Northwest Brewing News June/July 2012 : Page 38
38 Northwest Brewing News June/July 2012 N. Cal continued from p. 34 accompanying golf tournament, contact Jim at loomisbasinbrewery.com. Another newer north state brewery, Feather Falls Casino Brewing Company , is drawing crowds of people who keep brewmaster Roland Allen busy. Along with food pairings, concerts upon a state of the art stage, and great food, Allen is creating specials that spruce up the beer menu. Good times are in store, and pints are only two bucks. Some of our most successful brewers not only make good beer to help keep them in operation; they also do good things for their communities. Northern California correspondent Danny Wilson believes in doing the right thing, too. He’s off this month to check out New Zealand brews, and to hold his new granddaughter. Behind the Bar continued from p. 9 California has very few brewers with a national presence. facturers, and may be a more widespread consumer trend. Retailers are heading down the strange road of beer cocktails by combining your favorite beer with vodka or the like. Beer blending, which is even more apocalyptic, lets the consumer be the brewer by blending one tap beer with another. In the old days, there was the “Alaskan Valdez,” an Alaskan Amber blended with a “spill” of Alaskan Stout . Do we really want to go back there? On top of that, ciders are making huge strides in the market. Boston Beer Company introduced their own cider years ago, A-B recently bought Crispin Cider, and there are more ciders in the market all the time. Finally, if the gluten-free anxiety heats up we may see even more strange concoctions. All of this craziness may shift consumer demands and impact the magical growth of craft beer. The New Road Ahead Though all this good news for craft beer sales may indeed encourage brew-ing entrepreneurs, it is uncertain how long the craze will continue. The recent changes in the liquor laws in Washington will mean that many distributors who sell beer will also soon be selling distilled products in the retail trade. Also, large liquor box stores from California are scheduled to open here this summer, and that could affect consumer drinking habits and trends as well. The increase in spirits sales we see elsewhere could be seen here with the inevitable liquor promotion. Will the availability and dis-tribution of distilled products affect craft sales in the long run? On the distribution side, Anheuser Busch/Inbev recently bought K& L Distributors in Seattle. This strange inequity in the three-tier system allows a manufacturer to own a distributor. AB will now be able to totally control how their Bud portfolio is marketed and distributed. In theory, they can dictate which of their products are featured and increase sales by active promotion of their core brands. However, K&L also has a substantial cat-alogue of craft beers. How will this new ownership affect these craft beers? Will AB wholeheartedly promote craft products if they compete with their core products? A State of Confusion Although now is an exciting time for craft brewers, the plethora of alco-hol choices, distribution changes, and consumer taste may alter the pace of growth. It is unlikely that in the near future we will see a dramatic drop in craft beer sales, since there just is too much great beer available and plenty of great beer lovers, too. However, there are many more competitors for the con-sumer’s drinking dollar, and some big players are trying to change the habits of craft consumers. But while the pace of growth may ease with all that is going on, our love affair with that pint of IPA is not going to change. Bob Brenlin is the owner of The Latona, Hopvine, and Fiddler’s Inn pubs in Seattle. New Competion for Craft Beer If the large domestic breweries can’t create successful craft products or buy enough craft breweries to increase sales, they may instead take the low road of making something that isn’t beer at all. Coors has introduced Coors Light Iced Tea and AB is attempting to capture part of the distillers’ market with a margarita beer. Unfortunately, this bizarre road to increasing sales is not limited to manu-Guest Taps By Alan Moen © 2012 Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red Part of the new Barrel Room Collection from the Boston Beer Company, America’s largest craft brewer, this is a Belgian-style sour red ale aged in oak barrels and bottle-conditioned. It’s a somewhat opaque rusty brown in color, with a huge creamy beige head. The nose is spicy and woody, with the aroma of red elderberries from the forest. The flavor of the beer is fruity, with a dried pie-cherry tartness and mild sourness. It’s full-bodied with signifi-cant acidity, some tingly carbonation, high alcohol notes and a fruity dry acidity in the finish. This is a com-plex, refreshing beer with just enough tartness to make it interesting, and has some aging potential as well. 9 % ABV. Available now in 750-ml cork-finished bottles.
Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red
Part of the new Barrel Room Collection from the Boston Beer Company, America’s largest craft brewer, this is a Belgian-style sour red ale aged in oak barrels and bottle-conditioned. It’s a somewhat opaque rusty brown in color, with a huge creamy beige head. The nose is spicy and woody, with the aroma of red elderberries from the forest. The flavor of the beer is fruity, with a dried pie-cherry tartness and mild sourness. It’s full-bodied with significant acidity, some tingly carbonation, high alcohol notes and a fruity dry acidity in the finish. This is a complex, refreshing beer with just enough tartness to make it interesting, and has some aging potential as well. 9 % ABV. Available now in 750-ml corkfinished bottles.
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