20091030

The suds aren't all in the glass

Beer lovers often complain they can't get enough of their favorite quaff. A Chicago microbrewery has taken a big step toward satisfying that thirst.

The Half Acre Beer Company is selling a soap at its brewery store that lists beer as a major ingredient. It better be, for $6 a bar.

The soap was invented by Jim Gregory, 22, a college student who says "macronutrients" in the beer are good for the skin and hair.

Gregory, whose company is called Grandma Gee's, said the soap also contains lavender, bergamot and menthol. None of that beery smell.

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20091028

Sacramento brewer cuts it short

When Peter Hoey, brewmaster at the Sacramento (CA) Brewing Company, decided to close the doors on the establishment, he didn't linger over his goodbyes.

A sign posted on the door read simply: "Closed Due to the Economy."

And, on his blog, he posted this brief message: "I'll keep this blog short. Just wanted to thank everyone for all their support over the last 15 years. Some amazing friends have been made and great times have been had at Sacramento Brewing. As of today, we have closed the doors for good. PLEASE support your local breweries, the numbers are dwindling in Sacramento as we have lost three breweries in the last year alone and not for lack of quality. We have multiple Great American Beer Festival award winning breweries making world class beer right in your back yard, please think of them the next time you are buying beer at the grocery store or deciding where to have a pint."

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State bellys up for brooklyn Brewery

New York State, or rather its taxpayers, are handing over $800,000 to the Brooklyn Brewery to assist the company's $6.5 million expansion project.

The money, according to founder Steve Hindy, will be used to help convert 13,500 square feet of currently vacant distribution space into a fermentation facility.

That should help the company increase production from 8,000 to 50,000 barrels a year.

The grant is part of the state's Downstate Revitalization Fund.

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20091026

U.S./German brew on the drawing board

Boston's Samuel Adams and Germany's Weihenstephan Brewery are teaming up to jointly create a new style of beer next spring.

Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams beers, said in an announcement:

"The Weihenstephan Brewery is a mecca for brewers and people around the world who are passionate about beer and brewing. No brewer can stand at the site of this brewery without feeling a sense of reverence for what has been done here. It is a great honor to work together on this mission to explore the limits of the Reinheitsgebot and to brew a beer that represents the platinum standard in the art of brewing."

Josef Schradler, managing director of Weihenstephan, took a shot at topping that hyperbolic statement by saying:

"This journey we've embarked on with Samuel Adams is unprecedented in the beer world. We are making history with Jim and his team of brewers; turning our traditional brewing techniques on their head will result in an innovative beer that is ground breaking, delicious and unique."

Whatever they come up with is to be introduced in the U.S. and Germany next spring in cork-finished bottles. The champagne-like beer will be about 10% alcohol by volume.

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A celebri-quote: George Wendt

• Actor George Wendt, who gained TV fame as Norm the beer drinker on the sit-com "Cheers," has a new book out called “Drinking with George: A Barstool Professional’s Guide to Beer." He's been making the rounds of TV and radio talk shows as well as print outlets. Here's one of his stock quips.

“Beer has been very good to me.

“I wanted to give something back, so this is for the children. You don’t want them to learn how to shotgun from their peers. You want them to learn it from a responsible adult in a book.”

[Go here for more celebri-quotes.]

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20091018

Party animal caught in a cooler

Sometimes you just gotta have a cool one.

In Hayward, WI, the other day the beer-seeker was a 125-pound black bear that wandered into a grocery store via the automatic doors, climbed 12 feet up on a shelf in the beer cooler, and sat there for about an hour.

Eventually staff from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources showed up and tranquilized the bear so it could be hauled away.

Store employees said the well-behaved bear did not consume any beer.

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20091012

Great American honors list finalized

DENVER, CO -- The results from the Great American Beer Festival Competition now are official, and a "hometown" company emerged as the top award winner.

Coors Brewing Co. of Golden, CO, was named top "Large Brewing Company" and "Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year."

In other overall awards:

• Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, MD, won top "Mid-Size Brewing Company" and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year" honors.

• Dry Rock Brewing Co. of Aurora, CO, won the "Small Brewing Company" and "Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year" honors.

• Pizza Port of Carlsbad, CA, won "Large Brewpub" and "Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year" honors.

• Chuckanut Brewery of Bellingham, WA, won "Small Brewpub" and "Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year" honors.

• The Chama River Brewing Co. of Albuquerque, NM, won the "Pro-Am Competition" gold medal with its Herbal Joe’s Columbarillo IPA.

Entries were divided into 72 categories. Go here to view a complete list of medal winners.

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20091001

Report slams NY liquor authority

The official word is out concerning the embattled State Liquor Authority, a bumbling bureaucracy that has been assailed on many fronts. Not surprisingly, it reinforces most of the long-standing criticisms of the authority.

The first part of the New York State Law Revision Commission's two-part report on findings and recommendations notes:
The SLA's current nine-month backlog of license applications reflects a failure in the licensing process, jeopardizes public health and safety, and exacerbates the economic crisis currently plaguing New York. Small business owners, and some large ones as well, are forced to suffer ever-mounting expenses for months on end without the income generated from having these licenses. The situation deprives the state of new revenues from sales and income taxes, and it depresses the growth of new jobs in local communities.
Despite that sweeping condemnation, apparently the SLA was not found guilty of The Great Train Robbery, the hanging-chad controversy in George Bush's election, or the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

The SLA itself was not alone in being chastised by the Commission. In a slap at some in other branches of state government, the Commission said:
"Some people, including those quite familiar with the SLA's budget, have remarked about the backlog: 'What's the big deal, the state has already banked the license fees, the applicants can wait.' This shortsighted view, to be kind, is nothing less than foolish. The 'What's the big deal‚' advocates both in and out of government basically view the SLA as a 'cash cow‚' and care little about the importance of an expeditious, careful and fair licensing process dedicated to the well-being of New York's citizenry and the State itself. ... A New York County [Manhattan] grand jury is in the midst of concluding a criminal investigation into the bribery of SLA licensing examiners by corrupt 'expediters' that is expected to be completed by the end of October. The State Inspector General is also expected to issue a report in the near future detailing the corruption and other problems in the agency."
Among recommendations made by the Commission:
• The SLA should have the authority to declare a moratorium when it deems that the backlog of licenses has ended.
• Give the SLA the needed number of employees to allow it to carry out its mission.
• The SLA should create two positions of regional manager (one for New York City, and one for Albany, Syracuse and Rochester) to oversee daily administration ... including customer service.
• Develop policies that ensure that enforcement focuses on serious violations with an impact on public safety, and more closely monitor businesses with a history of complaints and violations.
• Investigate non-economic incentives such as those adopted by other State agencies to motivate and reward staff and alter the negative agency culture that has evolved over time."
• Owners of restaurants that have a wine, beer or full liquor license pending should be eligible to secure a BYOB (bring your own bottle) permit.
You can go here to read or download Part 1 of the report. The Commission said it "will evaluate the current structure of the SLA in Part 2 of its report."

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