BOTL is a club that was founded as a means for our members to educate themselves and others about brewing beer, ciders and meads. We are all in this hobby as like minded individuals that have a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for an enjoyable time. Most of us are from Holland, MI and the surrounding communities.
For more information about our fine organization please email us at
We meet on the second Thursday of each month at New Holland's Brewing Facility. Start time 7 PM.

Please bring 3 bottles of this month's style homebrew that you want to share or a different style of your homebrew.
When bringing your homebrew to share, please bring your recipe too.

Styles of each month:
January – Barleywine, Winter Warmer, Strong Ales
February - Stouts and Porters
March – Cider, Cysers, Perry and Meads
April - English Milds and Browns
May – Lagers, Kolsch and Hybrids
June - Pale Ale, IPA and Ryes
July – Ambers, Reds and Alts
August – Wheat, Wit and Weizens
September – Fruit Beers,
Scottish Ales and Smoked beers
October – Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, and Spiced beers
November – Belgian/French Ales, Lambics and funky stuff
December – Saturday, Dec. 12 Christmas party, best of cellar and potluck lunch

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 Siciliano's Homebrew Competition BOTL

 Congratulations to all B.O.T.L. members and their fine scores!
Scott Bouman -------American Brown 40.5 Gold
Paul Erdmans ------- Belgian Dubbel 32 Bronze
Tim Keen ------------ Hefeweizen 35.5 Silver
Brian Machiele ------ Pale Ale Citra/Mosaic 39 Gold
Joe Potratz ----------- Peanut Butter Porter 39.5 Gold
Kevin Schumacher - American Premium Lager 37 Silver
Travis Vugteveen ---English Mild 36 Silver
Ed Weller ------------Belgian Wit  Bronze

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Is The Most Overrated Beer? Hmm

by  A Deadspin writer has called Bell's Oberon "America's most overrated beer."
Will Gordon of Deadspin said in a post Wednesday good wheat beers aren't hard to find, and says it's strange that Midwesterners "go bonkers for Oberon Ale, Bell's thoroughly ordinary seasonal wheat."
 In his piece, Gordon praises Bell's Two Hearted Ale, saying the beer "rises above the pack." But Oberon, Gordon writes, is "just some beer."
 "I fully respect the way nostalgia and ritual can enhance a drinking experience, but I still think it's bonkers for people to get so damn worked up over the annual release of Oberon. Many places in Michigan and surrounding states go so far as to declare an Oberon Day, which this year fell on March 23. A holiday for a seasonal wheat beer is a hell of a thing. It's a shame the people who invent such things wasted the idea on Oberon," Gordon writes.


 Every day, some metropolis tries to lay claim to the title of "Beer City, USA."  We factored in influence, breweries, history, impact, culture, and maybe -- just maybe -- some personal bias. Here, for our beer money, are the 16 best beer cities in the US.
 16. Asheville, NC
Like a breakdown of Jimmer Fredette’s college stats, it’s impossible to NOT talk about Asheville’s size in a conversation about its beer scene.
The breweries: Wicked Weed, Twin Leaf, Burial Beer, Hi-Wire, Catawba, Wedge, French Broad, Asheville, Highland
The bars: Thirsty Monk, The Bier Garden, Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, Jack of the Wood
15. Boston, MA
The Hub of the known universe was, at one point, the Hub of the modern craft beer world as well, thanks to a young gent named Jim Koch discovering his great-great grandfather’s beer recipe.
The breweries: Harpoon, Trillium Brewing Company, Boston Beer Company, Endurance Brewing, Pretty Things (Somerville) 
The bars: Bukowski’s, Parish Cafe, Publick House, Deep Ellum, Sunset Grill & Tap, Lord Hobo, Row 34, The Lower Depths
 14. Portland, ME
While the other Portland has hogged all the brewing attention and stolen Maine’s lumberjack fashion sense, the original Portland’s making its own waves -- and they’re less likely to make T-shirts about it. 
The breweries: Allagash, Shipyard, Bunker Brewing, Peak Organic Brewing, Maine Beer Company
The bars: Great Lost Bear, Little Tap House, The King’s Head, Thirsty Pig, Duckfat
13. Burlington, VT
The nearby presence of Alchemist -- even if Heady Topper didn’t exist -- might be enough to get Burlington a spot among the greats. But, thankfully, the small city has so much more. 
The breweries: Alchemist, Switchback, Infinity, Vermont Pub & Brewery
The bars: Farmouse Tap & Grill, Das Bierhaus, Hen of the Wood, Three Needs
 12. Cleveland, OH
At the rate it’s going now, in 10 years Cleveland might soon have a serious shot at the top of every list of this type. 
The breweries: Great Lakes, Market Garden, Indigo Imp, Fat Head's, Nano Brew, Butcher & the Brewer
The bars: McNulty’s Bier Markt, Tremont Taphouse, Johnny's Bar, City Tap Cleveland
 11. Philadelphia, PA
An employee at a prominent Philly brewery explained it to us like this: Philadelphians are passionate people. And if they love you, they hardcore love you. 
The breweries: Yards, Free Will Brewing, Philadelphia Brewing Co., Dock Street, Tired Hands, Victory
The bars: Monk's Cafe, Good Dog Bar, City Tap House, Johnny Brenda's, The Grey Lodge Pub
 10. Minneapolis, MN
Not even 10 years ago, Surly sold its first keg. Since it was sold in Minneapolis, we're guessing that keg was difficult to tap because it was covered in 3ft of snow. 
The breweries: Surly Brewing Co., Fulton Brewery, Summit Brewing Co., Dangerous Man Brewing Co., 612 Brew, Harriet Brewing, Indeed Brewing Company
The bars: Town Hall Brewery, Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, The Happy Gnome, Muddy Waters
 9. Milwaukee, WI
The history of Milwaukee is basically a page in the history of American brewing. Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, Blatz -- hell, Milwaukee’s pretty much responsible for keeping everyone of your dad’s work buddies hydrated for more than a century. 
The breweries: Lakefront, Water Street, Brenner, Milwaukee Brewing Co., Miller, Leinenkugel
The bars: Romans' Pub, Sugar Maple, Burnhearts, Nomad World Pub, Uber Tap Room, The Rumpus Room
 8. Grand Rapids, MI
So obviously any discussion of beer in Grand Rapids has to start with Founders, on its way to becoming an international beer force thanks to a minority investment from Mahou San Miguel of Spain, though locals remain more focused on the simple joy of housing an enormous sandwich and some amazing beers in their taproom (and getting their hands on some KBS when it comes along). But there’s a vibrant scene beyond the big boys. Brewery Vivant has won over a legion of fans with its take on Belgian-style brews (and its duck confit nachos and gorgeous brewpub built in an old chapel). HopCat is as fine a beer bar as you’ll find anywhere (crack fries!)... so much so that they’re evolving into a mini beer empire with a growing number of Midwest outposts, but Grand Rapids will always be home. Oh, and they have some fine brews in their own right.
 While several other Grand Rapids breweries are also developing strong followings (Mitten, Harmony), GR also has to get some points for the surrounding areas... most notably Kalamazoo, where you’ll find a little brewing outfit known as Bell’s (among others). Yes, they’re an hour apart, but you think you couldn’t spend an hour traveling in between some of these places in New York or San Diego? The point is, Michigan has one of the most vibrant, innovative, and locally loyal brewing cultures of any state in the union, and Grand Rapids anchors the state’s most prolific brewing region. Walk into any bar and you’re looking at dozens of seriously impressive beer options that were likely brewed within a quick car ride. It’s without question one of America’s finest places to enjoy beer.
The breweries: Founders, Brewery Vivant, Mitten, Harmony, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, HopCat
The bars: ALSO HopCat, Graydon’s Crossing, Logan’s Alley, Rezervoir Lounge
 7. New York, NY
Some of these cities earned their rank because of a concentration of breweries, or maybe high-quality beer ubiquity that leads to a drinker’s ability to get four different imperial stouts at a Thai place.
The breweries: Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint, Other Half, Finback, SingleCut, Bronx Brewery, Evil Twin
The bars: Blind Tiger, Alewife, Proletariat, Alphabet City Beer Co., Rattle N Hum, Tørst, Jimmy’s No. 43, Bar Great Harry
 6. San Francisco, CA
With its forward-thinking cocktail culture and the surrounding wine country, you’d think that SF’s beer scene would be an afterthought, but that is false, and upsetting.
The breweries: 21st Amendment Brewery, Almanac Beer Co., Anchor Brewing Co., Cellarmaker Brewing Co., Southern Pacific Brewing, Magnolia Brewery, Triple Voodoo Brewery
The bars: The Monk’s Kettle, Mikkeller Bar, Toronado, Magnolia Brewpub, Southern Pacific Brewing, La Trappe
 5. Chicago, IL
There was a time early on in the craft beer boom when Chicago seemed to be lagging behind a bit, but it caught up in a hurry and then some.
The breweries: Goose Island, Half Acre, Pipeworks, Revolution, Off Color, Moody Tongue
The bars: Map Room, Hopleaf, Bangers & Lace, Local Option, Maria’s Packaged Goods, Fischman Liquors
 4. Seattle, WA
Even without beer, Seattle would still be the beverage capital of America: they clearly dominate coffee (been to a Starbucks lately?), and booze (over half the country’s craft distilleries are in Washington State), and you could even make an argument for wine (ask someone from Napa where they’d rather be in 10 years), but who cares? Because they DO have beer... oh, do they have beer.
The breweries: Fremont Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Black Raven Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, Stoup Brewing, Epic Ales, Pike Brewing Company
The bars: The Pine Box, Chuck’s Hop Shop, Beveridge Place Pub, The Burgundian, The Noble Fir, Brouwer’s Cafe
 3. Denver, CO
Denver isn't the only Colorado town obsessed with beer -- Fort Collins birthed Odell and New Belgium, Oskar Blues is in Longmont, and Golden has this little outfit called Coors. 
The breweries: Great Divide, Crooked Stave, Wynkoop, TRVE Brewing, Black Sky Brewery, Denver Beer Co., Renegade Brewing Co., Our Mutual Friend
The bars: Colorado Plus Brew Pub, Falling Rock, Euclid Hall, Historians Ale House, Highland Tap & Burger
 2. San Diego, CA
You have consumed beer from San Diego. You absolutely, definitely have.
The breweries: Stone, Ballast Point, AleSmith, Green Flash, Alpine, Coronado, Pizza Port, Lost Abbey, Karl Strauss, Bagby, Mike Hess, Modern Times, Societe, way too many more to name
The bars: Hamilton’s Tavern, Blind Lady Ale House, Tiger!Tiger!, The Brew Project, Barrel Republic, Toronado, Draft, O’Brien’s Pub, Encinitas Ale Hous
 1. Portland, OR
Movie theaters, arcades, putt putt courses, strip clubs, concerts, museums, tattoo parlors, optometrists’ offices, art galleries, and record shops. What do they all have in common? Those aren’t just great places to stage adult movies -- they’re all places where you’re likely to drink beer in Portland.
More than 70 breweries call the city-proper home (not including the sprawling suburbs), which places Portland as the city with the biggest volume of beer out there. Widmer Brothers -- who were on the cutting edge of craft beer when "craft beer" wasn’t even a phrase -- got their start here, laying the groundwork for some of the best brewers in the country to do their thing. And now, Portland’s ground zero for some of the best brewing in the country, from Breakside -- purveyors of this year’s GABF-winning IPA -- to the barrel-aged innovation of Cascade and Upright, the legendary Hair of the Dog, the weirdos at Gigantic, and newer guys like the great Ecliptic and Ex Novo, which is the city’s first nonprofit brewery.
And lest you think it’s all craft and snobbery, the city’s also credited with revitalizing Pabst for the younger crowd. Depending on your opinion of skinny jeans, you might have Portland to thank for keeping you hydrated and out of poverty. So while the city has its fair share of beer snobs (“supporters of native Oregon beer,” they call themselves), there’s really something for everybody in the City of Roses. 
Add to that some of the best beer bars in the country, an endless parade of fests (ranging from the enormous Oregon Brewers Fest to the Fruit Beer Fest, Cheers to Belgian Beers, and Firkin Fest), bartenders leading the charge for beer/cocktail hybridization, and a brewing community that's more "love (and collaborate with) thy neighbor" than competitive, and you don’t just have a great beer city. You have the best damned beer city in the country.
The breweries: Breakside Brewery, Hair of the Dog, Gigantic, Cascade, Hopworks, Upright, Laurelwood, Widmer Brothers
The bars: Horse Brass Pub, Bailey’s Taproom, APEX, Imperial Bottle Shop, Saraveza, Belmont Station

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Breweries Around Our Area

 Business partners Scott Schultz (a former brewer at Founders) and Vincent Lambert (finance manager at the Kent County Land Bank Authority) are seeking special land use approval from the city Planning Commission on May 14 to open a two-story brewery in the old DeKorne Furniture storefront at 1504 Plainfield Ave. NE. Plans for the building include construction of a microbrewery and restaurant with a banquet hall, outdoor seating and live entertainment. The partners are finalizing funding, leasing and other details for the brewery project and hope to begin construction this summer.
 Other new craft brewery projects under development include Harmony Hall, New Holland Brewing and Grey Line Brewing Co.( Nate Walser). All are to open in G.R. this year.
 Local homebrewer's Dave Petroelje and Gary Evans are also working on opening their breweries in G.R. and Allendale respectively. While in Wyoming, Rommie Bailey is moving forward with Kitzingen Brewing Co.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Holland To Use Only Michigan Ingredients

 With glasses raised, craft beer aficionados from around the state chanted in unison at a New Holland Brewing event Friday, March 3, that announced the brewery will soon be brewing its bevy of specialty beers at its Eighth Street location with nothing but Michigan ingredients.
The hops, barley, yeast... all of it, Michigan made.
“It’s always been a huge commitment for us. Made in Michigan is so important to us,” said Joel Petersen, vice president of marketing at New Holland. “We’ve always liked to use Michigan ingredients when we could but never have been able to say we would only use Michigan ingredients.”
The brewing company hopes to accomplish its goal of Michigan-only ingredients by 2016, as it continues to develop partnerships with farmers, producers and craft beer experts from around Michigan, a state New Holland officials said they are lucky to be a part of because of its unique combination of land prime for agriculture and a booming market for craft beer.
“I’d say you would have a really rough time finding that in other states. Hops, especially, can only be grown in certain regions,” Petersen said. “We feel partly like we hit the lottery being in Michigan. We feel blessed to live in this region with this access.” ..morehollandsentinel

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oskar Blues To Purchase Perrin Brewing

  Oskar Blues has agreed to purchase Michigan’s Perrin Brewing Company, a smaller craft operation founded in 2011. The pickup may be the first in a series of investments for Oskar Blues, a top-25 craft brewery.
 The acquisition is backed by investments from Fireman Capital Partners and former West Side Distributing owner, Keith Klopcic, according to Oskar Blues’ founder, Dale Katechis. He said the transaction is expected to close within the next 60 days.
 Katechis said a deal between the two companies closed in early March; while he would not elaborate, sources familiar with the transaction have described the investment as a “special purpose fund,” and a vehicle for acquiring more craft brands.
 Oskar Blues made 149,000 barrels in 2014 and had revenues of $43 million. The brand is currently sold in 42 states and Washington D.C.
  Oskar Blues brewed a batch of beer with the company last fall and discussions about a possible acquisition began moving forward.
“The idea of hyper local is becoming more and more relevant to the consumer and obviously affecting the entire industry’s business models,” said Katechis. “We want to continue to be aggressive and strong and in our minds, this is our way of having one more card that we could play and it is real and genuine.” ...more Brewbond

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pigeon Hill Expanding

 Muskegon-based Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. opened less than a year ago and has agreed to purchase a 9,270-square-foot-facility in Muskegon, at 441 W. Western Ave., which is across the street from its taproom, Grand Rapids Business Journal posted on March 3.
 The project will end up costing Pigeon Hill about $1 million, with financing help from a bank.
 Pigeon Hill Brewing co-founder and CEO Joel Kamp said the brewery wasn’t actively seeking a production facility, but was contacted by the owner of the building, represented by Signature Associates. The facility will house a 20-barrel brewhouse with two fermenters to start — either 60- or 90-barrels each — and a brite tank. A barrel is 31 gallons. Brewing will stagger between several of the brewery’s mainstay beers, such as Shifting Sands IPA, Walter Blonde Ale and Renegade White Double IPA.
 The brewery will also purchase a canning line to help extend the brewery’s reach.  The brewery in the company’s taproom can sufficiently meet guest demand there. “This expansion is mostly for distribution,” Kamp said. “This will also us to get into canning and further into the market at tap and off-premise retail accounts.”
 Prior to being approached about the new location, Kamp said Pigeon Hill Brewing did expect to expand production in another year or two. Now, the company expects to have the brewery site operating by the end of the year. Kamp said the brewery's initial opening was delayed by a variety of approvals and build-out issues, but many of the issues at the new building have are already been completed.
 Pigeon Hill’s goal is to brew 5,000 barrels annually within the next four years.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Craft Brewing Program To Begin At GRCC

by  Grand Rapids Community College is  looking forward to creating a certificate program in craft brewing. Fiona Hert, dean of GRCC's School of Workforce Development, said the college worked with regional brewers, such as Founders and Perrin, to design the program, which is expected to take students three semesters to complete.
"We have a lot of excitement and support from our area employers in the brewing industry, not only here but also on the Lakeshore," she said. "So we're working with them to develop that curriculum as we speak."
The program would be housed within GRCC's Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, and is expected to launch by winter of 2016. The grant dollars will fund the costs of the program, such as equipment and space, Hert said
more mlive

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Craft Brewer's Response to Budweiser

You have to give them props. The Super Bowl was Sunday, and they already turned around a professionally done response video for HopStories.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bud's Hypocritical, Anti-Craft Beer Ad

by jimvorel -  I have set foot in the Budweiser Research Pilot Brewery. I have met the talented, kind, passionate people who work there. I’ve written about the place as objectively as I could. But as a craft beer supporter, I can’t stand by when the company airs a commercial like they did during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast.
 Never has the oh-so-popular internet adage of “SHOTS FIRED” been so applicable as it was when Anheuser unveiled a new, third-quarter Budweieser ad titled “Brewed the Hard Way.” Over the course of a minute, we learn that the brand is embracing its “macro” title and doesn’t feel at all threatened by craft brewers and their flavorful, unique products as those craft beers continue a decade-long surge in popularity and relevance. In fact, Anheuser is so non-threatened by craft beer that it saw fit to spend $9 million on a 60-second Super Bowl ad just to make sure you were aware of that fact. Because that’s what a company does when it’s definitely not being threatened. View the ad below before we continue: ad

 Okay, let’s go through it and disseminate everything we’ve learned, shall we?
Budweiser is “proudly a macro beer”
This is like that “reclaiming” of a negative word thing we’ve heard about before, yes? “Macro” being the opposite of “micro,” the term that was once applied to what are now typically referred to as craft brewers. But yeah, they’re proud to be big, because big obviously correlates to “best.” After all, McDonald’s makes the highest quality hamburgers in the world, right?

It’s not “brewed to be fussed over”
You know that the mustachioed hipster in this shot isn’t ...more


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Largest Hop Crop In 5 Years!

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A thirst for craft beer helped hop growers produce their largest crop of hops in five years.
 A new report from the Hop Growers of America also shows a 10 percent increase in acres harvested between 2013 and 2014.
 The Herald-Republic says the Yakima Valley produces about 77 percent of the nation's hops. In 2014, nearly 29,000 acres of hops were harvested in Washington state, representing about three-fourths of the country's total. In Oregon, about 5,400 acres were harvested last year, up about 12 percent from 2013. Idaho also saw a 12 percent increase in acres of hops harvested.
 The country's crop was worth about $272 million. Growers fetched an average price of $3.83 per pound, the highest since 2008.

Monday, January 26, 2015

If You Can't Beat 'em, Buy 'em!

KIRO7 - Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and other mass-produced beers, which holds a 47.2 percent share of the U.S. beer market bought Elysian Brewing in Seattle.
“For two decades, we’ve welcomed guests into our brewpubs and served them creative and impeccably crafted beers,” Joe Bisacca, Elysian ‎CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. His statement said he will continue with Elysian along with partners Dick Cantwell and David Buhler.
“After a lot of hard work, we’ve grown from one Seattle brewpub to four pub locations and a production brewery. With the support of Anheuser-Busch, we will build on past successes and share our beers with more beer lovers moving forward.”
Elysian Brewing was founded in 1995 by Cantwell Bisacca and Buhler. Elysian’s first Seattle location opened in 1996 on Capitol Hill and the company now distributes its beer in 11 states, including Washington.
“As the fastest growing brewer in Washington, their recipe is working,” Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. “Elysian’s brands are an important addition to our high-end beer portfolio, and we look forward to working together.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brewpubs Stumbling In UK

 theguardian-observer  On a Tuesday lunchtime, Whitelock’s is doing healthy business. At Leeds’s oldest pub, a mixed clientele samples the 10 real ales and tucks in to hearty pub food. While Whitelock’s was revived, pubs are still closing their doors at an alarming rate. According to the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), 1,661 closed in the first six months of last year – 31 each week. Many have become supermarket convenience stores, some have been turned into homes or restaurants and others stand empty.
 Total beer sales fell from 35.5m barrels in the first quarter of 2000 to 27m barrels in the same period last year. On-trade sales slumped by more than 10m barrels in that time, while off-trade sales rose by more than 2m barrels as supermarkets sold beer at rock-bottom prices. The smoking ban, falling real incomes and the rise of the internet also kept people away from their local. Yet many pubs are thriving under new management, and new ones – more than 800 in the first half of 2014 – continue to open.
 Britain now has more than 1,200 breweries. The total has increased 10% in each of the last two years – a number not seen since the 1940s – and more per head than any other country. Independent brewers are helping keep pubs alive by providing interesting products, and, increasingly, by buying the premises.
 The “beer tie”is an arrangement that lets the pubcos charge their tenants rent and require them to buy their beer at more than the market rate. It's difficult to make money or to try anything different. It came down to what the pubcos charged me for beer. You’re forced to buy from them and there’s no way you can compete with other pubs.  Camra’s Neil Walker says: “There is a massive imbalance between the licensee and the large pub companies. If the company is squeezing the tenant by charging higher rent or too much for their beer there isn’t much they can do. The large pub companies are really property-owning companies. They are happy to sell off their pubs if they can get better prices by selling them to Tesco or for flats.”
 At the heart of Camra’s campaign to protect pubs is a belief that they are a special kind of business. They are, the argument goes, a peculiarly British focal point for community activity and classless interaction. A Camra survey found that three-quarters of adults thought pubs were a valuable part of British life. Some say there are many more pubs crying out for transformation. They’ve seen great pubs close that shouldn’t have closed – but a lot of pubs have closed because people weren’t using them; because the offer wasn’t particularly special and people’s drinking habits are changing.
 Gone are the days when a village can support four pubs. But there will be one pub: and if it’s well run it will be the most popular pub that everybody visits.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sounds Tasty...

 USA Today  A year after outraging conservationists with a whale-meat beer, an Icelandic microbrewery is back with another outrageous marine mammal brew — this one flavored with smoked whale testicles.  For the annual month-long winter celebration of Thorri, honoring the Norse god Thor, Stedji Brewery is whipping up Hvalur 2, the sequel to last year's popular holiday libation made with the endangered fin whale.
 The International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on commercial hunting of the fin whale — the second-largest-known animal on the planet after the blue whale — but after a two-year halt, Iceland resumed hunting the species in 2013.
 Last year, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said it was "immoral and outrageous" that fin whale meat was used in the first Havalur (Whale) brew. The group called this year's offering "a load of b*lls" and "highly provocative and a cheap marketing ploy."
 "Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles, and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves," the organization said in a statement.
 The brewers see things differently. "Actually, we don't consider the fin whale to be an endangered species here in the North Atlantic," brewery co-owner Dabjartur Arilíusson told the trade journal Beverage Daily. "We have a fisheries system in Iceland with all the fish kinds that is really self-sustainable and responsible."
 Hence, whale meat again for this year's festival, which runs from mid-January to mid-February. Stedji, which opened in 2012, will brew 20,000 bottles, and one whale testicle is used in each batch.
 Now, about that new taste ...  "We work the testicle by the old traditional way," he told Beverage Daily. "We smoke it with dried sheep sh**. This method gives it a unique smoked flavor, and we also get a bit of the meaty taste in the beer."
 (Note: His brews highlight "the freshness of the Icelandic water," contain "NO extra sugar" and are "filtered and pasteurized.")
 Mark your calendar: The release date is Jan. 23. International shipping available.
 Not your cup of tea? There are other traditional Icelandic delicacies to enjoy during the month of celebrations: putrefied shark, ram's testicles, sheep's heads and blood pudding.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Careful What Beer You Drink

 Contaminated traditional beer has killed 56 people in Mozambique, health authorities in the southern African country said on Sunday. An additional 49 people were admitted to hospitals in the Chitima and Songo districts in the northeastern Tete province, and 146 more people have reported to hospitals to be examined for the poisoning, district health official Alex Albertini told Radio Mozambique.
 Those who drank the contaminated brew were attending a funeral in the region on Saturday, Albertini said.
 Pombe, a traditional Mozambican beer, is made from millet or corn flour. Authorities believe that the drink was poisoned with crocodile bile during the course of the funeral.
 Blood and traditional beer samples were being sent to the capital Maputo to be tested, said provincial health director Carle Mosse.  “We don’t have the capacity to test the samples,” she told Radio Mozambique.  Mosse told Radio Mozambique on Sunday that she expected the situation to worsen because the region did not have the necessary resources to deal with the disaster.
 Mourners who drank the beer in the morning reported no illness, while those who drank the beer in the afternoon, fell ill, authorities said. They believe the beer must have been poisoned while funeral goers were at the cemetery.
 The woman who brewed the beer is also among the dead.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kalamazoo Beer Week Starts Jan 10.

 This year marks the fifth anniversary for Kalamazoo Beer Week, an event aiming to support the local craft beer movement.  The seven-day event includes parties, tastings, games and more at a variety of venues in Kalamazoo, Mich. Attendees will get chances to meet brewers, both from local breweries like Bell’s and from national ones like New Belgium and Dogfish Head, and – of course – taste lots of beer.  more K-Zoo Beer Week 2015

Beer Is Tops In Michigan 2014!

 There is no doubt that West Michigan loves to discuss, debate and, of course, drink craft beer. After all, you don’t earn the title Beer City USA by default. In 2014, online traffic at reflected that notion while also highlighting how big of an impact the craft beer industry plays on our local economy.
 In 2014, we worked hard to uncover news and collect industry intelligence on the local craft beer industry — and readers responded. Of our 20 most-read articles on, seven of them had to do with beer or spirits in one way or another.
Here is a link to the most popular reads in 2014. MiBiz Most Read 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hop Farm Booming Along Side of Michigan's Booming Beer Industry

mlive;  When Sean Trowbridge breaks the seal on the latched door to a walk-in freezer storing bags of varying sizes, a hoppy blast slaps you in the nostrils.
 The aroma is wheaty, flowery and distinct to Top Hops Farm in Atlas Township, a commercial hops farm that's looking to grow in 2015 and build relationships with local brewers and capitalizing on the industry's growth in the state.
 "My parents and I we were kind of interested in trying to find something that would work here on the farm, as far as farming produce," he said of the 55 acres purchased a few years back by his father Mark Trowbridge, a retired engineer.
 "With the way the craft beer industry had been going, we'd already been growing crops for a couple of years and we just visited some other hop farms in Michigan to get an idea of what it's really like," said Sean.
 "We started out with a few plants next to the corn crib out here," Mark Trowbridge said. "Sean went out and bought some rhizomes off of Craigslist and put them in. They actually took off and grew quite well. I think that helped to motivate us to take the next step."
 Sean Trowbridge said he grew 10 to 15 plants on the side, eventually moving to a trial yard of around 200 "When we were really serious about looking at commercial production" and planted five and a half acres in spring 2013.
 Witnessing the craft beer industry flourish, he said, "We decided we'd commit to putting in a commercial amount of hops that would be substantial enough that the brewers could use it and that there could be a supply year-round and not just a couple brews."  ..more mlive

And Now For Something Completely Different...

There's no shortage of beer in China. In sheer volume, China produces more beer than any other country. It's even expected to overtake the US as the most valuable beer market in just a few years. The problem, according to a lot of beer aficionados, is that most of it isn't very good.
 Chinese people joke that the local lagers — stuff like Tsingtao or Snow — could easily pass for water. Some people even drink it to rehydrate after getting drunk on other alcohol. But tastes here are starting to change. That's on display at a pint-sized bar Shanghai bar owned by Jackie Zhao. He's filled the cozy, wood-paneled space with over 100 varieties of hard-to-find craft beers from around the world. It's actually more a bottle shop than a bar, and it's unlike any other I’ve seen in China. There’s no loud music and no smoking. Jackie calls it a “beer nest,” a place to taste and experience new flavors. And he takes his job as teacher very seriously... beer in China

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is Big Brother Taking Down Craft Beer?

 The takeover of a tiny Oregon brewery last week by Anheuser-Busch InBev, in some years from now may seem as a turning point.  Or maybe we won't remember it at all.  But right now, it feels like the Day the Music Died - the day when craft brewing took the inevitable step from the adolescent innocence of selfless idealism to the maturity of just another bottom-line business.
 The moment came, fittingly enough, with the posting of an Internet video showing the owners of 10 Barrel Brewing, in Bend, Ore., gleefully announcing that they had sold their 8-year-old brewery to ABI.  This was not the first small brewery to be gobbled up by the international conglomerate. ABI purchased Goose Island Brewery in 2011, and Blue Point Brewing Co. last February.
 While there was some passing protest about those sales among the breweries' fans, it hardly matched the outrage sparked by the 10 Barrel purchase. On Facebook and Twitter, the owners were called turncoats who'd "sold out" to the "Great Beer Satan." ...  more ... even more