20060827

Asia's largest beerfest scheduled


Interested in a beerfest in an exotic locale? The largest beer festival in Asia has been scheduled for Feb. 2-4, 2007, in Singapore.

The organizers of Singapore International Beer Festival 2007 hope "to attract brewers from around the world to showcase their products to buyers and distributors in Asia, and at the same time, to create wider consumer awareness about the quality and diversity displayed by the various beers of the world."

At the moment, brewers have signed up from the United States, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

The three-day event, to be held at the Singapore Expo, also will feature live entertainment, a dance competition and, of course, a beer drinking contest without which no brewing event can be held, apparently.

Details are available online, by e-mail or by phone at (65) 62263818.

Other international beerfests:

International Berlin Beer festival

Qingdao International Beer Festival

San Francisco International Beer Festival

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20060823

Empire State Brewery Trail to debut


New York, a state known for its wine trails but with a brewing history that stretches back nearly four centuries, is about to launch an official Empire State Brewery Trail.

The New York State Brewers Association and the Heartland Brewery, a string of brewpubs in New York City and operator of a temporary beer garden that is the largest in the world (see previous entry), will host the start-up event on Friday, Sept. 8, from 5 to 10 p.m. at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 & 17 in Manhattan.

The sponsors are partnering with the Pride of NY program to showcase food and wine producers from around the state. The festival is by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The festival is designed for mature adults. No one under age 21 will be served. Legal identification will be enforced.

Tickets are $40 and are available online. A limited number of tickets may be sold at the gate, but that will depend on the demand of advance sales. Proceeds will benefit the New York State Brewers Association a NYS 501(c) 6 Not-For-Profit Corporation.

The majority of the 60 or so breweries, micro-breweries and brew pubs from across the state are expected to be represented. They are part of a re-emergence of craft breweries in the state that began a decade ago and has grown in fits and starts.

New York's brewing history dates to the 1630s when the Dutch West India Company established a brewery in New York City.

The Empire State Brewery Trail eventually will link brewries around the state through signage, brochures and events similar to those used by wine trail organizations in various parts of the state. It would be the first of its kind in the nation.

An "I Love NY Beer" promotion will be created to coordinate the visitors' brewery trail, vacation itineraries, and a "brewery passport" booklet of discount coupons and information on surrounding attractions.

"Such a rich history of the brewing industry is here, and we ought to be exploiting that if we can," said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, sponsor of the legislation. "We have a whole group of microbreweries recapturing the beer brewing tradition of yesteryear and making it a significant industry again in New York."

The beer trail would mimic the winery tours already promoted by the New York State Department of Economic Development.

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20060804

Size matters, either way


Sam’s Bar in Colorado Springs currently holds the title of smallest bar in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

However, its 109 square feet seem positively cavernous compared to the 64 square feet of space taken up by the Signal Box, a tiny pub in the English seaside town of Cleethropes that just opened in a century-old, 8-by-8-foot structure that used to be a railroad signal box for the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway.

The box now is a four-seat pub that is open from 11 to 11 each day, serving customers --preferably skinny ones -- inside as well as at the 30-seat outdoor beer garden adjacent to it. Owner Andrew McCall says he will submit his site for includion in the Guinness book.

"We're so small some drinks companies won't fit equipment for us because they think we won't do enough trade. But business is booming," McCall said in a media interview.

And, in an interview with the Yorkshire Post, McCallm who runs the pub alone, said, "I would have to refuse to serve someone if the bar and garden were full, and if there is trouble I can just push them out of the door – it's not too far."

On the other end of the spectrum, the Heartland Brewery has opened the largest beer garden in New York, at Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. The temporary waterfront beer garden is being set up for Spiegeltent, an entertainment extravaganza that runs through Oct. 1. The beer garden includes cabanas, tents, daybeds and night lighting, with views of the East River, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Fulton Landing and Governor’s Island. The 600-seat venue will be open from noon to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

Heartland, a microbrewer of such items as Apricot Ale, Cornhusker Lager and Indiana Pale Ale, has created a new brew for the event – Spiegel Light, made with Belgian yeast, orange oil and coriander.

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20060802

Best of Britain


Traveling to the UK? Be on the lookout for a brew from Essex that has, for the second consecutive year, been named the best in Britain.

Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, described by judges as "a honey-toned golden ale with grapefruit sharpness offset by suggestions of melon and pineapple," has been named the champion beer of Britain by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

It topped more than 50 finalists on the first day of CAMRA's 2006 Great British Beer Festival, at Earls Court in London.

"This is the biggest accolade in the business," said Colin Bocking, who runs the Essex brewery. "It's a recognition from the people who actually drink the stuff, and it's very important to me."

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20060801

This beer suits to a T(ea)


A Wisconsin brewer is following in the path of comic Drew Carey, with a twist.

Whereas Carey in his TV sit-com persona came up with Buzz Beer, a caffeine-laced brew, BluCreek Brewing has blended green tea into its new beer called Zen.

The India Pale Ale does not mask the taste of the healthful tea, which combines with fresh Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial hops in the English-style brew.

BluCreek, headquartered in Madison but with facilities in Black River Falls, previously marketed an ale made with fresh wild blueberries and a beer using Wisconsin ginseng.

Zen beer will be available in a few weeks at a suggested retail price of $7.50 to $8.50 a six-pack.

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