Brewers on the Cusp of Blowing up

Kimbell Barrel Fermenting

By Won Kim


In a city heralded for its food and beverage scene, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with what’s new and exciting. Billion dollar acquisitions seem to be happening with a frequency that would make horny rabbits seem sluggish. Amid all the openings and business deals happening, it should be noted that there is still a burgeoning and exciting underground brewing (I couldn’t help it, there will be some puns – unintentional, but effective). Luckily for us, Chicago is large enough for the minor leaguers who are passionate about their craft and ready to showcase their carbonated adult beverages to the ever-growing craft beer world.

Every single seasoned brewer started as a homebrewer, the same way any good chef cooked, or any good artist started with drawing most of his or her life. This is the process to turn any true passion, whatever the creative platform, into a career. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best homebrewers that this city has to offer. Individuals, groups, and married couples that work hard at their jobs to be able to fund their passion for creating unique and experimental beers. Long gone are the days when you and your buddies would buy a homebrew kit from Jewel and brew that first batch of a pissy pils. You called yourself a brewer and thought that you’d be able to do it for a living until you realized that you would have to multiply the amount of beer produced by a million.

 

I have thrown and organized many beer events in Chicago in the last 6 years with a focus on showcasing homebrewers ready for the majors. From having to drink a ton of sample beers for dinners and parties, to assembling massive public bottle shares, I can safely say that I have had my fair share of beers. Self-appointed beer deity Greg Koch described my beer events as “beer raves.” I took to that title and eventually went on to work with him, Randy Mosher, and Jason Ebel in a homebrew competition called Iron Brew. This was at the height of my curated beer events. Industry-heavy heads actually recognized what was going on and offered homebrewing participants to brew commercially with them as a prize. The best part was that out of the 20 homebrewers, almost all of them would move on to work full time at a brewery. With that in mind, I would like to focus on a few of the brewers I have worked, drank, and blacked out with.

 

Kimbell Ghost Carboys

Kimbell Brewing

These are the OGs that would start me on my Brew HaHa adventures, when they were two of the four members of homebrew collective Lowdive. Matt Kanable and Andrew Lautner would eventually go on to start Kimbell Brewing. These are the guys that took a chance on me and helped organize a private beer dinner showcasing their beer and my food. This eventually led to doing a much more toned-down version of the Brew HaHa at our friend Mike Anderson’s backyard in Humboldt Park, where Tooch [Adam Mattucci] and I would handle food and they would provide the suds. Their beer was something special. From the meticulous marketing of their brand, to the recipes of the beer, you could tell Kimbell’s was “pro” brew. It wasn’t about getting smashed and drunk dialing your ex. It was about balance, trying to get the most out of the ingredients, and maintaining consistency.

 

Kimbell Barrel Fermenting

 

Matt and Drew also know how to take constructive criticism, which allows them to excel in whatever style they choose to brew. My particular favorites from them as of late have been their sours. These beers are wild, tart, and fruity without being too sweet or overly acidic, which a lot of wild-fermented ales tend to be. They schedule brew days and consider beer to be sacred without being pretentious about what it is and what it “means” to them. I love these guys because they know how to appreciate beer, don’t make a big fuss about what it is, and make great shit.

 

Kimbell Ghost Culture

 

Twisted Hippo

Karl and Marilee may be some of the sweetest and raunchiest people I know. I met these two at a seafood dinner thing at Whole Foods, where I was filling in as the cook to test out some recipes to customers. Their friend, Gonzalo, was bragging about their beer rig at home and raved about their homebrew. The picture I saw showed a 16-tap system in a bedroom with a bunk bed over a chest cooler that housed all the beer. I thought it was fake or an Onion article picture, and I told them that I must see it in person. They were so cordial and open to having a stranger over just to share beer and hang out. That kind of openness and genuine kindness is hard to come by these days, so much so that it almost makes you suspicious.

 

Twisted Hippo Beets 1

 

It was love at first site: I visited them at their home in Albany Park and left annihilated, which wouldn’t be the last time I’d leave there not remembering a damn thing. Karl and Marilee have hosted homebrew parties, fried chicken nights, and even let me brew a beer with them. I didn’t do a goddamn thing – I was too hungover, and eventually passed out while they did all the work. I particularly loved their Beeting Heart Kölsch, which was one of the first commercial beers I tried from them commercially (long story). It’s smooth, mildly sweet, and has an earthiness and bright red color that only beets can bring. These guys have been on a hell of a journey to get their beer out there and have worked so damn hard only to have to start over again. Yet, they still do everything with a goddamn smile because they know and truly believe that this journey will all lead to achieving the dream of just brewing beer and making people happy.

 

Twisted Hippo Beets 2

 

Soma Ale Werks

 

Soma_Tom Pouring Beer
 

Despite having bumped heads a couple of times on how to run my events, I know that Tom means well, is generally curious about how things work, and is very concerned with finances. These are good qualities to have, which is probably why he owns a home and I don’t. Tom and I go way back to when Drew [Andrew Lautner] and I met, when craft beer was about to just bust a nut all over this city, probably around 2010. When Dark Lord Day drew barely one thousand attendees, IBUs started being a thing, and when “tap takeovers” started happening. Meanwhile, Tom was brewing beer out of his narrow apartment in Wicker Park. He knows the amount of room he has and utilized every single inch of space needed to get his brews in order. He has been a staple and stronghold in the beer scene by being an active member in Chicago Beer Society, attending or working every major beer event in the country, and planning his vacations around beer destinations. This man is passionate and sometimes outspoken – all for the sake of beer.

 

One of my favorite beers from him is Cucumis Sativus – a saison with cucumbers – which was his entry for the Iron Brew competition, and also one of the crowd favorites. It’s light and refreshing, perfectly carbonated, with just a hint of cuke. The beer is super versatile in its applications. I can see it being used in cocktails, marinades, or just drinking a shitload of it, because you can! Tom’s also super lucky to live with a girlfriend who supports every beer-related thing he does, because she is as knowledgeable and passionate about beer as he is.

 

Soma_Bottles of Soma

 

So, there you have it, three brewers who love beer so much that it makes me fight and advocate for them however I can. These are passionate, creative people that are ready to showcase their talents if just given the chance to. I’m not a Cicerone, nor do I claim to be any kind of beer expert, so I can’t give two shits if you disagree with me. Though I may seem a little jaded on the whole craft beer thing, I’ll never be jaded on good people doing good things.

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Winter Warmer: The Danish Art of Hygge in the Baltic Porter

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By Jenny Pfäfflin of Cicerone Certification Program

There’s a Danish way of living called hygge, a hard-to-translate-into-English concept the Danes adhere to in the colder, darker months (though, it can be a year-round philosophy). In its essence, it means “coziness” – winter hygge can be expressed through candlelit dinners, climbing under wool blankets, twilight coffee dates, pine-scented potpourri, and Netflix binges. But hygge is also emotional – it’s a time to gather with family and friends, to put aside work talk and politics and just be with each other.

It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the indigenous beer styles to the Nordic region is liquid hygge. In the 18th century, the British started to export their porters, who had made them with a higher alcohol content for the trip across the Baltic Sea. Known as the Baltic porter in the relatively modern establishment of beer style nomenclature, Baltic porters were also made under the names Russian stout or imperial stout, as they became the beer of favor by St. Petersburg royals. It all really depended on how the brewery decided to market its beer.

Soon, instead of importing the beers from England, entrepreneurs set up breweries along the Baltic Sea. These new breweries adapted to regional ingredients and processes, and in turn, made a version of these strong, rich beers that evolved from its English roots. Baltic porters made in Scandinavia differ from those made in the Baltic regions. And even then, some Baltic porters are top-fermented, while others are bottom-fermented, probably as a result of adapting to the trends of the time, when lager breweries in Northern Europe were gaining in numbers and using one house yeast resulted in a more simplified and economical production of beer.

No matter what brewers in Nordic and Baltic countries called it, the Baltic porter is unlike what we’ve become accustomed to as imperial stouts in the United States. Domestic versions of Imperial Stouts are characteristically American—barrel-chested and full of bravado, usually ringing in over 10% ABV, roasty, and heavily hopped. But there’s still a warmth to Baltic porters, as they’re usually stronger and fruitier than most porters and stouts. Minimally hopped, dark fruits like plums and cherries fill the aroma of these porters, along with licorice, chocolate, and toffee. Malty sweetness is showcased in the taste, held in check by low bitterness, and restrained coffee roast or slight smokiness. Full-bodied but not heavy, the slight glow of alcohol warms you up as it all comes together as hygge in its liquid form, the perfect accompaniment for snuggling into a snowy night.

Notable Baltic Porters:

Sinebrychoff Porter, Finland

Carnegie Stark Porter, Sweden

Żywiec Porter, Poland

Smuttynose Baltic Porter, U.S.

Jack’s Abby Framinghammer, U.S.

Les Trois Mousquetaires G.C. Porter Baltique, Canada

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Sustainable Beer on Chicago’s South Side: Whiner Beer Company

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By Calvin Fredrickson

 

Located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, Whiner Beer Co. is housed within a “vertical farm” called The Plant, an almost too-good-to-be-true bastion of environmentally minded business. Folks, it’s the real deal, and its ideology represents a watershed moment in Whiner founder and brewmaster Brian Taylor’s career. More on that later. With 15 years of brewing experience to his name, Taylor had technical know-how in spades. What he needed was a creative partner, someone who could evoke the playful, tongue-in-cheek personality of Whiner’s European-inspired beers. Enter Ria Neri, local hospitality veteran and artist, who embraced Taylor’s vision for Whiner by expressing mutual influences – ranging from 70s French comics to armadillos – through the brewery’s branding and beer labels.

 

By packaging their beer in cans, much of it barrel-aged, Whiner is looking to convey a highbrow-meets-lowbrow aesthetic. Wary of taking themselves too seriously, Taylor and Neri explain that the brewery’s name is a lighthearted allusion to the wine industry. One gets the sense that Whiner is tipping its hat to the world of wine with a twinkle in its eye. As of October, Whiner was still awaiting word from the TTB, and Taylor was chomping at the bit. “We’re basically ready to go,” he said. Indeed they are.

 

Daylight spills from broad windows onto the brewery’s concrete floor and walls, playing off brushed steel fermenters. The buzz and cracks of final customizations echo throughout the brewery, dust hanging in the air. Glowing white Xs punctuate the brewery and cellar ceilings. Taylor joked that people take more pictures of those lights than they do anything else. In their defense, the lights are rad. But Whiner’s story and vision outshine the brewery’s cosmetic appeal. What follows is an overview of Whiner’s stainless and wood cellars, their souring and blending processes, and their role at The Plant.

 

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The Stainless

Whiner’s 30-barrel, three-vessel brewhouse will accommodate step mashing, a brewing process typical of some of the French- and Belgian-style beers Whiner will produce. Two 60-barrel fermentation tanks dwarf two 15-barrel counterparts, vessels that will serve fermentation, blending, and yeast propagation processes. “Everything serves a really good purpose where it sits,” Taylor said, a credit, in part, to Corcoran Fabrication & Design, whom Taylor often contracted for work during his days as head cellarman at Goose Island.

 

For Whiner, stainless plays an important role in producing consistent beers. Taking a cue from beers of years past – Sofie, anyone? – Taylor will be blending four parts clean, stainless-fermented beer with one part wine barrel-aged sour, resulting in a tart, balanced beer. While stainless is a necessary side of Whiner’s fermentation, wine barrels hold mystique for Taylor and Neri in a way that stainless does not. In fact, the first two barrels Whiner received were promptly named after their proud stewards ­­– scrawled in sharpie on one, “Brian.” On the other, “Ria.”

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The Wood

“I think I bought the barrels before anything,” Taylor said. “I had wine barrels in here and nothing else.” The best barrels are Cabernet Sauvignon, he said, which lend to initial fills bold wine flavors and aromas, though Pinot noir barrels are good, too. These barrels also present a relatively inexpensive vessel for long-term aging, something that is impractical in expensive stainless steel tanks. Wine barrels, being porous, allow for slow oxygen ingress, which is an excellent environment for microbial activity. Taylor will be encouraging that activity by pitching strains of Brettanomyces yeast into Lactobacillus-inoculated wort. Doing so will develop intense fruity and sometimes farm-like aromas, along with lemony, yogurt-like tanginess from the soured wort.

 

Whiner’s love for oak is no joke – with 40 barrels in the cellar and counting, Taylor muses of having a foudre or two soon, which can hold close to 400 gallons of liquid. “On a microbiology side, I like the wine barrels, because it’s more about growth; whereas with bourbon barrels, it’s about bourbon character and oak.” Federal and state approval holdups have kept Taylor from filling his barrels just yet, but when he does fill them, lush vinous notes will mingle with the deep oak aromas that have already permeated the cellar.

 

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Souring Process

Several techniques exist for souring beer, including hot- and cold-side introductions of Lactobacillus. One type of hot-side Lactobacillus addition is kettle souring, which usually involves an eventual boil, arresting additional bacterial fermentation in the wort upon reaching a desired pH. Another hot-side Lactobacillus addition involves soaking mesh bags filled with malt – in Whiner’s case, pilsner malt – in 110º wort for 24 hours, a technique Taylor honed while working alongside Jared Jankowski at Goose Island. “Everyone says it doesn’t work, but it worked twice as well for us,” Taylor said. Instead of killing the Lactobacillus bacteria with a boil, Taylor sends the inoculated wort to barrels, where it ferments and develops additional lactic character for the period of about a month.

 

Measuring total acidity – a technique Taylor learned at Boulevard – and blending, Taylor said, will promote greater control of flavor and acid profiles in the finished product. “We want to make sure the sourness of the beer isn’t overly sour or not sour enough,” he said. Once Whiner’s stainless- and wood-fermented Le Tub Wild Saison – one of Whiner’s flagships – is blended in the brite tank, Taylor will pitch Brettanomyces claussenii, a fruit-forward yeast strain that will create additional complexity and tamp down potential Pediococcus activity in the bottle. Pediococcus, like Lactobacillus, is a bacteria strain that creates lactic acid in beer, albeit one that can work more slowly and create off flavors. Recalling his experience processing Juliet wine barrels at Goose Island, Taylor estimated one in ten barrels had to be dumped. Those barrels had become “sick” or “ropy,” resulting in slimy, gelatinous beer, the result of Pediococcus. “It’s dangerous as hell,” Taylor said.

 

Sulphur sticks, potassium metabisulfite, and citric acid are among the more common treatments for barrel maintenance – and they’re all methods Taylor eschews in favor of a simpler, water-based method. His approach to barrel maintenance involves steaming and rinsing – no chemicals used. It’s an approach that would have some cellarmen quaking in their boots. A confidence like Taylor’s doesn’t develop overnight, however. It comes with years of experience, and a foresight in making one beer out of many. That process, all-important to Whiner, is called blending.

 

Blending

Balance and depth of flavor are two qualities Taylor wants to impart to Whiner’s beer – an effort, he feels, that can be accomplished through careful blending. “Our plan here is to have a massive blending program,” he said. Many brewers, particularly of wild and sour beer, point to blending as being a critical part of beer production, a sentiment Taylor shares. He pointed to Belgian lambic producers as being inspirational to his process. “We plan to have a real gueuze program,” Taylor said, which will involve aging and blending one-, two-, and three-year-old beer. As complex as it sounds, Taylor says Whiner’s aim is simple: “We want to make sure we’re blending down what tastes good.”

 

Being an American beer producer, Taylor’s usage of the terms lambic and gueuze is sure to make style purists bristle. Admitting that he uses the terms loosely, Taylor shrugs off the earnestness of detractors to his appropriation: “I mean, what are you gonna do? Obviously we’ll never be the Belgians with anything. We still inoculate each barrel with what we want, which is not what they do.” By describing these efforts as lambic and gueuze, Whiner looks to pay homage to such traditional styles, not co-opt them. “We don’t have 300-year-old barrels with 20,000 different wild yeasts and bacteria thriving in there,” Taylor said. “We’re starting on day one.” In saying so, Taylor depicts the relative youth of America’s craft beer boom, the progress it’s made, and the ground yet to cover.

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The Plant

Described as a vertical farm and business incubator, The Plant is home to numerous businesses rooted in sustainable food production. Among them are a prawn farm, a beekeeper, a bakery, and a roaster called Four Letter Word, which is helmed by Neri. Apart from being home to Whiner, The Plant also represents an ideology valued by Taylor, who characterized the brewing process as being “super wasteful.” Taylor reflected on his time in the industry: “I’ve been in this business 15 years and I know how much water I waste, grain I throw away, chemicals I’m dumping down the drain.”

 

Working with Ian Hughes at Goose Island changed how Taylor approached brewing. “Hanging out with Ian all those years totally changed my mind about all that,” he said. “[Ian] was able to get a yeast collection started, and spent grain sent out to people who actually use it.” Looking back on brewing days gone by, Taylor said, “Honestly, I was that guy – I didn’t give a shit, like, five years ago.” He definitely gives a shit now.

 

Whiner hopes to improve upon the conventional wastefulness of breweries by using The Plant’s anaerobic digester and CO2 collector. Spent grain and yeast, for example, can be added to the digester, which will create methane gas from organic matter that can be used to power Whiner’s boiler. “Methane burns much harsher, and at about four to five times higher a rate than natural gas,” Taylor said. Since Whiner’s boiler is natural and methane gas-compatible – as simple as the flip of a switch – its interior is stainless steel, which allows it to handle the dirty gas.

 

“We also have a CO2 collector,” Taylor said, another sustainable effort that will benefit tenants of The Plant. After Whiner degases emptied fermenters through a pipe into an algae tank, algae will eat up CO2 and create O2. Then, Taylor said, “We can degas into the [rooftop] greenhouse for the plants, and that’s where my kettle stack goes, so they’ll have some humidity control year-round.” On the future of brewing, he said: “The water usage is crazy. Eight barrels of water for one barrel of beer? You know, you just can’t continue that way for the next 50 years or you’re in trouble. That sort of thing is very important to us.”

 

The Future

If all goes to plan, Whiner hopes to have beer in cans and kegs across Chicago by year’s end, with Le Tub Wild Saison and Rubrique-a-brac Biere de Garde leading the charge. If Taylor’s previous beers are any indication, the near future has in store some seriously tasty South Side beers. And if Whiner’s tact takes hold among brewers, the next 50 years might not look as grim as Taylor predicts. They might look green.

 

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Whiner Beer Co. is located at 1400 W 46th Street. Chicago, IL. 60609. See Whinerbeer.com for more information. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram: /whinerbeer and @whinerbeer.

 

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Mash Tun’s Top 5s for 2015

We drank some good beers in 2015. Here are a few selections from four Mash Tun cholos. Some of the beers were released in 2015. Some weren’t. Forget a gym membership. Track down these beers.

Calvin Fredrickson’s Picks:

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The Commons Brewery – Urban Farmhouse Ale: When I visited Commons this past summer, their menu was loaded with tons of low-ABV, flavorful, and expressive beers. Urban Farmhouse Ale was a standout. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a couple bottles while camping along the Oregon coast.

de Garde Brewing – The Boysen: Boysenberry funktown. Yogurt and berry goodness. Moderate acidity, tannic, and boasts a beautiful color. It’s beer’s purple drank.

Anderson Valley Brewing Co. – The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose: Gose hit its stride in 2015. This one carried the banner. Kimmie was my go-to. I brought it to BBQs, bought it at divey concert halls, and drank it at home. I don’t understand Anderson Valley’s nomenclature. I do understand this beer. Very well.

Half Acre Beer Co. – Pony: It’s local, it’s hoppy, and it’s always fresh. I drank buckets of this stuff in 2015. I expect 2016 will be no different. Pivo, I love you, but…

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Spiteful Brewing – Vote of No Confidence: Dankness and tropical fruit with a creamy mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable. This beer fueled some good times.

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Doug Veliky’s Picks

BrickStone Brewery – American Pale Ale:  Some call it the Zombie killer [3 Floyds Zombie Dust]. There are definitely similarities, but this one has more malt backbone, and, most importantly, it lasts on the shelf for more than 30 minutes (for now).

deathbucoconut

Oskar Blues Brewery – Death by Coconut: This is the type of beer that could convert casual beer drinkers into enthusiasts, if only they could get their hands on it. Very approachable at 6% ABV, with big coconut and rich chocolate flavor.

Spiteful Brewing – Barrel Aged Malevolence Chocolate Caliente: Spiteful has always been on the map of Chicago’s enthusiasts who seek out the freshest beer possible. Their FoBAB winner in the category of Speciality Strong Porter/Stout puts them on the radar nationwide with this well-integrated, big-bodied, spiced chocolate stout.

 

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Desthil Brewing – Dosvidanya: Like a Russian nesting doll, each layer stacks perfectly into this Russian imperial stout, aged in bourbon barrels. Be prepared for a big fudge brownie, covered in rich chocolate sauce.

Moody Tongue – Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison: Pair this complex, flavorful Moody Tongue saison with your next meal featuring chicken or fish to really enhance the dining experience. Bright grassy and lemon flavors, mild cracked pepper, and bready malts.

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Chris Quinn’s Picks

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Marz Community Brewing – Jungle Boogie: One of the most original beers I had all year, Jungle Boogie seamlessly intertwines the juicy, dripping flavors of exotic U.S. hops with rooibos tea.

de Garde Brewing – Hose: A trip to de Garde Brewing earlier this year was an eye-opening look at the cutting edge of American wild ales. A 100% spontaneous fermentation brewery, de Garde somehow manages to brew a clean, lactic gose. It takes them a year to produce and they sell it for $6 per 750ml….I still don’t know how this beer is possible.

Penrose Brewing – Wild X with Cherries: Perhaps the best American wild beer I tasted all year, Penrose took the already stellar Wild X and turned it into something magical.

Scratch Brewing – Spring Tonic: My introduction to Scratch came by way of this beer. Technically a gruit, spring tonic is a vibrant, light, and refreshingly quenching beer. It’s a perfect introduction to one of the more innovative and ambitious breweries in the country.

August Schell Brewing Co. – Starkeller Peach: Yes, you read that correctly. August Schell, the brewer of Grain Belt lager, decided to start a sour program. And they killed it. I’m as confused as you are.

 
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EdMar’s Picks:

I decided to review my favorite beers of the 2015 by thinking about how they pair with video gaming, the frequency of their ingestion, and expressing yearnings for those whales that come only once a year. I also picked one of my favorite beers by the brewery I work at. And I used lyrics written by Morrissey of The Smiths to describe these selections.

alleytime

Spiteful Brewing – Alley Time:
Punctured bicycle
On a hillside desolate
Will Nature make a man of me yet?

When in this charming car
This charming man

Why pamper life’s complexities
When the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?

 (The Smiths, “This Charming Man”)

Almanac Beer Co. – Barbary Coast
When it comes down to virtue and truth
No one can hold a candle to you
And I dim next to you
No one can hold a candle to you
When it comes down to old-fashioned virtue

(Morrissey, “No One Can Hold a Candle to You”)

abraxas

Perennial Artisan Ales – Barrel-Aged Abraxas
Haven’t had a dream
In a long time
See, the life I’ve had
Can make a good man
Turn bad
So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows
It would be the first time

(The Smiths, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”)


Marz Community Brewing – Jungle Boogie
You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way ?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

(The Smiths – “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side”)

Maine Beer Co – Lunch
And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die

And if a ten ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine

(The Smiths – “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”)


Bonus Track! 
3 Floyds – Broo Doo
Dear hero imprisoned
With all the new crimes that you are perfecting
Oh, I can’t help quoting you
Because everything that you said rings true
And now in my cell
(well, I followed you)
And here’s a list of who I slew

Morrissey – (The Last of the Famous International Playboys”)

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The Anti-Craft of Letherbee Distillers

Photo by: Clayton Hauck for Letherbee

All Photos by: Clayton Hauck for Letherbee

 

The Anti-Craft of Letherbee Distillers

Interviewed by Calvin Fredrickson
Brewers use the phrase “craft beer” to connote authenticity and quality. In recent years, other uses for the craft tag have been popularized. Craft coffee. Craft pizza. Craft cocktails. But you seem to resist that tag, and you’ve gone on record as calling Letherbee “anti-craft spirit craft spirit.” What do you mean by that?

“Anti-craft” is definitely a reaction to the spirits industry specifically. The world of craft spirits has quickly become so formulaic and standardized that “craft” has essentially become a meaningless buzzword. There’s a cookie-cutter effect ingrained in the business model of most new distilleries that does not conjure innovation or craftsmanship nearly as much as it fosters marketing plans, ROI, investor relations, brand building, etc. Big business (corporate) methods and philosophies are prioritized over craftsmanship and it’s all disguised as “craft” to get the enthusiastic consumers to buy. It’s a race to scale up as quickly as possible to attract a buyout or further capital investment.

You have to also understand that the spirits world has less integrity than the beer world. We not only have to deal with brand reps and bartenders whose opinions are bought and sold, we also have to deal with marketing companies that simply source bulk spirits and sell it in shamefully misleading ways to convince the consumer that it’s being made at a distillery like mine. Can you imagine a local brewery buying bulk beer from A-B [Anheuser-Busch], then packaging it in their own bombers, and selling it as though it was a special craft beer? The brewers would be outraged! Violence would ensue! But in my world this is considered sound business. I think you’re starting to get the picture… I often ask myself, “Where are all the honest weirdos?” So, I envy the beer scene.

How else have you seen craft movement appropriated? For good or for ill? Or are you Indifferent?

I see it everywhere.  “Craft” seems to have found it’s way into pop culture. It’s ubiquitous, so I find myself indifferent.  But don’t get me wrong – I’m very grateful that it’s a movement.  I just hope it’s a sign that consumers have deeply become more curious and thoughtful.


Constellation, A-B InBev, and other Beer Big Dogs have shown interest in successful, independent brands for their profitability and fervent fan base. Each month brings news of another buyout, joint venture, or consolidation, with the Big Dogs usually buying some part of the Little Dogs – and that’s got consumers worried. From a spirits side, how important is distillery/brand ownership to your average spirit or cocktail enthusiast?

It’s building more and more. But the spirits fans have been slower to respond to craft spirits because most people drink whiskey, and most craft whiskey is not as good as the big brands. Look, your whiskey might be crafty as fuck, but it’s a crafty turd aged for a short time in small barrels and you are lucky people are so generous to support you by spending far too much money on your well-marketed turd. Imagine how slow the craft beer movement would have been if nobody could make better beer than A-B! The spirits world did not have the same quality vacuum that beer has had. So, new start-ups catching up to the value and quality of America’s Bourbon industry is no small feat. It will take a generation’s time and lots of capital. Keep your eye on Whiskey Acres in Dekalb, IL. If anyone has a chance, they do.

Clayton Hauck for Letherbee

Does distillery independence matter to you?

Absolutely. The value that’s slowly been built into my brand is partly due to the fact that I don’t have to answer to anybody. Not one person. I’m sure you, at Spiteful Brewing, understand this. Our ideas don’t get watered down by other people who have input in the process. And we certainly don’t have investors to consider when we want to make horrible decisions!


Another concern for beer enthusiasts is origin of liquid: “was this made by the brewery themselves, on their premises?” As a result, contract-brewed beer has long bore a stigma for critical drinkers, often on principle, a stigma with little regard for the liquid itself. Do you sympathize with that unease over contract scenarios? 

I personally don’t like all the contracting stuff. But I envy the gypsy brewers. They live the dream, don’t they? I prefer the Spiteful model. It’s the same as the Letherbee model. It’s obviously much more authentic to build a little tiny production space in the basement of a shitty factory building. And this authenticity is the hot knife that cuts through the shit-butter of “craft” marketing.

Clayton Hauck for Letherbee

But does origin matter so long as the liquid’s good and the marketing is honest?

Marketing honesty is the most important thing to me. Making delicious product is becoming easier and easier. Some asshole can make delicious beer but I won’t drink it more than once if he/she is an asshole. The rest of the story has to add up. I have much fewer reservations about drinking someone’s branded MGP [Midwest Grain Products Ingredients, formerly LDI] whiskey when they’re completely honest that it’s MGP-sourced.


Tell me there isn’t dishonest marketing in the world of spirits!

There’s actually more deception than honesty. It’s disgusting. People are sick. It trickles all the way down the supply chain, and the brand reps and bartenders that get their pockets lined are happy to perpetuate the deception. They’re all too shortsighted to understand that this behavior actually degrades their reputations and future possibilities as individuals.


Craft beer consumers are more critical than ever, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Drinkers want to know what, if any, ulterior interests exist, and they are quick to abandon ship if they sense inauthenticity. Since craft beer consumers have so many options, brand loyalty takes a different form than, say, a macro beer drinker who drinks one brand for life. Craft beer drinkers drink hundreds of brands in a year and may feel affinity for them all. What can be said of loyalty of spirits drinkers?

I can’t necessarily affirm we are headed in the same direction.  Again, I envy the beer world.  It’s passionately supported from the bottom up.  We need spirits drinkers to become more critical and investigative.  At the same time we need to nurture the idea that value and price are as important as “craftiness”

Clayton Hauck for Letherbee

Clayton Hauck for Letherbee


How about a political analogy? I think craft beer culture trends toward meritocracy; good beer beats mediocre beer. As permanent tap handles become scarcer, brewery clout becomes less important, while beer quality and uniqueness takes precedence. The spirits industry, however, trends toward plutocracy. Money and power yield inordinate benefits to spirit producers, the likes of which craft beer producers don’t seem as entrenched in. Should I send that idea back to the stupid pile or is there somethin’ to it?

I think you nailed it. Craft beer is a populist movement while spirits are still stuck in Reagan-era trickle down economics. I also like to make music analogies. Craft beer is reveling in the digital streaming era, while spirits is still stuck in the era of top 40s and FM radio. Cocktail bars are the radio stations and bartenders are the DJs, which is where the phrase “pay-to-play” actually comes from.


Within the spirits world, I seem to hear of
quid pro quo for beverage directors and bartenders more often than I do within the beer world. What kind of incentives are we talking about, and who is offering them?

It’s often simply cash.  We’ll write you a check for $1000 if you put our vodka in your well for the next year. Or the distributor’s sales rep comes into the bar and has no time to eat/drink so she simply has the bartender run the distributor’s credit card for $500 as a way to say “thank you”. Then there are the vacations. You want to go to Mexico and visit some mezcal distilleries, all expenses paid?  All you have to do is promise to make this your primary mezcal for the next year. You’re opening a new bar? We’ll pay for the bar build-out and installation of all the bar hardware (refrigerators, tap systems, etc.) if you sign this agreement saying that 80% of the product in your bar comes from our distribution company. This shit is “pay-to-play” at it’s finest.

 


Let’s talk local. How does Chicago stack up to spirits culture around the country? 

We’re solid. Just like we are with bars/restaurants, music scenes, art galleries, etc.


You guys are in Europe, too, right? Do they have “craft cocktails” there?!

Of course! Gin is huge in Berlin and in Spain. The company Letherbee Imports was started with my friend in Berlin. This way the whole thing stays familial and community (not industry) driven. He basically has a couple hundred cases of Letherbee products in the basement of his apartment where he’s built out a little tasting room. I think it’s really funny that we are not open to the public in Chicago but we have a dedicated tasting room in center of Berlin. This atypical method perfectly fits in our “anti” philosophy.

Are we still friends after this? This is long enough. Let’s be done now.

We’re good. I’ll see you at work tomorrow prancing around in your hot little short shorts.
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Letherbee Distillers is located at 1815 W. Berteau Ave. Chicago, IL. 60613. For more information, see Letherbee.com. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: /letherbee, @letherbee, and @letherbee_distillers.

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What It’s Worth: Rare Bourbon County Stout

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What It’s Worth: Rare Bourbon County Stout

By Chris Quinn

 

What is a beer worth? This is a question that gets raised increasingly more often as craft beer continues its meteoric growth. Is it simply the sum of its parts, no more than the combined costs of the raw materials, packaging, labor, plus a little something, you know, for the effort? Or is it something that, when done well, should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest fermented beverages from Piedmont and Bordeaux? In short, we don’t know.

 

So, as we [Beer Temple Insiders Roundtable] look for the answer to this question, we believe it is important to first inform ourselves on how beer arrives at its commodity pricing before we begin to divorce from it and enter a pricing model that takes intangible things (rarity, exclusivity, brand recognition) into account.

 

For the subject of our experiment, we chose Goose Island’s Rare Bourbon County Stout, which was recently re-released with much anticipation after a five-year hiatus. Derived from 35-year old Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, Rare brings much trepidation with its $60 price tag for a single 16.9-ounce bottle. What went into pricing this beer, or for that matter, any beer?

 

We received insight from experts in many fields to arrive at the numbers below. Some were hard numbers, some were very educated estimates, and some were pieced together through context clues. What we have is by no means the exact cost but our best estimate, which we wholeheartedly stand behind. We have decided not to include “soft costs” such as advertising and marketing campaigns, which, in addition to being impossible to accurately determine, is separate from what the beer actually is and cost to make. You can easily spend tens of millions of dollars on some of the cheapest beers in the world, as any time spent in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon will quickly prove.

 

The chart below is not only an attempt to determine what the costs of a craft beer are, but what values talent, knowledge, and expertise have as well. Craft beer has long differentiated itself from other alcoholic beverages not only through flavor but also through a guiding ethos of community. In keeping with this tradition, and the unspoken trust between producer, purveyor, and consumer that goes along with it, we felt that the findings of this experiment should be shared with all beer lovers so that we can all learn from it, and hopefully come a few steps closer to finding our own answer to the question “What is a beer worth?”

 

A note about opportunity cost: As a public company, AB InBev has a responsibility to its shareholders. Whether that is maximizing profits, maximizing shareholder value, setting up the company for future growth, or anything else, AB InBev needs to do what is in the best interest of their company.  Even if brewing Rare is not the most profitable use of all of AB InBev’s resources, they have made the decision that it is in the best interest of the company and therefore we have decided that opportunity costs should not come into pay when evaluating Rare.

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Overall Costs

Packaging: $8.72

Rent: $0.24

Utilities: $0.12

Liquid: $1.30

Warehouse improvements, storage tanks, transportation: $0.05

Labor: $0.70

5% Misc.: $0.56

Total: $11.69

 

 

Packaging:

Glass bottle:              $0.50

Label:                         $0.05

Crown cap:                $0.02

Box:                            $8.00

Total:                           $8.57

 

Liquid:

Barley/Hops:             $0.49

Yeast:                         $0.20

Barrel:                         $0.59

Water:                                    $0.02

Total:                           $1.30

 

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On Beers I’ve Drank: From Busch Light to Oberon

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On Beers I’ve Drank: From Busch Light to Oberon

By: Karl Klockars

 

Everyone has a “first beer” story, here’s mine:

 

A can of Miller Genuine Draft, pilfered from a cooler in a garage on New Year’s Eve 1994, split between four young gentlemen in the Chicago suburbs. Our unrefined palates not accustomed to the flavors of malt and alcohol, it probably took us 90 minutes to kill that can amongst the four of us, so long that the three ounces we each sipped had next to no effect on our teenage brains.

 

We stayed up until 4AM that night, probably talking about Slayer, girls and golf clubs – my high school friends were a weird mix of metalheads, caddies and metalhead caddies. I don’t remember much else about that particular holiday other than that one single beer took on a significant symbolism to it. I didn’t have a ton of friends, being the kid dumped from small Catholic grade school into big, bad public high school, but when the 36-year-old me looks back on that 14 year-old-me, he sees someone taking baby steps into a form of acceptance that took place over the rim of a can of Miller.

 

I can honestly still remember how it tastes.

 

Everyone has a beer confession, here’s mine:

 

I drank Busch Light for a long time. It was less a beer of choice than it was a beer of necessity, being cheap, readily available thirty cans at a time. It was also a beer for the marathon drinking one does right out of college when you live in what is essentially a hovel with your ne’er-do-well punk rock friends and union worker buddies.

 

It was another symbol in a can: we ain’t no fancy Miller Lite drinkin’ fellers, we don’t have extra cash to spend on no fancy bottles of Budweiser, we are separate, we are unique, we are a band of brothers. We drank Busch Light aggressively, we freely shared our cases and 30-packs among friends and strangers like we were a commune, and we wore the pain it induced like a cold-filtered badge of honor.

 

I find myself in a rural bar a few times a year, or a college bar, or just some place where the upper-scale choices range from “bottle of Heineken” to “last Pete’s Wicked known to man.” Invariably, I am more than happy to pass two one dollar bills across the bar for a bottle or can of watery, corny, blue-labeled bliss in a can. I know what I’m doing. I’m a pro. I drink Busch. I drink Busch Light.

 

And I’m not just drinking a cheap beer in a can because it’s ironic or because it’s amusing ­– I drink it because part of me still thinks I can be that kid that still fits in those cutoff camo shorts and drives a 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that probably isn’t going to pass emissions and stays up until the bakery next door opens at 5am.

 

At least, it’s a reminder that he existed at one point.

 

Everyone has a gateway craft beer story*.

 

Fairly new to actual city life, I had taken myself out of the garages and bowling alleys I had frequented in the suburbs to live with the girlfriend who would eventually become my wife. At that time I had moved on to a mix of High Life and 22-ounce bottles of Olde English 800, with the occasional draft Old Style. You know, for variety’s sake.

 

She took a job waiting tables and went to grad school while I dropped in and out of school, internships and eventually settled on the crazy hours and low pay of a radio gig. And on some Saturdays, I would wait at Simon’s Tavern, in Andersonville, waiting for her to get done with a brunch shift so we could walk home together.

 

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I remember it being late spring, I remember the bar being that special shade of dark you can only accomplish in a bar and I remember watching whatever baseball game was on the television. And in front of me was the first craft beer I learned to love: Bell’s Oberon.

 

I didn’t know what it was, really, but I knew it was something good. I knew it was different, and I knew it was beer from Michigan, where my girl was from, and if I couldn’t be with her until her shift was up, at least I could drink a beer that came roughly from the same place she did. It was one of her favorites, so it became one of my favorites. And we would watch the Sox play the Tigers, the first games of many, and we would order Oberons. Even in the midst of school and low-paying jobs and insane hours, we would always have a few bucks for Oberons, and we would always find time for each other.

 

(And when Larry Bell pulled Bell’s out of Illinois for a brief period of time, I learned my first lesson about distribution rights and the three-tier system.)

 

Three different beers. Three different versions of myself.

 

The larger story of beer is the story of civilization itself, the story of communities, the birth of gatherer life, of religion and culture and indulgence. I often hear the Lagunitas team talk about not being in the beer business, but being in the tribe-building business. Whenever I hear that repeated, I always think, “But it’s the exact same thing.

 

Beer is a unique thing – it’s an industrial product, but endlessly creative, historically associated in this country with a particular demographic, a particular class, a particular stripe of American. Hell, a very particular stripe of Chicagoan. I appreciate it, all the things it takes to make a simple product that gives many of us a simple pleasure, because it’s just so very us.
The beer world around us has never been busier, and it’s easy to dive into the minutiae – there are no depths to the nerdiness one can descend to. And I probably spend more time than most thinking about styles, variants, yeasts, barrels, and all the other things that make beer fun. But telling you all these things helps me remember that this world is also made up of broad strokes – it can (and should) be as simple as a few pints with friends.

 

I know I’m not alone in having a number of stories that I can tell about just having a few beers with friends. About shared pours with loved ones, or beers alone. About beers around a fire late at night with a guitar, on a front porch or on a rooftop. Musicians refer to needing only three chords and the truth. I can find something similar in just four ingredients. And the occasional adjunct.
*Every one of us who’s reading this, anyways.

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Mash Tun x Insiders Roundtable: 
Issue 008 Release + Live Radio Show

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December 10th •  7-11pm • Free! •  21+
Co-Prosperity Sphere • 3219 S Morgan St

Join Mash Tun and the Beer Temple’s Insider’s Roundtable for the release of issue 8 of Mash Tun Journal. We will be hosting a bottle share and producing a live studio broadcast and taping of the Insider’s Roundtable show.

Special guests include brewers featured in the brand spanking new issue # 8  of Mash Tun Journal.

We will supply some of the beers made by the brewers and breweries featured.
It’s a bottle share! Bring some! And please wear your ugly holiday sweater.

This is a Mash Tun Society event. Please RSVP at ed@mashtunjournal.org. So we can make sure we have enough vittles..

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Touchable: Eliot Ness’s Slide from Booze Buster to Booze Hound

Eliot Ness is credited with assembling a team of federal agents who took down Al Capone in Chicago in the 1930s.

Eliot Ness is credited with assembling a team of federal agents who took down Al Capone in Chicago in the 1930s.

 

Touchable: Eliot Ness’s Slide from Booze Buster to Booze Hound
By Paul Durica –  from Mash Tun Journal # 7


The Republicans are coming to Cleveland, Ohio, population 390,000. In July 2016 the city plans to host the Republican National Convention even though it and the county are decidedly Democratic. In 2012 President Barack Obama won 69.4% of the vote in Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland is the city that gave American politics frequent presidential candidate and famous vegan Dennis Kucinich. Cleveland rose alongside manufacturing and declined with it, shedding people and wealth at a staggering rate in the second half of the twentieth century. It’s a dirty old town, racially divided, with mediocre sports teams, a river known for having caught fire, and the shallowest, brownest Great Lake. In other words, it’s not Dallas, but the Republicans hope that holding the convention there will result in winning Ohio and its eighteen electoral votes come the November election. The Democrats have never held their national convention in Cleveland. For the Republicans it’ll be the second time around.

 

In 1936 the Grand Old Party was in a similarly giddy mood. They’d leave Cleveland having nominated for president the governor of Kansas, Alf Landon, a candidate who’d manage in November to win all of eight electoral votes against the incumbent Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1936 it made sense to hold the convention in Cleveland. At the time the city was playing host to the Great Lakes Exposition, the equivalent of a World’s Fair. It boasted a population of over 900,000, making it the sixth largest city in the country, and had a popular Republican mayor, Harold Burton. The rising local star in the party was not Mayor Burton but his handpicked, thirty-two-year-old Director for Public Safety, a former prohibition agent and Chicago native, Eliot Ness.

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Co-written with sports writer Oscar Fraley, Ness’s The Untouchables (1957) has significantly shaped the way Americans imagine the prohibition era, whether or not they’ve read the book or seen the subsequent television and film adaptations. Ness and his team of incorruptible prohibition agents are the jazz age equivalent of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday and, like them, more legend than fact. The success of the first television show, which ran from 1959-1963, ensured that Ness in the form of Robert Stack would appear on lunchboxes, board games, and comic books. Historians of the twenties, like Laurence Bergreen, have gone to great lengths to undo the legend, accusing Ness of exaggerating his role in bringing Al Capone to justice through daring raids on illegal breweries, but Fraley should be blamed for many of the book’s fictional elements. Preserved in the archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society are the single-spaced, typewritten pages in which Ness tells his story in his own words. The manuscript’s decidedly more modest than the book, television show, and movie that would grow out of it, and Fraley largely ignored it in favor of the stories told to him in person by Ness, late at night, at a hotel in New York. Ness was, Fraley would recall, drunk at the time.

 

Ness’s time as a prohibition agent is enough to merit an article in Mash Tun. There’s also the beer named for him, an amber lager, produced by the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland. The latter is indicative of how the two cities most associated with Ness regard him. In the film version of The Untouchables (1989), Ness is an outsider who can’t fathom how deeply corrupt Chicago is. In truth, his family lived in the Roseland neighborhood in that city; his father, a Norwegian immigrant, owned a bakery in what had been railroad car magnate George Pullman’s factory town. Ness attended Fenger High School and the University of Chicago, where he studied criminology, and would get his position in the Prohibition Bureau through a familial connection. He was a Chicagoan, much more so than the Brooklyn-born Capone, but that city has many heroes and you won’t find a single beer or bridge or really anything named in Ness’s memory there.

EliotNess-Mayor

Ness came to Cleveland after the repeal of prohibition and a failed attempt at becoming a FBI agent. At the press conference where Mayor Burton announced his new Director for Public Safety, Ness claimed that “every crime has a cure” and set out to prove it. As Safety Director, a position that combined the powers of the police and fire commissioners, Ness modernized both agencies and took a direct role in dismantling organized crime in the city. He was particularly fixated with traffic safety, and automobile deaths did decline during his tenure. A capable administrator in his early thirties, Ness began to be talked about as a potential mayoral candidate, the future of the Republican Party in Cleveland. All the while, whether due to personal weakness, professional stress, private tumult, or for pure pleasure, Ness drank.

 

In March 1942, on the way home from a party, he’d strike a man with his car and flee the scene. Witnesses all knew who was responsible since the license plate read NESS-1. He’d resign as Safety Director shortly afterward and take a job in Washington, DC, where he oversaw a campaign to eradicate venereal disease among members of the armed forces. In 1947 he ran for Mayor of Cleveland as a Republican and, like Alf Landon before him, lost handily to a popular Democratic incumbent. After that followed a string of administrative jobs with various companies, one of which brought him to Coudersport, Pennsylvania, where he became well-known in the bars and where he died at the age of fifty-four a month before the publication of the book that made him famous.

 

A former prohibition agent with a beer named in his memory whose life was undone by drink—there’s a lesson there, I guess. The Ness found in that typewritten manuscript, the Ness who drank, is a far more human and interesting figure than the unerring, untainted one portrayed by Robert Stack and Kevin Costner. The real Ness liked booze, opera, and cats. He liked artsy women and ended up marrying three of them. He could come across as arrogant before his colleagues, self-aggrandizing before the press, and even a bit cruel among his friends. He didn’t get the job he wanted because of a superior who felt threatened by him (J. Edgar Hoover—this is true), so he took the next best choice, then lost it through his own too human failings. But he did do some good work, particularly in Cleveland, and it is there, not Chicago, that you can buy t-shirts, posters, drink coasters, and more with his name on them. After his death, his ashes were scattered in a lagoon in Lakeview Cemetery, where such Cleveland luminaries as President James Garfield and John D. Rockefeller are interred. Perhaps because of his failures rather than despite them, Ness is a hero in that all-too-human city where on any night you can drink a beer named to honor him.

 

I am a Clevelander who has resided in Chicago for the past ten years. I am one of the 600,000 or so Clevelanders who have fled the city since Ness lived there. I remember going to Great Lakes Brewing shortly after it opened on Market Avenue with my father and Uncle Bill. I couldn’t drink—I was ten—but remember ordering a hamburger with blue cheese on it, exotic cuisine for Cleveland in the late 1980s. And I recall two small, circular holes in the brick wall behind the bar and the bartender telling us how the brewery used to be a bank and that the holes were from two bullets fired at Eliot Ness when he single-handedly stopped a robbery there. There’s no truth to the story. It’s like the ones Ness told drunkenly to Fraley. But every time I’m back in Cleveland, I stop by Great Lakes, think of that story, and touch that brick wall, seeing if I can find those bullet holes, even though they’re no longer there.

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In Conversation with Evin O’Riordan of London’s The Kernel Brewery

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In Conversation with Evin O’Riordan of London’s The Kernel Brewery
By Jamie Trecker from Mash Tun Journal #5

 

Just across the Thames, in the borough of Southwark, sits Bermondsey, a working-class neighborhood with roots that date back to King Edward III. Bermondsey has been a place of firsts: this was the home of Britain’s first railway, and the arches that litter Spa Road stand as a testament to one of this nation’s greatest achievements. Wild man “Wee” Willie Harris hailed from the town, giving it a credit in the pre-history of rock and roll. And today, it is the incubator for a number of emerging London breweries, all of which are concentrated in the industrial parks and arches that litter the area. Brew By Numbers is here, Partizan is close by – and then, there’s the Kernel, the greatest of them all.

 

Why here? “We have a lot of arches,” says Evin O’Riordan, matter-of-factly. O’Riordan, the head brewer and founder of the Kernel, often comes off as deadpan, but that quiet demeanor masks the fierce intelligence and shrewd integrity that has helped put the Kernel atop of the so-called “New Wave” breweries in London. He is widely respected by his colleagues (Jasper Cuppaidge at the Camden calls him, admiringly: “artisan with a capital ‘A’”) and slavishly imitated by others. His no-frills packaging and unwillingness to hard-sell his beer may be mystifying to some, but he doesn’t care about what people think. What he cares about is beer, and making it better every time.

 

O’Riordan sat down for this unusual long-format interview with Mash Tun, conducted by Jamie Trecker. This interview has been edited for length and clarity but not for content.


MT: Evin, thanks for talking to us. Frist off, you had a very unusual path to becoming a brewer, at least for us in the States. I understand you worked at a cheese shop, Neal’s Yard, and are basically entirely self-taught.

 

EOR: Yeah. I don’t know, I wonder does anybody start off being a brewer? I think we all start off as something much more amorphous than that. But, yeah, I turned to brewing about seven years ago now. You are correct that I was, I suppose, working for Neal’s Yard at the time, and they sent me to New York to help one of their customers open a cheese shop there. That’s pretty much where my eyes were open to the possibilities in beer that I had not seen before.

MT: What was so different about New York? London, and England in general, obviously have a huge brewing tradition.

EOR: It does have a huge brewing tradition and even then there were still plenty of amazing beers being made. I suppose it’s interesting if you compare New York to London. I wouldn’t be able to say the same thing now; there is no way I could have made it this far without being aware of the possibilities of beer, because of what’s happened here in London in the last few years–I think a lot of that potential and interest in beer was around then.

There are different mentalities in the two countries, in terms of how they engage with things like beer and pubs, and the way people communicate their enthusiasm. I mean, it wasn’t only the beers in NY that amazed me, although they did. But what was perhaps even more engaging was peoples’ relationships with the beer. If you want to go for a drink with a friend here, you generally go to the closest pub, whatever’s handiest. Whereas the guys I met in NY took me out for a beer, and they’d say we’re going to this pub over there for these x, y and z reasons (because this brewer is going to be there, he is going to have this beer on, etc). There was much more care put into what was being drunk.

One of the joys of drinking in England and Ireland (where I’m from) is they say that the camaraderie of drinking with friends comes first and the beer is secondary. Perhaps that should always be beer’s role: to kind of lubricate the social interaction. The focus in a beer bar I was exposed to in NY was very much the beer as the reason people were coming together, so the response to the beer was much more engaged and enthusiastic. The traditional English image was people who have a regular pint or a regular pub. They didn’t have the same ideas of challenging people, or having something different, or even having bartenders that would explain the differences between things. In New York, it just blew my mind that you could have all these different beers and somebody would explain them to you, and you could then even try a few things before you decided what you want. None of that was happening with drinking in England at that point in time.

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MT: So you came back from New York, but did you make a conscious decision that brewing was something that you wanted to get into? Is it that you wanted to bring some of this culture back to England, and maybe changing some of the things over here in doing that?  

EOR: I think you are exactly right, but it sometimes is hard to look back. Things seem a bit more concrete once they’ve happened. I’m sure at the time it was an idea, perhaps a pretty vague one. And now that the brewery has been going for a few years, it kind of makes that initial decision seem much more important. If it never happened, then would I have done something else, I guess. There was a certain aspect of wanting to change English drinking culture, or at least incorporate aspects of the American drinking culture into it.

This was very similar to something I already knew. What happened was that Whole Foods, your American grocery store, was setting up a cheese room in one of their shops on the Lower East Side. And I was showing them how to look after the store, how to look after the cheese with Neal’s Yard. With the cheeses, I would know the name of the farmer, what sort of cows, what they ate, what sort of land and pastures they were eating from, what effect this had on the milk, what sort of recipe the cheese maker used, the tradition he invoked and was involved with, how it tasted now, a month ago, and how it would taste in a month… these were the things that I knew and loved, and then I found guys there that were telling me the exact same facts about beer, and had known none of it. I knew probably what yeast, and malt, and barley were, but that’s it.

So, in the sense of shifting cultures, I understood the impetus behind diving deep into something, and I found beers that were worthy of that sort of attention. This was lacking in London then. I think there was actually a lot more happening that I just didn’t know about, like places in London that were serving or looking out for good beer. There couldn’t have been that many, because I did start looking when I came back. The scene certainly wasn’t obvious; you might even be going to reputable beer pubs that served very good wheat ale and all those things, but you weren’t getting quite what it is that you were looking for. There may have been a few places around that were doing something I’d be a bit more interested in, but it wasn’t evident.

MT: So when and how did you learn to brew at home? This may sound like an odd question, but in the States, that’s been legal for a long time and we now have a huge network of homebrew stores and stuff. I don’t know if that exists in England, but was it difficult to learn?

EOR: You probably heard of this guy called Charlie Papazian, he wrote some books. I read those. There are quite a few homebrew books which give you a start. Most of them contradict each other, but when you have the internet which contradicts itself all the time, you kind of learn how to negotiate through various levels of information. There was a homebrew shop that was technically in London, but about two and a half hours from my house on public transport. You can imagine carrying a sack of malt back; it doesn’t work. You can buy stuff online, but you miss the opportunity to ask questions when you’re just starting off. But that’s how I started, books and the internet, I suppose.

After I had been brewing about a year or so, there were a few other London homebrew groups. There was a group called the London Amateur Brewing Setup. I wasn’t one of the founding members, but I appeared at the first meeting. That had a huge effect, because you can only get so far with brewing and learning how to do things on your own. The most amazing thing about that was just the feedback. Friends might say something’s nice or not quite right, but to have people with beer tasting or beer judging experience, or who understand specific faults and styles [tasting my beer] made the most difference to my brewing life at that point, and probably to many others. There was a very strongly stated rule that said don’t just be nice, be fair, but err on the harsh side. So dig, look for and give input that isn’t like, ‘Oh you know that’s tasty, I would have several pints of that.’ With a group, you don’t just get feedback on your beers, you get to analyze other people’s beer and you learn both ways.

MT: So you can identify flaws, learn from them, and learn how to avoid or correct them in your own things?

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EOR: Exactly, you get that kind of pooling of knowledge. But also you get to taste. Flavor and taste are things you can never really translate in a book. You can kind of hint at it and suggest, but if you are all sitting around smelling and tasting something together, then you can identify what it is. Maybe you don’t quite pick it up the first few times, but you learn.

MT: But then how did you leap to the idea of a brewery? That sounds like a big risk.
EOR: Not as such. No. My situation was slightly more ambiguous than we have it down so far. Actually, I wasn’t working for Neal’s Yard directly at that point. I had worked for them for about eight years, and then I had my own cheese stall in the Borough market just near London Bridge. So I had my own stall, but the market was only running Fridays and Saturdays. Up until just before I went to the States, I was studying, writing a PhD. I would study most of the week, and then have a couple days working in the market. So it wasn’t quite as drastic a leap as all that. Were their concerns? I mean there always are, and I was getting myself into something that I really had no idea what it was really about.

I knew that replicating that on a larger scale was a different question, and you can end up way out of your depth very quickly. But I had faith that if I could make beers that were that good, that there would be enough people out there to appreciate them. Also, at that point in time, London had eight or nine breweries. I think there were five or six brewpubs and there were only Fuller’s, Meantime and Budweiser of course were importing here. Fuller’s had been there for a few hundred years, Meantime had been there for ten. Also, I think Grandaddy’s, maybe Sambrook’s had just started, and Brodies were going but they were kind of a brewpub at that point in time… So three independent stand alone breweries and six brewpubs. I’m not really into planning or business models or things like that, but I looked around and saw a lot of people and three breweries. I knew the experience I had in NY wasn’t unique: many Londoners of a certain type have spent time in NY, or San Francisco, or Chicago or Portland, and probably had a similar experience to mine. In a sense, there are many more connections between, say, London and NY than between London and Shropshire. It’s all ‘big urban’ – the fashion, the news, the cosmopolitan city sort of things. People here have a lot of experience about what life might be like in Paris, Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo, Melbourne, New York, so it wasn’t hard to imagine that there would be people out there to understand what I was working towards.

There definitely were people out there that were ready for it. I think you can put down a lot of what happened to a certain amount of luck, I suppose. If you are in the right place at the right time… I mean, we are in London, and here were all these people who would happily have drunk this sort of beer had it been available.


MT: Why wasn’t there anyone else? Why hadn’t somebody already come into London, with such a great brewing history? Why did it take so long?

EOR: That’s a good question. I wonder about that myself, because things were already happening by then. I remember when I came back from the States in 2007, around the end of April or early May, I was looking around England for something more ethereal, not just, ‘What breweries here are making IPAs like an American would rather than like Greene King would?’ I came across this brewery called Brewdog, who had just opened up in April 2007. They had a little mail order shop, I don’t think you could get the beer many other places. You could send off, and they would send you a 24-bottle crate of Punk IPA. They were great, and it was great beer. Their spiel, has always been their spiel, and that’s also fine. (It was also somebody else’s spiel, but that’s another story.) They still do make great beers, but what I got then was that they were setting up a brewery in a completely different way that I would imagine, and embracing things that hadn’t been seen here. Bringing in the idea of Punk IPA–what a West Coast IPA could be like–, it was heartening, in a sense, to know there were other people who could imagine somebody here would enjoy drinking West Coast IPA. And they were already there, they were happening, they were doing it, and they’ve done a lot of things. The way they’ve gone about things has brought some attention to craft beer world, and that has made some things easier to introduce to people who may not otherwise have been interested in beer.


MT: They have an interesting system, because it’s close to what we call in Chicago a ‘tied house;’ it’s very weird, because, in a way, it’s kind of old school. They are a beer producer that sells through their breweries, and that is not necessarily what American craft brewers do. They usually put it out to market. We have taprooms, and you guys have a taproom here, but, Brewdog seems to be an old fashioned brewer with punk rock marketing. They are making very good beer though.  


kernelBeer

 

EOR: Yeah, and recently I think their beer has been really tasty. I haven’t really looked too deeply into the tied aspect of things. We don’t have a bar or anything that we could actually use. It’s just not something that I have thought about directly. I think Brewdog also goes about things by creating a certain community, club, environment, or experience that is not just the beer; it’s the whole ethos around it. Obviously it is much easier to curate that ethos in your own space. If you are having a pint of Punk IPA in some other pub then you are not going to get the full experience of it as much as if you are in a Brewdog pub. It also to do with identifying with a certain brand, or however it works, and what they are doing as a brand, ideologically, is a huge part of what they do.

Probably before Brewdog, there weren’t that many breweries here who were embracing what would have been a transparently traditional way of presenting beer to an English public. It’s traditional in one sense, but it’s not really. A hundred years ago, the beer scene would have been very different. There would have been a lot of things other than your best bitter, as bitters only became the most popular ale style in the 60’s. Before then, it was milds, which are almost extinct. What we really have is a tradition of small breweries in this country. That means a hell of a lot: it means we have beer drinkers who are accustomed to small breweries; it means we have a legal setup that supports that tradition as well. Like you were saying about the difficulties of setting up a brewery in the States, in terms of paperwork and logistics, I think it’s easier over here because there is a tradition of it. There have always been a few small breweries even if there weren’t very many. Then CAMRA [CAMpaign for Real Ale] stepped in in the 70’s and helped make sure that the small breweries survived.

But that tradition can also hold you back, because it limits the expectations and potential of the beer community. London, being a big city, considers itself quite modern. When most brewing was anchored in the traditional (and that was associated with the countryside), if you wanted the traditional ye olde Englishy pub, you could find them in London, but they’ll get your traditionally ye olde Englishy beer from Yorkshire, Shropshire, or wherever. People could be scared off by real estate as well–putting on a brewery space in London is expensive. You do, of course, have a market on your doorstep, so it’s not the biggest consideration.

The other thing I suppose tradition does kind of dictate is expectations of price. Again, when we were talking about doing business in the states, the prices seem to be a lot cheaper than here, but that’s a lot to do with taxes, which are pretty high in London. It’s one of those quirks of the modern world that handmade and handcrafted products like real ale are much more difficult to look after. More wastage in manufacturing is generally cheaper. So the artisanal product, which should deserve more of our attention, care, and probably money, is actually sold cheaper or at a lower margin because of the beer drinking tradition with its expectations that it is the drink of the people, working class, etc. So I think prospective brewers thinking of making the most money might not go in that direction. But there were a few London breweries that started up doing more ‘English’ and continental styles, and they didn’t seem to survive terribly well. I don’t know whether Londoners thought the ‘traditional’ beer itself was too old-fashioned, or if they associated it with their fathers, grandfathers, or that strange uncle that always sits in the corner muttering to himself–drunk, with a bad beard. At any rate, people here have always been pretty literate in terms of food and wine. Consumables have been relatively well respected and highly regarded, and people can be quite educated in terms of understanding them. And again, that’s the thing I saw in the States: this education being applied to beer. Which I hadn’t seen here.

MT: It’s interesting you brought up expectations, because up in Manchester we were talking with Port Street Brewing House and the owners told me that one of the problems they’ve had is people coming in and saying, ‘Why aren’t you just selling a bitter? And why are you doing this? And why aren’t you doing that?’ Did you run into any resistance when you started you sell your beer?

 

E: No, I experienced none whatsoever, almost. And it still shocks me today. But there are a couple of things that can mitigate that: one is that we never went out and actively sold beer to people–everything we sell has been people coming to us so they are already engaged to a certain degree. I mean, we have some people who will do a speculative email, just an inquiry, and then drop around here or ask if somebody can come and see them and explain what it is we do. But yeah, everything has grown through word of mouth, so hopefully the quality of the beer itself is speaking for us, without having to cold call people and push beer on them. It’s quite nice for me because it makes my life a lot easier, but I think it’s also good for the person at the bar who has already decided that this type of beer serving environment they want to be a part of. They have much more investment, engagement, and care rather than if they had it forced upon them. People do ask, of course, if they have a certain type or style they really enjoy and why don’t we make one? They like our other beers, they’d think we’d make a really good best bitter. But that’s not in our hearts, that’s not what we love. Those things aren’t so much criticism as they are encouragement.

MT: You’ve just poured a London Export Stout here that is a very old recipe which we were discussing earlier, from 1890, and it’s an antique recipe that just disappeared from the market. And this is not off the wall for you; in fact it seems like there is a lot focus to what you do, and I was just wondering if you could put that in your own words?

 

EOR: I’m not really sure that I can. The individual bits kind of are clear, or at least to my mind, are relatively clear in themselves, but as to how they fit in an overall coherency–it’s a bit more abstract and quite amorphous. Like anybody’s personality, you can’t necessarily fit all the bits together to create one sort of perfect understandable whole. I mean, yeah, I’m sure most breweries you talk to say the same thing: ‘We brew the beers that we enjoy drinking.’ I do on occasion enjoy a good pilsner, but it’s not something that I drink very much, so we don’t make very many; most Belgian styles are not something that make us go crazy with excitement, so we don’t brew any. We love pale, hoppy beers — really pale and quite hoppy – and crystal malts and other things that give a big sweet body are not things that we enjoy, so we avoid them. And we like beers like this that are old and in old recipes.

You asked earlier if this was a recipe from the homebrew club. It’s not, but my love of these beers comes from that club. The first time I tried any of these old recipe beers was at that club. Someone brought in a beer that they made to a 1865 recipe from Flowers Brewery in Stratford upon Avon, their ‘Christmas Stout.’ That was one of those moments when you go: ‘I don’t have a clue what is going on here.’ But it’s great, because so much of the world is trying to convince you of: a) The novelty of what they’ve just done; and b) How creative they are, and how unique. I suppose that’s like me saying there were no breweries in London before we started 4 years ago, and before Citra who could make a proper pale ale, and then you have a recipe that’s 125 years old. So, yeah, in a sense there is no reason for us to think we are doing anything better or more original than anyone else. We don’t know what they were doing back then, because we don’t even know if this is an accurate representation of what they were drinking, but beer survived this long because it is generally pretty good.

MT: And this [brew] is very good, it’s outstanding in fact.
EOR: Then in a sense it’s little to do with us, it’s just us trying to channel a bit of the past. Because we’re here in London, we’ve been talking about the new things that have been happening here. But there are a hell of a lot of old things that have happened here that we really don’t know much about. We look in, have a route ‘round the archives, walk around the streets, spot the old breweries. There is a whole history of brewing here that we are not really engaged with. The guys who brew at Fullers are great people to talk to about this. They have a bigger sense of engagement because their brewery started 200-odd years ago. Of course those individuals weren’t around, but they are partaking in a tradition of what it means to brew in London. I suppose beers like this old Export Stout are our attempts to try to figure out how to engage with that. I think it’s important to acknowledge the strong history here, that is, as long as it makes really good beer. There’d be no point in doing a perfect recreation of an old recipe if it tasted crap.

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MT: And that makes me want to ask about this space, and where you are. One of the things that Americans don’t know anything about–and I just have to ask after you showed me around this beautiful brewery– is that you’re in an old railway arch. This is completely foreign to Americans. I read in another interview that one of your clients advised you when you started a brewery, to get an arch and start a brewery in an arch. What is the deal with the arch, and why is it an attractive space? I know you and a number of other people have moved into this space and created a little community of artisan makers and sellers.

 

EOR: There are thousands of old railway arches across London, because all of the train lines that run in and out of the city are raised above street level so they don’t interfere with traffic. The next generation ones are going to start being buried, but that’s another thing entirely. These are Victorian constructions of solid brick that have been around for a long time. They tend to be really wet, dank, musty, and moldy. Most of the time, in the past, they would have been used as storage or more so, for mechanics, engineering workshops, cars, things like that. Primarily they were relatively cheap in terms of rent, up until recently I suppose. I think Network Rail, who control these things, started lining the arches with this sort of white corrugated metal which kind of creates a seal around it, so you don’t get all the wet and dampness that clings to the walls. It allows the spaces to be used for things like food production or brewing, or other things that require a controlled hygienic environment. It wasn’t the initial plan to end up in an arch directly, it was more that an arch became available. When we moved into our first site, we shared one of these arches with cheese maker Bill at Kappacasein, which is now our neighbor ham and cheese company adjacently that direction [points]. There were three of us in one arch. Neal’s Yard dairy has the arches that were next-door to that, and they knew we were looking for a space. The architecture has benefits for perishables and agricultural items, because there is so much brick overhead that it creates a kind of huge amount of thermal mass that helps to even out temperature fluctuations. In Winter it’s a bit warmer than outside, and in Summer it’s a bit cooler; it doesn’t go up and down too much, it’s like a cave. So in terms of maturing cheese, it’s ideal; if beer sits, the fact that it’s pretty temperate makes looking after things a bit easier. Fast temperature fluctuations cause a lot of trouble in wine, beer, or cheese.

MT: It’s fascinating to me walking around this complex. We’ve already referenced this, but you moved here, you’ve got a little community, on the weekends you open up. You don’t really have a taproom per se, but you serve your beers to the public. People can get cheese, there’s a butcher shop next-door…it seems like one of the important things here is community and how you connect to it. In fact, with this recipe, you are talking about old London, and this whole setup is a really perfect representation of that idea. That is something that we are very interested in obviously at Mash Tun, but why is it so important for you? It’s sometimes a difficult concept to explain to people: why community, and why is that sense of belonging so important, not only for a business, but for a human reason?

 

EOR: I think there are about 6 questions in there, but that’s the sort of question I appreciate really. I haven’t really thought about that myself before, so I’m going to have to think. But also I like the way you’ve put your finger on that connection aspect; it is something that’s very important to us. Our little community around here — the butcher next door, the ham and cheese company, the honey company, the coffee roasters, the veg guys — we all moved in here for a reason. Maybe it’s that collectively we can do more than we can individually. So not just in terms of attracting people down to our storefronts, but also we rent out all these arches together and we can get a better deal collectively. So somebody comes down to try some beer, they own a restaurant, ‘Oh well what, shall we go next door and try some cheese? Where do you get your meat from?’ They all bring guys to come see and hear together, and you can work a certain magic, I suppose. I don’t know, I always think there is a certain futility standing in your own corner. It’s almost like you are spiting yourself, like, ‘I am standing alone!’

I think one of the things that is maybe behind the question is that these sort of things become…I mean, I am originally from Ireland which is a very small country, not many people in there, but I’ve been here 15 years now, and even the big cities are relatively small. One of the things about Ireland is that everybody knows everyone else, and if we bumped into each other randomly in the street, we would have some friend in common and we would find out about it in about 3 seconds, which is great and friendly and warm and developing but also slightly limited. When you come to London, there is absolute freedom, city of 13 million strangers, you never bump into anyone you know, and it’s great, but then you realize that’s not exactly what you were looking for anyway. So then you begin building things, communities. It’s impossible to engage with London as a whole because it’s so big, and most cities are probably the same. So we just do things and intervene as we can in our own little world, these food producers that we work with down around here. And where I live there is a network of people I know, neighbors and people, and it’s very strong in brewing too because now, there are six breweries in a mile, on either side of us. It’s mental, and most of them are brewing really good beer. Some of them are very close friends. And throughout London, we have London Brewer’s Alliance where we get together monthly wherever feasible and try to do things as a collective for the reasons of furthering good beer in London.

So these communities kind of work in their own way in terms of how you negotiate and relate to the whole city, because you can’t know everybody. But I think it’s about being part of something that’s bigger than yourself. If you start a brewery, it’s not just to make beer, it’s to support yourself and the people who work there…But that stretches out, because the beer you make starts to be sold in other places, which gives other people jobs, and so on. Any relation that you have with your neighbors over stuff like this is creating bonds that are hopefully building something that will yeah extend beyond you. It’s a question of health I suppose: I find the interlinking networks of a community to be the healthiest way of building a better society.

MT: Since we’ve talked a lot about community, alliances, starting off in 2007 in a whole new world, opening a brewery, becoming successful…I guess the natural question is where do you want to go from here? In America, a lot of people have big dreams of being commercially successful or making all these styles or opening a taproom. The aspirations range everywhere from being very small to being very big. Sitting, drinking and talking with you, it doesn’t seem like business concerns are necessarily the most important thing; it seems what you are really interested in is making quality beer and making sure all your staff is taken care of.

 

EOR: Yes, and way I maintain this is by not making any rash decisions now. I think part of the integrity is reacting to circumstances as they come up, rather than prescribing a planned program of development. I can tell you how I feel right now, I’m quite happy to do so, but things may change. I think you’ve identified precisely what the important things are here: the community we’re in, the people who are working here, and the quality of the beer. Most of those things can line up in a way that they are not fighting each other. I’m not sure how we got to the way things work here, but it’s great. There are ten of us, all ten of us brew. In turn, all ten of us will run the bottling machine, we all answer the phone at the front, and we all put together orders, drive the forklift around, and move pallets of beer. So within the brewery, there is quite a flexible, flat system of organization, which means that everybody is responsible for the whole. It works at this scale, but I don’t necessarily think it would work so well if you were a bigger organization. Obviously if everybody is looking after everything, and everything is really big, that might get a little bit tricky. So I guess that’s one of the things that makes me think we won’t go much, much bigger. There is space in here for us to produce a bit more beer, but there is also the nature of what we do: a lot of bigger breweries would brew 3 or 4 batches of beer into one large fermenter, whereas we’d like each batch to be individual. So that sort of scaling system wouldn’t really work well for us.

MT: Even your labels are very individual. It’s not insane graphics or what have you: it’s just ABV, the name of the beer, and what it is.

 

EOR: Yeah, that goes back to what I was talking about at the beginning: having faith in the person who is tasting the beer. I don’t want to have to give them tasting notes. The beer should tell them enough. Obviously if it’s in a bar or a shop, then you want the person who is selling it to have enjoyed it and be able to recommend it. Having any blurb on there that kind of shouts, ‘Drink me! Buy me! I’m really tasty!’ is unnecessary. Our labels just say, ‘please drink fresh’ on the back and have hops on the front. There is nothing more need be said, really. I mean, most of the way we grow is somewhat organic, for the sake of not having any other word. It’s pretty slow and steady, and we are comfortable with that. If something should change in the future, it will be slow and steady and we will adjust. If one of the guys here really wants to set up a taproom and wants to look after that themselves, that’s great. It’s too much work for me that I don’t even want to conceive of it.

I’m afraid there is no profound answer to that question. There are no fireworks on the horizon. We stick to the things we really enjoy, pale beers some dark beers, and we also love drinking sour beers so we are really excited you brought over a Berliner Weisse [from Marz]. Most of our private stash of beers here tends to be lambics and exciting delicious sour beers. Those barrels you saw in the next room, most of them have a saison we tried, but once we lose a bit of the barrel character and they become a bit neutral, we will start adding things to them just to start kicking off something that would be more of a spontaneous sour lambic style fermentation rather than a Berliner Weisse…but you know that whole thing, the gestation period of that sort of beer is long and slow, and we are moving that direction because that’s what we love to drink.


MT: Very cool, we love to drink that too. Thanks so much, we really appreciate it.

EOR: No, thank you!

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Brewers on the Cusp of Blowing up

Kimbell Barrel Fermenting

By Won Kim In a city heralded for its food and beverage scene, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with what’s new and exciting. Billion dollar acquisitions seem to be happening with a frequency that would make horny rabbits seem sluggish. Amid all the openings and business deals happening, it should be noted that there is still a burgeoning and exciting underground brewing (I couldn’t help it, there will be some puns – unintentional, but effective). Luckily for us, Chicago is large enough for the minor leaguers who are passionate about their craft and ready to showcase their carbonated adult beverages to the ever-growing craft beer world. Every single seasoned brewer started as a homebrewer, the same way any good chef cooked, or any good artist started with drawing most of his or her life. This is the process to turn any true passion, whatever the creative platform, into a career. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best homebrewers that this city has to offer. Individuals, groups, and married couples that work hard at their jobs to be able to fund their passion for creating unique and experimental beers. Long gone are the days when you and your buddies would buy a homebrew kit from Jewel and brew that first batch of a pissy pils. You called yourself a brewer and thought that you’d be able to do it for a living until you realized that you would have to multiply the amount of beer produced by a million.   I have thrown and organized many beer events in Chicago in the last 6 years with a focus on showcasing homebrewers ready for the majors. From having to drink a ton of sample beers for dinners and parties, to assembling massive public bottle shares, I can safely say that I have had my fair share of beers. Self-appointed beer deity Greg Koch described my beer events as “beer raves.” I took to that title and eventually went on to work with him, Randy Mosher, and Jason Ebel in a homebrew competition called Iron Brew. This was at the height of my curated beer events. Industry-heavy heads actually recognized what was going on and offered homebrewing participants to brew commercially with them as a prize. The best part was that out of the 20 homebrewers, almost all of them would move on to work full time at a brewery. With that in mind, I would like to focus on a few of the brewers I have worked, drank, and blacked out with.   Kimbell Brewing These are the OGs that would start me on my Brew HaHa adventures, when they were two of the four members of homebrew collective Lowdive. Matt Kanable and Andrew Lautner would eventually go on to start Kimbell Brewing. These are the guys that took a chance on me and helped organize a private beer dinner showcasing their beer and my food. This eventually led to doing a much more toned-down version of the Brew HaHa at our friend Mike Anderson’s backyard in Humboldt Park, where Tooch [Adam Mattucci] and I would handle food and they would provide the suds. Their beer was something special. From the meticulous marketing of their brand, to the recipes of the beer, you could tell Kimbell’s was “pro” brew. It wasn’t about getting smashed and drunk dialing your ex. It was about balance, trying to get the most out of the ingredients, and maintaining consistency.     Matt and Drew also know how to take constructive criticism, which allows them to excel in whatever style they choose to brew. My particular favorites from them as of late have been their sours. These beers are wild, tart, and fruity without being too sweet or overly acidic, which a lot of wild-fermented ales tend to be. They schedule brew days and consider beer to be sacred without being pretentious about what it is and what it “means” to them. I love these guys because they know how to appreciate beer, don’t make a big fuss about what it is, and make great shit.     Twisted Hippo Karl and Marilee may be some of the sweetest and raunchiest people I know. I met these two at a seafood dinner thing at Whole Foods, where I was filling in as the cook to test out some recipes to customers. Their friend, Gonzalo, was bragging about their beer rig at home and raved about their homebrew. The picture I saw showed a 16-tap system in a bedroom with a bunk bed over a chest cooler that housed all the beer. I thought it was fake or an Onion article picture, and I told them that I must see it in person. They were so cordial and open to having a stranger over just to share beer and hang out. That kind of openness and genuine kindness is hard to come by these days, so much so that it almost makes you suspicious.     It was love at first site: I visited them at their home in Albany Park and left annihilated, which wouldn’t be the last time I’d leave there not remembering a damn thing. Karl and Marilee have hosted homebrew parties, fried chicken nights, and even let me brew a beer with them. I didn’t do a goddamn thing – I was too hungover, and eventually passed out while they did all the work. I particularly loved their Beeting Heart Kölsch, which was one of the first commercial beers I tried from them commercially (long story). It’s smooth, mildly sweet, and has an earthiness and bright red color that only beets can bring. These guys have been on a hell of a journey to get their beer out there and have worked so damn hard only to have to start over again. Yet, they still do everything with a goddamn smile because they know and truly believe that this journey will all lead to achieving the…

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Winter Warmer: The Danish Art of Hygge in the Baltic Porter

By Jenny Pfäfflin of Cicerone Certification Program There’s a Danish way of living called hygge, a hard-to-translate-into-English concept the Danes adhere to in the colder, darker months (though, it can be a year-round philosophy). In its essence, it means “coziness” – winter hygge can be expressed through candlelit dinners, climbing under wool blankets, twilight coffee dates, pine-scented potpourri, and Netflix binges. But hygge is also emotional – it’s a time to gather with family and friends, to put aside work talk and politics and just be with each other. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the indigenous beer styles to the Nordic region is liquid hygge. In the 18th century, the British started to export their porters, who had made them with a higher alcohol content for the trip across the Baltic Sea. Known as the Baltic porter in the relatively modern establishment of beer style nomenclature, Baltic porters were also made under the names Russian stout or imperial stout, as they became the beer of favor by St. Petersburg royals. It all really depended on how the brewery decided to market its beer. Soon, instead of importing the beers from England, entrepreneurs set up breweries along the Baltic Sea. These new breweries adapted to regional ingredients and processes, and in turn, made a version of these strong, rich beers that evolved from its English roots. Baltic porters made in Scandinavia differ from those made in the Baltic regions. And even then, some Baltic porters are top-fermented, while others are bottom-fermented, probably as a result of adapting to the trends of the time, when lager breweries in Northern Europe were gaining in numbers and using one house yeast resulted in a more simplified and economical production of beer. No matter what brewers in Nordic and Baltic countries called it, the Baltic porter is unlike what we’ve become accustomed to as imperial stouts in the United States. Domestic versions of Imperial Stouts are characteristically American—barrel-chested and full of bravado, usually ringing in over 10% ABV, roasty, and heavily hopped. But there’s still a warmth to Baltic porters, as they’re usually stronger and fruitier than most porters and stouts. Minimally hopped, dark fruits like plums and cherries fill the aroma of these porters, along with licorice, chocolate, and toffee. Malty sweetness is showcased in the taste, held in check by low bitterness, and restrained coffee roast or slight smokiness. Full-bodied but not heavy, the slight glow of alcohol warms you up as it all comes together as hygge in its liquid form, the perfect accompaniment for snuggling into a snowy night. Notable Baltic Porters: Sinebrychoff Porter, Finland Carnegie Stark Porter, Sweden Żywiec Porter, Poland Smuttynose Baltic Porter, U.S. Jack’s Abby Framinghammer, U.S. Les Trois Mousquetaires G.C. Porter Baltique, Canada

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Sustainable Beer on Chicago’s South Side: Whiner Beer Company

By Calvin Fredrickson   Located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, Whiner Beer Co. is housed within a “vertical farm” called The Plant, an almost too-good-to-be-true bastion of environmentally minded business. Folks, it’s the real deal, and its ideology represents a watershed moment in Whiner founder and brewmaster Brian Taylor’s career. More on that later. With 15 years of brewing experience to his name, Taylor had technical know-how in spades. What he needed was a creative partner, someone who could evoke the playful, tongue-in-cheek personality of Whiner’s European-inspired beers. Enter Ria Neri, local hospitality veteran and artist, who embraced Taylor’s vision for Whiner by expressing mutual influences – ranging from 70s French comics to armadillos – through the brewery’s branding and beer labels.   By packaging their beer in cans, much of it barrel-aged, Whiner is looking to convey a highbrow-meets-lowbrow aesthetic. Wary of taking themselves too seriously, Taylor and Neri explain that the brewery’s name is a lighthearted allusion to the wine industry. One gets the sense that Whiner is tipping its hat to the world of wine with a twinkle in its eye. As of October, Whiner was still awaiting word from the TTB, and Taylor was chomping at the bit. “We’re basically ready to go,” he said. Indeed they are.   Daylight spills from broad windows onto the brewery’s concrete floor and walls, playing off brushed steel fermenters. The buzz and cracks of final customizations echo throughout the brewery, dust hanging in the air. Glowing white Xs punctuate the brewery and cellar ceilings. Taylor joked that people take more pictures of those lights than they do anything else. In their defense, the lights are rad. But Whiner’s story and vision outshine the brewery’s cosmetic appeal. What follows is an overview of Whiner’s stainless and wood cellars, their souring and blending processes, and their role at The Plant.   The Stainless Whiner’s 30-barrel, three-vessel brewhouse will accommodate step mashing, a brewing process typical of some of the French- and Belgian-style beers Whiner will produce. Two 60-barrel fermentation tanks dwarf two 15-barrel counterparts, vessels that will serve fermentation, blending, and yeast propagation processes. “Everything serves a really good purpose where it sits,” Taylor said, a credit, in part, to Corcoran Fabrication & Design, whom Taylor often contracted for work during his days as head cellarman at Goose Island.   For Whiner, stainless plays an important role in producing consistent beers. Taking a cue from beers of years past – Sofie, anyone? – Taylor will be blending four parts clean, stainless-fermented beer with one part wine barrel-aged sour, resulting in a tart, balanced beer. While stainless is a necessary side of Whiner’s fermentation, wine barrels hold mystique for Taylor and Neri in a way that stainless does not. In fact, the first two barrels Whiner received were promptly named after their proud stewards ­­– scrawled in sharpie on one, “Brian.” On the other, “Ria.” The Wood “I think I bought the barrels before anything,” Taylor said. “I had wine barrels in here and nothing else.” The best barrels are Cabernet Sauvignon, he said, which lend to initial fills bold wine flavors and aromas, though Pinot noir barrels are good, too. These barrels also present a relatively inexpensive vessel for long-term aging, something that is impractical in expensive stainless steel tanks. Wine barrels, being porous, allow for slow oxygen ingress, which is an excellent environment for microbial activity. Taylor will be encouraging that activity by pitching strains of Brettanomyces yeast into Lactobacillus-inoculated wort. Doing so will develop intense fruity and sometimes farm-like aromas, along with lemony, yogurt-like tanginess from the soured wort.   Whiner’s love for oak is no joke – with 40 barrels in the cellar and counting, Taylor muses of having a foudre or two soon, which can hold close to 400 gallons of liquid. “On a microbiology side, I like the wine barrels, because it’s more about growth; whereas with bourbon barrels, it’s about bourbon character and oak.” Federal and state approval holdups have kept Taylor from filling his barrels just yet, but when he does fill them, lush vinous notes will mingle with the deep oak aromas that have already permeated the cellar.   Souring Process Several techniques exist for souring beer, including hot- and cold-side introductions of Lactobacillus. One type of hot-side Lactobacillus addition is kettle souring, which usually involves an eventual boil, arresting additional bacterial fermentation in the wort upon reaching a desired pH. Another hot-side Lactobacillus addition involves soaking mesh bags filled with malt – in Whiner’s case, pilsner malt – in 110º wort for 24 hours, a technique Taylor honed while working alongside Jared Jankowski at Goose Island. “Everyone says it doesn’t work, but it worked twice as well for us,” Taylor said. Instead of killing the Lactobacillus bacteria with a boil, Taylor sends the inoculated wort to barrels, where it ferments and develops additional lactic character for the period of about a month.   Measuring total acidity – a technique Taylor learned at Boulevard – and blending, Taylor said, will promote greater control of flavor and acid profiles in the finished product. “We want to make sure the sourness of the beer isn’t overly sour or not sour enough,” he said. Once Whiner’s stainless- and wood-fermented Le Tub Wild Saison – one of Whiner’s flagships – is blended in the brite tank, Taylor will pitch Brettanomyces claussenii, a fruit-forward yeast strain that will create additional complexity and tamp down potential Pediococcus activity in the bottle. Pediococcus, like Lactobacillus, is a bacteria strain that creates lactic acid in beer, albeit one that can work more slowly and create off flavors. Recalling his experience processing Juliet wine barrels at Goose Island, Taylor estimated one in ten barrels had to be dumped. Those barrels had become “sick” or “ropy,” resulting in slimy, gelatinous beer, the result of Pediococcus. “It’s dangerous as hell,” Taylor said.   Sulphur sticks, potassium metabisulfite, and citric acid are among the more common treatments for barrel maintenance – and they’re all methods Taylor eschews…

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Mash Tun’s Top 5s for 2015

We drank some good beers in 2015. Here are a few selections from four Mash Tun cholos. Some of the beers were released in 2015. Some weren’t. Forget a gym membership. Track down these beers. Calvin Fredrickson’s Picks: The Commons Brewery – Urban Farmhouse Ale: When I visited Commons this past summer, their menu was loaded with tons of low-ABV, flavorful, and expressive beers. Urban Farmhouse Ale was a standout. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a couple bottles while camping along the Oregon coast. de Garde Brewing – The Boysen: Boysenberry funktown. Yogurt and berry goodness. Moderate acidity, tannic, and boasts a beautiful color. It’s beer’s purple drank. Anderson Valley Brewing Co. – The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose: Gose hit its stride in 2015. This one carried the banner. Kimmie was my go-to. I brought it to BBQs, bought it at divey concert halls, and drank it at home. I don’t understand Anderson Valley’s nomenclature. I do understand this beer. Very well. Half Acre Beer Co. – Pony: It’s local, it’s hoppy, and it’s always fresh. I drank buckets of this stuff in 2015. I expect 2016 will be no different. Pivo, I love you, but… Spiteful Brewing – Vote of No Confidence: Dankness and tropical fruit with a creamy mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable. This beer fueled some good times. –––––––––– Doug Veliky’s Picks BrickStone Brewery – American Pale Ale:  Some call it the Zombie killer [3 Floyds Zombie Dust]. There are definitely similarities, but this one has more malt backbone, and, most importantly, it lasts on the shelf for more than 30 minutes (for now). Oskar Blues Brewery – Death by Coconut: This is the type of beer that could convert casual beer drinkers into enthusiasts, if only they could get their hands on it. Very approachable at 6% ABV, with big coconut and rich chocolate flavor. Spiteful Brewing – Barrel Aged Malevolence Chocolate Caliente: Spiteful has always been on the map of Chicago’s enthusiasts who seek out the freshest beer possible. Their FoBAB winner in the category of Speciality Strong Porter/Stout puts them on the radar nationwide with this well-integrated, big-bodied, spiced chocolate stout.   Desthil Brewing – Dosvidanya: Like a Russian nesting doll, each layer stacks perfectly into this Russian imperial stout, aged in bourbon barrels. Be prepared for a big fudge brownie, covered in rich chocolate sauce. Moody Tongue – Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison: Pair this complex, flavorful Moody Tongue saison with your next meal featuring chicken or fish to really enhance the dining experience. Bright grassy and lemon flavors, mild cracked pepper, and bready malts. ––––––––– Chris Quinn’s Picks   Marz Community Brewing – Jungle Boogie: One of the most original beers I had all year, Jungle Boogie seamlessly intertwines the juicy, dripping flavors of exotic U.S. hops with rooibos tea. de Garde Brewing – Hose: A trip to de Garde Brewing earlier this year was an eye-opening look at the cutting edge of American wild ales. A 100% spontaneous fermentation brewery, de Garde somehow manages to brew a clean, lactic gose. It takes them a year to produce and they sell it for $6 per 750ml….I still don’t know how this beer is possible. Penrose Brewing – Wild X with Cherries: Perhaps the best American wild beer I tasted all year, Penrose took the already stellar Wild X and turned it into something magical. Scratch Brewing – Spring Tonic: My introduction to Scratch came by way of this beer. Technically a gruit, spring tonic is a vibrant, light, and refreshingly quenching beer. It’s a perfect introduction to one of the more innovative and ambitious breweries in the country. August Schell Brewing Co. – Starkeller Peach: Yes, you read that correctly. August Schell, the brewer of Grain Belt lager, decided to start a sour program. And they killed it. I’m as confused as you are.   –––––––– EdMar’s Picks: I decided to review my favorite beers of the 2015 by thinking about how they pair with video gaming, the frequency of their ingestion, and expressing yearnings for those whales that come only once a year. I also picked one of my favorite beers by the brewery I work at. And I used lyrics written by Morrissey of The Smiths to describe these selections. Spiteful Brewing – Alley Time: Punctured bicycle On a hillside desolate Will Nature make a man of me yet? When in this charming car This charming man Why pamper life’s complexities When the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?  (The Smiths, “This Charming Man”) Almanac Beer Co. – Barbary Coast When it comes down to virtue and truth No one can hold a candle to you And I dim next to you No one can hold a candle to you When it comes down to old-fashioned virtue (Morrissey, “No One Can Hold a Candle to You”) Perennial Artisan Ales – Barrel-Aged Abraxas Haven’t had a dream In a long time See, the life I’ve had Can make a good man Turn bad So for once in my life Let me get what I want Lord knows It would be the first time (The Smiths, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”) Marz Community Brewing – Jungle Boogie You shut your mouth How can you say I go about things the wrong way ? I am human and I need to be loved Just like everybody else does (The Smiths – “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side”) Maine Beer Co – Lunch And if a double-decker bus Crashes into us To die by your side Is such a heavenly way to die And if a ten ton truck Kills the both of us To die by your side Well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine (The Smiths – “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”) Bonus Track!  3 Floyds – Broo Doo Dear hero imprisoned With all the new crimes that you are perfecting Oh, I can’t help quoting you Because everything that you said rings true And now in…

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The Anti-Craft of Letherbee Distillers

  The Anti-Craft of Letherbee Distillers Interviewed by Calvin Fredrickson Brewers use the phrase “craft beer” to connote authenticity and quality. In recent years, other uses for the craft tag have been popularized. Craft coffee. Craft pizza. Craft cocktails. But you seem to resist that tag, and you’ve gone on record as calling Letherbee “anti-craft spirit craft spirit.” What do you mean by that? “Anti-craft” is definitely a reaction to the spirits industry specifically. The world of craft spirits has quickly become so formulaic and standardized that “craft” has essentially become a meaningless buzzword. There’s a cookie-cutter effect ingrained in the business model of most new distilleries that does not conjure innovation or craftsmanship nearly as much as it fosters marketing plans, ROI, investor relations, brand building, etc. Big business (corporate) methods and philosophies are prioritized over craftsmanship and it’s all disguised as “craft” to get the enthusiastic consumers to buy. It’s a race to scale up as quickly as possible to attract a buyout or further capital investment. You have to also understand that the spirits world has less integrity than the beer world. We not only have to deal with brand reps and bartenders whose opinions are bought and sold, we also have to deal with marketing companies that simply source bulk spirits and sell it in shamefully misleading ways to convince the consumer that it’s being made at a distillery like mine. Can you imagine a local brewery buying bulk beer from A-B [Anheuser-Busch], then packaging it in their own bombers, and selling it as though it was a special craft beer? The brewers would be outraged! Violence would ensue! But in my world this is considered sound business. I think you’re starting to get the picture… I often ask myself, “Where are all the honest weirdos?” So, I envy the beer scene. How else have you seen craft movement appropriated? For good or for ill? Or are you Indifferent? I see it everywhere.  “Craft” seems to have found it’s way into pop culture. It’s ubiquitous, so I find myself indifferent.  But don’t get me wrong – I’m very grateful that it’s a movement.  I just hope it’s a sign that consumers have deeply become more curious and thoughtful. Constellation, A-B InBev, and other Beer Big Dogs have shown interest in successful, independent brands for their profitability and fervent fan base. Each month brings news of another buyout, joint venture, or consolidation, with the Big Dogs usually buying some part of the Little Dogs – and that’s got consumers worried. From a spirits side, how important is distillery/brand ownership to your average spirit or cocktail enthusiast? It’s building more and more. But the spirits fans have been slower to respond to craft spirits because most people drink whiskey, and most craft whiskey is not as good as the big brands. Look, your whiskey might be crafty as fuck, but it’s a crafty turd aged for a short time in small barrels and you are lucky people are so generous to support you by spending far too much money on your well-marketed turd. Imagine how slow the craft beer movement would have been if nobody could make better beer than A-B! The spirits world did not have the same quality vacuum that beer has had. So, new start-ups catching up to the value and quality of America’s Bourbon industry is no small feat. It will take a generation’s time and lots of capital. Keep your eye on Whiskey Acres in Dekalb, IL. If anyone has a chance, they do. Does distillery independence matter to you? Absolutely. The value that’s slowly been built into my brand is partly due to the fact that I don’t have to answer to anybody. Not one person. I’m sure you, at Spiteful Brewing, understand this. Our ideas don’t get watered down by other people who have input in the process. And we certainly don’t have investors to consider when we want to make horrible decisions! Another concern for beer enthusiasts is origin of liquid: “was this made by the brewery themselves, on their premises?” As a result, contract-brewed beer has long bore a stigma for critical drinkers, often on principle, a stigma with little regard for the liquid itself. Do you sympathize with that unease over contract scenarios?  I personally don’t like all the contracting stuff. But I envy the gypsy brewers. They live the dream, don’t they? I prefer the Spiteful model. It’s the same as the Letherbee model. It’s obviously much more authentic to build a little tiny production space in the basement of a shitty factory building. And this authenticity is the hot knife that cuts through the shit-butter of “craft” marketing. But does origin matter so long as the liquid’s good and the marketing is honest? Marketing honesty is the most important thing to me. Making delicious product is becoming easier and easier. Some asshole can make delicious beer but I won’t drink it more than once if he/she is an asshole. The rest of the story has to add up. I have much fewer reservations about drinking someone’s branded MGP [Midwest Grain Products Ingredients, formerly LDI] whiskey when they’re completely honest that it’s MGP-sourced. Tell me there isn’t dishonest marketing in the world of spirits! There’s actually more deception than honesty. It’s disgusting. People are sick. It trickles all the way down the supply chain, and the brand reps and bartenders that get their pockets lined are happy to perpetuate the deception. They’re all too shortsighted to understand that this behavior actually degrades their reputations and future possibilities as individuals. Craft beer consumers are more critical than ever, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Drinkers want to know what, if any, ulterior interests exist, and they are quick to abandon ship if they sense inauthenticity. Since craft beer consumers have so many options, brand loyalty takes a different form than, say, a macro beer drinker who drinks one brand for life. Craft beer drinkers drink hundreds of brands in a year and may feel affinity…

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What It’s Worth: Rare Bourbon County Stout

What It’s Worth: Rare Bourbon County Stout By Chris Quinn   What is a beer worth? This is a question that gets raised increasingly more often as craft beer continues its meteoric growth. Is it simply the sum of its parts, no more than the combined costs of the raw materials, packaging, labor, plus a little something, you know, for the effort? Or is it something that, when done well, should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest fermented beverages from Piedmont and Bordeaux? In short, we don’t know.   So, as we [Beer Temple Insiders Roundtable] look for the answer to this question, we believe it is important to first inform ourselves on how beer arrives at its commodity pricing before we begin to divorce from it and enter a pricing model that takes intangible things (rarity, exclusivity, brand recognition) into account.   For the subject of our experiment, we chose Goose Island’s Rare Bourbon County Stout, which was recently re-released with much anticipation after a five-year hiatus. Derived from 35-year old Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, Rare brings much trepidation with its $60 price tag for a single 16.9-ounce bottle. What went into pricing this beer, or for that matter, any beer?   We received insight from experts in many fields to arrive at the numbers below. Some were hard numbers, some were very educated estimates, and some were pieced together through context clues. What we have is by no means the exact cost but our best estimate, which we wholeheartedly stand behind. We have decided not to include “soft costs” such as advertising and marketing campaigns, which, in addition to being impossible to accurately determine, is separate from what the beer actually is and cost to make. You can easily spend tens of millions of dollars on some of the cheapest beers in the world, as any time spent in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon will quickly prove.   The chart below is not only an attempt to determine what the costs of a craft beer are, but what values talent, knowledge, and expertise have as well. Craft beer has long differentiated itself from other alcoholic beverages not only through flavor but also through a guiding ethos of community. In keeping with this tradition, and the unspoken trust between producer, purveyor, and consumer that goes along with it, we felt that the findings of this experiment should be shared with all beer lovers so that we can all learn from it, and hopefully come a few steps closer to finding our own answer to the question “What is a beer worth?”   A note about opportunity cost: As a public company, AB InBev has a responsibility to its shareholders. Whether that is maximizing profits, maximizing shareholder value, setting up the company for future growth, or anything else, AB InBev needs to do what is in the best interest of their company.  Even if brewing Rare is not the most profitable use of all of AB InBev’s resources, they have made the decision that it is in the best interest of the company and therefore we have decided that opportunity costs should not come into pay when evaluating Rare. Overall Costs Packaging: $8.72 Rent: $0.24 Utilities: $0.12 Liquid: $1.30 Warehouse improvements, storage tanks, transportation: $0.05 Labor: $0.70 5% Misc.: $0.56 Total: $11.69     Packaging: Glass bottle:              $0.50 Label:                         $0.05 Crown cap:                $0.02 Box:                            $8.00 Total:                           $8.57   Liquid: Barley/Hops:             $0.49 Yeast:                         $0.20 Barrel:                         $0.59 Water:                                    $0.02 Total:                           $1.30  

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