Great Lakes Brewing News Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010 : Page 1

Special Illinois News pull-out section p.21-28 By Don Cazentre radition is the theme that dominates the winter holidays, especially Christmas. So it’s not surprising that tradition dictates holiday beers. Heading into this holiday season, I sought out the brew- masters behind two of the Great Lakes region’s most anticipated holiday offer- ings. One of these beers has been around for 17 years, essentially unchanged. The other is new this year. Yet both brewmas- ters sprinkled the word “tradition” across our interviews like nutmeg on holiday eggnog (or is that cinnamon stick in a winter ale?) Luke Purcell, the pub brewer at Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Phil Leinhart, head brewer at Cooperstown, N.Y.’s Brewery Ommegang, clearly enjoy the challenges (and the extra workload) that go along with making these holiday brews. “This is our busiest time of the year,” Purcell said. “We’re going six days a week to meet the demand for the Christmas Ale.” The recipe for Great Lakes’ Christmas Ale actually predates Purcell’s arrival at the brewery: He came in 1996 and he thinks the beer was formulated in 1992. “It’s essentially an amber ale base,” he said, “with some wheat in there, too.” Today, Great Lakes’ Christmas Ale is 7.5 percent abv and is spiced only with fresh ginger root and cinnamon sticks, though Purcell believes there might have been some nutmeg in the original. “It’s not over the top in spice, but it does come through in the aroma,” he said. There’s also quite a bit of honey, which ferments out See Review p.4 Midwestern Craft Brewing Legends Dan Carey and Mark Stutrud. PHOTO BY BOB PAOLINO By Bob “Now go have a beer” Paolino ith 20% of the world’s fresh surface water, we in the Great Lakes region are blessed com- pared to other parts of North America, and indeed the rest of the world. But with that blessing comes a responsibility of steward- ship of that life-sustaining resource. With W many regions already facing water short- ages, and even the Great Lakes region expe- riencing challenges relating to water supply and water quality, conservation becomes increasingly important. Water conservation may not be the first thing craft beer lovers think about when we get a bottle of beer out of the fridge or enjoy See Water p.5 State by State News Beer and Brewing Events ...................3 Book Review: The Naked Pint .............7 Dinner at Saranac ...............................8 How Beer Civilized Man.......................9 Alpha King Crowns Winner ...............10 Beer Beacon:Winter & Holiday Beers 14 Illinois ............... 24 Indiana .............. 30 Pennsylvania ..... 31 Michigan ............ 32 New York ........... 34 Ontario ............... 38 Quebec ............... 39 Wisconsin .......... 40 Minnesota .......... 42 Ohio ................... 44

Holiday Brew

Don Cazentre

Review

Tradition is the theme that dominates the winter holidays, especially Christmas.

So it’s not surprising that tradition dictates holiday beers. Heading into this holiday season, I sought out the brewmasters behind two of the Great Lakes region’s most anticipated holiday offerings.

One of these beers has been around for 17 years, essentially unchanged. The other is new this year.

Yet both brewmasters sprinkled the word “tradition” across our interviews like nutmeg on holiday eggnog (or is that cinnamon stick in a winter ale?) Luke Purcell, the pub brewer at Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Co. And Phil Leinhart, head brewer at Cooperstown,

N. Y.’s Brewery Ommegang, clearly enjoy the challenges (and the extra workload) that go along with making these holiday brews.

“This is our busiest time of the year,” Purcell said. “We’re going six days a week to meet the demand for the Christmas Ale.” The recipe for Great Lakes’ Christmas Ale actually predates Purcell’s arrival at the brewery: He came in 1996 and he thinks the beer was formulated in 1992.

“It’s essentially an amber ale base,” he said, “with some wheat in there, too.” Today, Great Lakes’ Christmas Ale is 7.5 percent abv and is spiced only with fresh ginger root and cinnamon sticks, though Purcell believes there might have been some nutmeg in the original.

“It’s not over the top in spice, but it does come through in the aroma,” he said. There’s also quite a bit of honey, which ferments out

Pretty completely to boost the alcohol. But the honey also provides the one factor that could change the beer from year to year. “Sometimes the honey ferments out more than in other years,” he said.

“That’s the one thing that’s hardest to control.” But maintaining the Christmas Ale tradition is a key to Great Lakes’ Brewing Co.’s outlook at this time of year. So they don’t mess around with it, Purcell says.

“In northeast Ohio, in particular, the bars start clamoring for it in early November,” he said. “People line up for it. It really does keep us busy.”

At Brewery Ommegang, the holiday beer called Adoration Ale made its debut this year.

It joins a line of eagerly awaited Ommegang seasonals - such as Ommegeddon and Chocolate Indulgence.

Despite Adoration’s newness, however, the brewery looked back at tradition to come up with the recipe, Leinhart said.

“I guess you could say we looked at Scaldis Noel, a classic Belgian “noel” beer,” Leinhart said.

“Our first test brew for it was a Scaldis Noel clone.”

From there, the Ommegang brewers played around with the malts and spices for seven subsequent test batches, until they found the beer they were looking for.

Adoration ended up at 10 percent abv, with a full, rich mouthfeel and an abundance of spice. The spice lineup: Coriander, cardamom, mace, grains of paradise and sweet orange peel, plus a little hops.

Cardomom and mace aren’t terribly common in brewing, Leinhart admits, “but they are very typical Christmas spices.” Leinhart thinks the spice character is a little intense in this, the first Adoration brew, but will mellow a bit as the beer ages. “What we wanted was something within the traditional Belgian Christmas Ale category, and that’s what we came up with,” he said.

Here’s a list of some of my other favorite winter/holiday beers. And yes, some of these will look familiar from previous years, but, hey, we’re not going to mess with tradition:

- - Anchor “Our Special Ale”: This has to make the list because it’s the granddaddy (or by now the great-granddaddy) of all American craft brewed winter beers.

- - Avery Brewing Old Jubilation: Made in Colorado and increasingly available elsewhere, this is a winter warmer at 8 percent abv that brings holiday cheer without spices.

- - Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout: Strong, rich and dark, chocolaty, creamy etc. etc. Stoke up the fire for this one.

- - Goose Island Christmas Ale: This year’s version of the Midwest holiday classic from Chicago is copper/ orange, just under 6 percent abv, with hints or nuts and caramel.

- - Long Trail Hibernator: This Vermont holiday beer is back in my local market for the first time in a while. It’s billed as a Scottish ale, with lot of butterscotch and caramel.

- - Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve: From Oregon’s Rogue Brewery, this beer uses hops the way many Christmas beers use spice: The hops provide layer upon layer of complexity.

- - From Eggenberg Brewery in Austria, Samichlaus: A Christmas dopplebock.

- - Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale: I tried to keep this off my list, but I can’t. Warming malty, rich and fruity: It’s what Charles Dickens would be drinking if he were still around.

- - Saranac Season’s Best (Nut Brown Lager): If there was ever a lager that drinks like an ale, this is it. Matt Brewing achieves a great deal of complexity with this one.

- - Schlafly Christmas Ale: From just outside the Great Lakes area (St. Louis), this is a rich winter ale with traditional spicing from cloves and orange.

- - Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale: The Chico, Calif. Classic, with 62 IBUs of holiday cheer.

- - St-Feuillien Cuvée de Noël: Gottta have another Belgian in the mix. This one’s 9 percnt abv, with intense herbs and spices and a subtle bitterness in the finish.

- - Three Floyds Alpha Klaus: The holiday special from Three Floyds in Munster, Ind. Is a deep, black roasted coffee of porter at 7.5 percent abv.

Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/Holiday+Brew/287730/28742/article.html.

Water Conference Puts Focus on Brewery Usage

Bob “Now go have a beer” Paolino

With 20% of the world’s fresh surface water, we in the Great Lakes region are blessed compared to other parts of North America, and indeed the rest of the world. But with that blessing comes a responsibility of stewardship of that life-sustaining resource.

With many regions already facing water shortages, and even the Great Lakes region experiencing challenges relating to water supply and water quality, conservation becomes increasingly important.

Water conservation may not be the first thing craft beer lovers think about when we get a bottle of beer out of the fridge or enjoy With 20% of the world’s fresh surface water, we in the Great Lakes region are blessed compared to other parts of North America, and indeed the rest of the world.

But with that blessing comes a responsibility of stewardship of that life-sustaining resource.

With many regions already facing water shortages, and even the Great Lakes region experiencing challenges relating to water supply and water quality, conservation becomes increasingly important.

Water conservation may not be the first thing craft beer lovers think about when we get a bottle of beer out of the fridge or enjoy

A pint at the pub, but perhaps we should.

That’s probably what Milwaukee beer writer and foodie Lucy Saunders was thinking when she decided to combine her interests in beer and the environment to launch the Great Lakes Craft Brewers and Water Conservation Conference at Discovery World in Milwaukee on October 26-27.

“I love the Great Lakes, and support the Compact’s goal of water conservation, and given my interest in craft brewing,” Saunders said,

“I thought it possible to bring everyone together...to discuss how to cope with the challenges that lie ahead.” Saunders added,

“I deliberately chose Discovery World-a museum dedicated to creativity, innovation and technology- as the site since we will need all of those to deal with our water situation.”

Leinenkugel Sponsorship With considerable financial sponsorship from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, the conference brought together a wide range of different outlooks and professions- government officials from Wisconsin and Michigan, scientists, legal experts, engineers, environmental advocates, and, of course, professional brewers from small and large breweries-to share their perspectives and expertise on the topic.

It attracted 120 attendees to Milwaukee from across the U.S., from as far away as California to Washington in the west, New Jersey and Virginia in the east, and Oklahoma, to as close as the seven craft brewers from Wisconsin who attended at least the first day of the session.

About half of them were full conference attendees who attended a Tuesday morning session with Odell’s and MillerCoors and participated in a field trip to New Glarus to tour the brewery and its wastewater treatment facility.

More than 150 people attended a reception featuring artisan cheeses, beers, environmental exhibitors, and a talk by Jake Leinenkugel.

Conference participants also heard presentations on Wisconsin brewing history and an archaeological presentation on beer in ancient civilizations. When we think of water and beer, our first response might be to look at what’s in the bottle.

As Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce Richard Leinenkugel pointed out in his keynote talk, beer is about 92% water. But having grown up in the brewing industry before his relatively recent move to state government, Leinenkugel knows that there’s a lot more to it than what’s in the bottle.

There’s Water in Your Beer The water content of what ends up in the beer is only a fraction of the water used in producing the end product when you consider all the water used in the brewery for cleaning, cooling, losses in boiling, and on and on. If you consider the less obvious things such as, for example, the water used to grow the ingredients, it adds up to quite a bit.

Depending on what you include in the calculation, it can easily take five or six pints of water to make a pint of beer. With fresh water becoming scarcer and demand increasing, the price for water gets more expensive and a brewery has a big incentive to try to reduce water usage.

Monday morning’s panels provided a context for the discussion by offering a background on the geology and hydrology of the Great Lakes region; what states are doing to protect their water resources; the far reaching environmental impacts of how we use water; and the various environmental, economic, and political aspects of the Great Lakes-St.Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (more commonly simply referred to as the Great Lakes Water Compact.).

The public discussion over the Compact highlights the interdependence across the region, or as Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Water Division Administrator Todd Ambs put it, “what we do with our water in Duluth affects people in Buffalo.”

Managing a Resource From the perspective of brewers and other industries, the water management and water supply service area plans within the Great Lakes basin will influence not only how much water costs but also the terms by which large water users will have access to water.

A particularly controversial subject will be to what extent communities straddling the line defining what is inside and


Outside the basin will have access to Great Lakes water, and the conditions under which diversions may or may not be permitted for communities that are outside the basin but within counties straddling the line.

Brewers seeking to site a new brewery or brewpub will need to consider their access to water in a potential location.

With the importance of water conservation established, the Monday afternoon panels got right down to the nuts and bolts of case studies of the kinds of things individual breweries are doing to make smarter use of water in the brewery and, for those with brewpubs or tasting rooms, also in the restaurant portions of their businesses.

Three brewers-from Bridgeport in Oregon, Sierra Nevada in California, and Odell’s in Colorado-from areas of the country already experiencing stress on their local water supplies presented on how they assess their water usage and were able to make relatively simple changes in their equipment and procedures to use less water or to reclaim water used in one process for reuse in another part of the brewery.


The installation of a simple $70 timer on a hot liquor tank, for example, saved Bridgeport from wasting well over a half-million gallons of water a year. Other changes involved challenging old assumptions about how things need to be done.

For example, at Bridgeport, assistant brewmaster Jeff Edgerton explained that they used to clean their bright tanks for every filling, but if the beer is bacteria-free and it’s the same style, was it really necessary to clean the tanks in between? Bridgeport has found that tanks refilled the same day they are emptied had no adverse impact on the quality of the beer, but cleaning bright tanks less often in this way saves them 6-8 cleanings per week compared to their old procedures.

Fermenters, on the other had, do need to be cleaned between uses, but their clean-in-place (CIP) equipment was sized larger than necessary for the size of the tanks. By modifying the size of the CIP nozzles and reducing the flow rate by a little more than 25%, this one small change saves them 45,000 gallons of water per year.

Changes Equal Savings Equal Education

Sierra Nevada performs extensive audits of water usage throughout its brewery, from the brewhouse to the taproom, and works closely with the local water utility to find efficiencies.

As a much larger craft brewery than most, Sierra Nevada has been able to make a number of both small (the “low-hanging fruit”) and large changes in equipment and procedures that add up to big savings.

But it’s not just technical changes that yield savings, according to Fred Strachan, Sierra Nevada’s supervisor of water process and systems.

Educating employees about the importance of water conservation in their jobs-whether in the brewery, in the kitchen, in maintenance, or irrigation of the landscaping and hops field-and encouraging new ways of looking at how they do their work also pays off.

If you can rinse dishes in 30 seconds instead of five minutes, for example, you’ve saved a lot of water from being wasted. Sierra Nevada displays water usage data to employees because they want employees talking about it and trying to improve the numbers.

During the conference, the attendees also learned from each other through the questions they asked and sharing of information about what they do in their own
Breweries.

In Colorado, water law poses a big challenge to brewers. Businesses have to purchase water rights, the availability of which can vary considerably depending on whether it’s a drought year, and more junior users don’t have the same access as longer established businesses.

Constraints like this make attention to efficient use of water even greater for brewers like Doug Odell.

Odell’s attention to finding ways to use less water in brewing processes and use that water as many times as possible before it goes down the drain has enabled his brewery to get that water used to finished beer ratio down to 3.9:1, although Odell is still working on getting it down to 3:1.

And let’s not forget beer disposal.

In one of the lighter moments of the conference, Tom Pape of the Alliance for Water Efficiency pointed out that although one might be able to get the water usage in beer production down from five to even three pints of water to a pint of beer, if you use 19 pints on average to flush away a pint of “used” beer, there are great savings to be found in installing more efficient plumbing fixtures in brewpub washrooms. As Archie Bunker once said, “you can’t buy beer, you can only rent it.”

Read the full article at http://archive.brewingnews.com/article/Water+Conference+Puts+Focus+on+Brewery+Usage/287738/28742/article.html.

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