Much of the success of craft brewing this time around is due to an increase in quality, consistency, and quantities. These are important elements to supplying and competing in a consumer market. In the 90s, craft producers, save a few, were not prepared to meet these demands, but in the most recent wave of last 10-15 years, craft beer has earned and protected its market share this way. And it’s because of this foundation that some brewers are deciding to open things up a bit, and try something new. In fact, some newer breweries are staking their future on it. Artisanal brewing is replete with risks. It’s far more likely that your beer will stray from your intent than it will ever behave. But to the artisanal brewers like Jester King, that’s the whole point.Read More
Eric Hobbs had been building a brewery in his mind for some time before Goose Island Brewer, Tom Korder, surprised him with is knowledge and charm at a beer dinner. Hobbs knew the business, the market, sales and distribution. But he didn’t know brewing — not first-hand at least. He’d been lucky enough to work for one of the country’s top craft producers, with labels like Bourbon County Stout and the “Sisters” line of barrel aged sours. Producing beers at that level seemed like an impossible dream. But the more he got to know Korder, the more their new brewery, Penrose, seemed inevitable.Read More
Collaboration beers are about as popular as hops these days. And while many of them are simply a reason to get each other's names out there, others are a tour de force, bringing together unique ingredients, processes, and approaches that challenge both sides' skills and expertise. The Goose Island x Deschutes Class of '88 Belgian Style Ale is one of those.
Dechutes has been touring the country and producing the Class of '88 series with a number of veteran craft brewers who started up that same year. It was an amazing time for the industry, and an uncanny coincidence that so many took the leap at the same time.Read More
By the time I joined the team on the mezzanine in Goose Island’s Fulton Street brewery on Chicago’s west side, they had already tagged and bagged the Rasselbock. But they hadn’t yet tasted their prize. Big smiles and bight eyes gleamed with anticipation from the entire crew. This is a familiar sentiment from the Fulton & Wood teams, and that’s because for most of the team, this is the first beer they’ve ever had a say in. And their hopes are high.Read More
France was the largest influence on Quebec’s beer history, with terroir being a key component of the rustic, home-made beverage. Spruce tips were used in place of hops for 17th and 18th century colonists. Roots and other spices were plentiful, and mentions of breweries in the area go back to the mid 1600s. The larger breweries we’re all familiar with today, Molson, Labatt, and O'Keefe, moved in over the next two hundred years, and comprised the totality of production brewing in the province of Quebec until the 1980s, when we saw a renaissance in brewing as one microbrewer after another popped up. Finally, in 1990, Unibroue was established in Chambly near the Richelieu River just southeast of Montreal, and quickly became the prize of Quebec’s brewing history.Read More
Gigantic Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon is one of the newest entrants in one of American's most mature craft beer markets. And they're succeeding on the back of an IPA. It's an uncanny story in an industry that's becoming more competitive by the minute, and inviting prognosticators to call an end to the craft beer wave — "The saturation point" as they call it. But healthy competition is what put this industry in a better position than ever to succeed. And on Episode 1 of the GBH Podcast last week, one of Gigantic's founders, Van Havig gave us the economic rundown of exactly why that's good news.Read More
Today marks a major expansion for Good Beer Hunting — the podcast.
One of my favorite media formats, the podcast will be a series of in-depth, personal, casual conversations with brewers, business owners, and craft-oriented people of all kinds. It's a chance for me to bring you stories I could never write or photograph, and introduce you to the brilliant minds and raw voices of craft in America that I encounter every day.
Together, we’ll dig into the issues the industry is facing. We’ll draw connections between the creativity in beer and the culture we all operate in. And most importantly, it’ll be a conversation.Read More
Cory King of Side Project Brewing is part of a curious new generation of American brewers. He's focused on mastery, not markets. Yeast strains more than hops. And blending as much as brewing. And he can do all this because Side Project is exactly that — an internal start-up at Perennial Artisanal Ales in St. Louis where King also serves as head brewer.Read More
Saison Rustique is a perfect example of Brasserie Dunham's point of view. Refermented in the bottle, Rustique's powerful effervescence livens up the orange-pith-like bitterness. Musty esters and a slightly phenolic aroma pop off the ice-berg-like head, with a spicy waft of funk. Perfect for a summer refresher, but bracing enough for a mid-winter break, this beer is dry as a bone and finishes with a brett-like quality, leaving almost no trace of itself on your palate other than some vague citrus and soft, soapy texture.Read More
Mark Spence has been producing with the Bruised Orange Theater Company in Chicago for years, and while we first met during one of his headier shows, it's the group's ongoing "I Saw You" at Town Hall Pub — where they act out personal ads in the form of the characters they imagine wrote the original "scripts" — that's made a lasting mark on the city's comedy and theater culture. In the past few years, Mark's gone deep into beer and homebrewing, and has developed one of the most trusted palates in my circle of drinking buddies.Read More