In Defense of American Pilsner

Lawns grow quickly in the heat and humidity of summer, and frequent mowing builds a powerful thirst. Seeking relief from the repetitious and exhausting chore, many American’s find comfort in an ice-cold beer. What beer leaps to the rescue? Conducting a survey presents a task equal to lawn mowing; over and over the answer is the same; nine out of ten beer drinkers favor the light, low-bodied style known as “American Pilsner.” Craft beer enthusiast’s may argue with the accuracy of the name “American Pilsner”, but brewers have a sound

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Beer Touring In Wallonia

Belgium attracts beer enthusiasts like a magnet. As the ‘true north’ of brewing it draws Americans by the thousands. From Flanders to Brussels they cover the low countryside in search of small craft breweries. Yet, inexplicably, few venture southeast, to the sparsely populated hills of the Ardennes. In fact, on scanning a map of east Belgium, Americans may recognize Bastogne, focal point of the ‘Battle of the Bulge’, but sadly, little else. What a shame, because the pastoral woodlands, meadows and river valleys rival any scenery in the west, and

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Beer: An Economic Snapshot

Celebrate beer

Everyone drinks beer, or so it seems. It has been a part of the country since it arrived with the first settlers. Since that time it has provided countless Americans with nourishment, comfort, camaraderie, and employment, all the while adding fuel to the nation’s economy. In the 400 years that beer has been in America, consumer demand continually pushed the industry forward with sure and steady progress. Then, in the last 25 years, the introduction of the craft brewing movement created additional opportunity, and the public responded with still further

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Bottle Caps: It Made for the Rest of the Best

beer caps

There’s something about a number with a crowd of zeros behind it that grabs people’s attention. As the calendar approached its version of an odometer rollover, beer magazines, and others, acknowledged time’s passing by compiling lists of “bests”. In General, the tributes focused on notable people, dates, and events, all worthy of recognition, but the most significant contribution to beer in the last century was a simple piece of tin – the bottle cap. When the 1900’s began, most people drank beer in taverns, and seldom at home. Off-premise packaging

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Brewing in Colonial America

Part I. Early colonists of the North American continent had a fairly simple life. The typical immigrant from England had only three things on their mind: where to get food, how to secure shelter, and when would they get their next beer. The most enduring picture of Englishmen coming ashore is the Pilgrims braving freezing surf to land at “Plymouth Rock”. Well documented is their selection of this landfall not by choice, but based upon a dwindling beer supply. They, like those at the other new settlements set their first

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Cider Mill: Here It All Begins

The city of Hereford (pronounced Hair’-i-furd not Her’-furd; as our tour guide said, “you Yanks got that bit wrong”) has been in existence since the Romans found it as a convenient place to ford the River Wye in the early 7th century. The city of 50,000 is an eclectic collection of old and new including a thoroughly modern supermarket down the block from a 1000-year-old cathedral. Hereford is the home to the World Hereford Cattle Registry (which we Americans pronounce Her’-furd), and the SAS (Special Air Services – the UKs

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Cider Styles: A Primer

Cider styles are hard to pin down because historically, styles had little value to the cider maker. The cider they made was the only cider they had the resources to make. It’s not so different today. But to understand it you have to go back to cider’s roots. Cider is an ancient drink though no one is quite sure when it was first made because of the geography of its main component, the apple. Apples were historically confined to the cooler climes of Western Europe and Britain where civilization was

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Craft Brewers’ Conference 2002

brewers conference

Breweries in the market for a practical and affordable source of continuing education have no easy shopping trip. Brewing schools focus on the technical aspects of the brewing process, marketing seminars review case studies from other often-unrelated industries and public beer festivals concentrate on product promotion. Only the annual Craft Brewers Conference provides a broad perspective on production and sales strategy for today’s craft beer breweries and brewpubs. Organized and presented by the Association of Brewers (AOB), the three day conference which took place from April 11 through April 13

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Death and Taxes – A Story of Beer

Sharp-witted Benjamin Franklin once observed there were two guarantees in life – death and taxes. Simple,but irrefutable, that statement touches every facet of life. Franklin’s two constants have continuously shaped everything we love, fear, anticipate, dread, and enjoy – including beer. From ancient times to present, beer, like us, has never escaped far from the shadowy twins known as the taxman and the grim reaper. Civilizations of antiquity and history’s earliest records tell the tale again and again of death, taxes and beer. In the beginning, brewers of the Fertile

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The Golden Age Of Taverns

Stepping through customs at Ellis Island presented Louis Menapace with a jumble of emotions. He was excited at the new life that lay before him, confusion over the way his name had just been Americanized, and slightly anxious about how long it would take to fit into this new country. Then, a few feet before he was to board the ferry to New York, a young boy had thrust a flier in his hand, it advertised a beer garden that welcomed immigrants. He thought about it all the way across

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