with Diageo and AmBev that might have kept the company independent.<br /> <br /> While Budweiser is a brand in decline, Stella Artois is a rising star. The brand sold 8.4 million barrels worldwide in 2009, more than doubling its volume over the last ten years.<br /> <br /> To commemorate the fact that Stella Artois was originally released as a Christmas seasonal, the makers are offering the Belgian pilsner in a special holiday package, a corked 750-ml bottle.<br /> <br /> But even if you eschew Stella, it’s hard to avoid A-B InBev. Do you enjoy an occasional Hoegaarden, the classic Belgian wit? How about Leffe? Beck’s? St. Pauli Girl? Franziskaner Weissbier? Spaten? Staropramen? Murphy’s? Bass? Boddingtons? Lowenbrau?<br /> <br /> These are all part of the brewing giant’s portfolio.