Mug Clubs–What Are They? And Why Should a Brewery Have One?

Mug Clubs are programs created to reward beer-loving enthusiasts and build a loyal customer fan-base. Typically, these promotions require an entry fee, which provides members with a custom beer mug, T-shirt and exclusive club benefits. Entrants receive special offers and discounts, private event invitations and new beer announcements, and rewards like logo glassware, growlers, and other freebies. Plus, members can expand their beer palette and support a local brewer. As the owner, the benefit to you is enhanced brand loyalty, free word of mouth and positive buzz about your business, and an engaged group of customers. That sounds like a win-win for everyone.

We know Mug Clubs are relatively easy to start and manage, and deliver a substantial payback in customer loyalty. But what makes them work best? Why should you create one of your own? Check out the tips below to learn more and get started.

Give rewards, get rewarded

You can’t run a successful Mug Club without knowing what you’re going to provide. Start with a custom mug (stoneware or glass is best) stamped or tagged with a number, which will help identify the member with their mug. You can even create laminated cards with a corresponding number printed on it to keep the members and mugs straight. Next, quantify what the membership entails – maybe it’s a 20-oz. beer for the price of a 16-oz. pour, or a standing discount on merchandise. Just make sure it’s enticing enough to justify the entry fee and encourage additional signups. Also, consider creating a display to showcase Mug Club mugs. This helps promote the group without spending any additional dollars on advertising, and serves as a great marketing tool.

Easier is better

No one likes complicated and that includes your customers. Try to make the registration process as seamless as possible. Start by researching entry fees of competitors in your region and then keep your prices comparable. Your customers will want to know what’s included with the membership, so state the total fees upfront and be ready to mention the highlights, like custom glassware, growler fill discounts, and any other benefits or rewards you want to feature. To start the enrollment process, collect their name and email address, which can be used for both Mug Club communications and as a boost to your customer database.

Get them in the door

Once you have an outline of your Mug Club benefits and finalized materials ready to go, the next step is promotion. Start simple and inexpensively by using internal staff to spread the word, creating a mug display at your location, posting to social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, and tapping into your customer contact list with email marketing. If you’ve designed a Mug Club worth talking about, you can easily build a customer base who will spread the word to friends and family. Once you have them in the door, make sure you generate promotions and offers that will keep them there.

The bottom line is that for brewpubs, Mug Clubs are an inexpensive and easy way to engage with your current customers and help attract new ones. Design your mugs, create the benefits, promote the offering and watch as casual patrons become loyal fans.

11/04/2019 / by / in
Beer Food Pairing—What Foods Really Go Best with Your Favorite Craft Beer?

You have no doubt heard about wine and food pairing, but did you also know that your favorite craft beers have their own food pairs, too? That’s right, no longer do you have to settle for simple beer snacks with your brew of choice. Armed with a little knowledge, you can experience and experiment with all that beer food pairs have to offer. Why not try fresh and succulent seafood with your German pilsner or kimchi with your Indian Pale Ale?

Beer has a versatility and depth that should never be undersold. In fact, a great beer can bring out the best in a dish. It’s all about knowing which beers and cuisines go together. From rich and hearty stouts to refreshing amber ales, our guide shows you how to find the perfect food companion.

The Three C’s – Cut, Complement, Contrast

Before we take a look at perfect matches between beer and food, let’s tell you about the basic principles. They are the three C’s of food and beer pairing, otherwise known as Cut, Complement and Contrast. Quite simply, beers and foods are married together based on the effect they have on one another. Some beers may cut through the flavor of your food, producing a fresh mouthfeel and new flavors. Others complement each other perfectly.

Cut

When we refer to the cut, we are talking about the beer’s ability to cut through bold and strong flavors in food. These flavors may be created by spiciness. creaminess or fattiness. The idea is to pair these extreme and intense foods with beers that will counter the opposing flavor and take the edge off it. The result is that the beer refreshes and revives the palate with each sip. For example, pale ales are often sold in Indian restaurants as they are known to cut through spicy curry flavors.

Complement

Complement is used to describe how the beer enhances the flavors in food and creates a harmony between the two. To find beers and dishes that complement one another, look out for flavors and aromas that are similar. Robust beers will complement robust foods perfectly while hoppy and spicy beers are perfect for hot and spicy dishes. For example, a dark ale will go brilliantly with a hearty and rich meat stew.

Contrast

Contrast is used to describe when a beer reveals a new layer of complexity that food just cannnot deliver. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily expect oysters and stout to go together, but they produce some amazing flavor and mouth-feel experiences. While both have quite different flavor profiles, the rich bitterness of the stout accentuates the silky smoothness of the oysters.

Food and Beer Pairings – Simple Rules to Live By

Before we dive into our food and beer pairings, there are a few simple rules that will help you to get the most from your pairing adventures.

  • Don’t be scared to experiment. With so many different foods and beers available, you never know which amazing combinations you might stumble upon.
  • Follow your taste buds. Your palate is always your best guide.
  • If at first you don’t succeed with a food pairing, try another!

Your A-Z of Beer and Food Pairings

American Amber Ale

American Amber Ale gets its name from its golden to amber color. It has a medium roasted flavor.

Pair it with: Grilled meats, medium cheddar and pound cake.

American Amber Lager

This highly drinkable and widely available craft beer style is medium-bodied and has a caramel-like malt character.

Pair it with: Grilled meats and vegetables, white cheddar and fruit desserts.

American Barley Wine

Barley wines deliver a toffee or caramel aroma with a malt character. They can also be fruity.

Pair it with: Beef cheek, strong blue cheeses and rich desserts.

American Black Ale

Well known for its dark body, caramel malt and dark roasted flavors, this beer is also known as black IPA.

Pair it with: Grilled shrimp, blue cheeses and chocolate truffles.

American Brett

American Brett beers have a very unique flavor. Expect goaty, leathery, horsey and fruity characters with this one.

Pair it with: Roasted game, farmhouse cheeses and fruit tarts.

American Brown Ale

American Brown Ale delivers a caramel-like, chocolate-like and roasted malt character.

Pair it with: Grilled meats and vegetables, aged cheeses and pear or apple fritters.

American Cream Ale

This mild, pale and light-bodied ale is more of a lager than an ale and is a refreshing treat on a hot day.

Pair it with: Salads, light shellfish, Monteray Jack and lemon custard tarts.

American Imperial Porter

This Imperial Porter is definitively American and delivers a medium caramel and cocoa sweetness.

Pair it with: Chicken mole enchiladas, smoked cheeses and blondie brownies.

American Imperial Red Ale

American Imperial Red Ale has a medium hop bitterness, aroma and flavor and offers a solid malt profile.

Pair it with: Corned beef hash, mozzarella and toffee pudding.

American Imperial Stout

American Imperial Stout is the strongest in body and alcohol of all stouts. It’s extremely rich flavor and sweet malt character makes it the perfect match for robust flavors.

Pair it with: Foie gras, aged cheeses and chocolate fudge cake.

American IPA

American IPA delivers a fresh, floral and citrus-like character. It’s the top-selling craft beer style in stores and supermarkets around the world and for good reason.

Pair it with: Spicy tuna dishes, blue cheeses and fruity rice puddings.

American Lager

American Lager delivers a crisp, malt and hop character while the highly carbonated body offers a clean and refreshing taste.

Pair it with: Pho noodles, soft ripe cheeses and kettle corn.

American Pale Ale

American Pale Ale may have taken inspiration from English Pale Ale, but it is certainly no copycat. Where it’s English counterpart has earthy and herbal characteristics, American Pale Ale is pine and citrus-like.

Pair it with: Grilled and roasted meats, medium cheddar and apple pie.

American Sour

American Sour with its acidic and organic acids may be an acquired taste, it’s definitely worth a try if you haven’t experienced it before.

Pair it with: Lightly spiced meats, strong cheeses and fruity and creamy desserts.

American Stout

As dark as it is robust, American Stout is one of the most identifiable varieties in the world of American beer. Perfect for supping on a winter’s day.

Pair it with: Grilled lamb, sharp cheddar and coffee cake.

American-Style Wheat Wine Ale

This type of beer does not have a single grape in it as its name might suggest. It’s a full-bodied beer made with 50 percent wheat malt and delivers a candy and bready flavor.

Pair it with: Smoked trout, asiago and peach desserts.

American Wheat

When it comes to approachable beers, few are more so than American Wheat. Their versatility allows them to be paired with a number of food options.

Pair it with: Salads, seafood, cheeses and fruit desserts.

Baltic-Style Porter

Baltic-Style Porter delivers a smooth, cold-lagered and cold-fermented character and a strong alcohol profile.

Pair it with: Prime rib, aged gouda and s’mores desserts.

Barrel-Aged Beer

A barrel-aged beer can refer to any beer, lager, ale or hybrid beer that has spent time ageing in a wooden barrel. These beers tend to retain their woody characters and can also take on the flavors of spirits that have also inhabited the barrel.

Pair it with: Grilled lean meats, smoked cheese and chocolate cheesecake.

Belgian-Style Blonde Ale

This easy-drinking beer has a pleasing hop bitterness and a spicy and fruity character. It is medium in sweetness.

Pair it with: Sweet and sour chicken, brie and angel food cake.

Belgian-Style Dubbel

Belgian-Style Dubbel is known for its caramel and cocoa flavors and aromas and has a malty sweetness.

Pair it with: Apple-smoked sausages and cheeses, milk chocolate desserts.

Belgian-Style Flanders

Belgian-Style Flanders varieties can range from cherry-like to malty and deliver a very complex taste.

Pair it with: Beef stew, Mimolette cheese and pumpkin pie.

Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic

Also known as framboise, kriek, peche and cassis, Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic takes on the flavor and color of the fruit used during the brewing process.

Pair it with: Grilled prawns, soft cheeses and chocolate cake.

Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale

This fruity and complex beer often sits at the higher end of the ABV scale, but it is still very approachable to many different palates.

Pair it with: Beer battered fried shrimp, triple creme cheeses and baklava.

Belgian-Style Lambic/Gueze

These beers feature high levels of fruity esters and can range from sour to sweet.

Pair it with: Mussels, mascarpone and rich chocolate cake.

Biere de Garde

Biere de Garde translates as beer for keeping and it is a style that is becoming increasingly popular. It has a toasted malt aroma and slight malty-sweet flavor.

Pair it with: Roasted lamb and mint, ripe cheeses and pecan pie.

Blonde Ale

Blonde Ale is one of the most approachable of all beer styles and is a very easy-to-drink beer. These beers often have fruit, honey and spices added.

Pair it with: Spaghetti and meatballs, pepper jack cheese and sugar cookies.

California Common

Brewed with lager yeast, California Common has a noticeable caramel-like and toasted malt character.

Pair it with: Pork loin, feta cheese and bread pudding.

Chocolate Beer

Chocolate beers are robust, rich and of course, feature high chocolate-like intensity. Perfect for sweet tooths and beer connoisseurs alike.

Pair it with: Venison mole, aged cheeses and raspberry torte.

Coffee Beer

Beer and coffee make a perfect and perhaps unlikely combination. More and more craft breweries across America are embracing this concoction and you can now find many varieties readily available.

Pair it with: Pork tenderloin, semi-hard cheeses and vanilla ice cream.

Contemporary Gose

The Contemporary Gose comes in a wide variety of aromas and flavors including spice, floral, fruity and herbal. They deliver a sharp and refreshing sourness.

Pair it with: Watermelon salad, queso fresco and lemon mousse.

English-Style Bitter

English-Style Bitter is well known for its lower-alcohol and sessionable style. Hop bitterness is medium and there is a low residual sweetness.

Pair it with: Roasted chicken, firm English cheeses and oatmeal raisin cookies.

English-Style Brown Ale

This is one of the most iconic of all beer styles and features a toasty, robust and chocolate-like character. While it is almost a meal in a glass on its own, it goes with a number of foods very well.

Pair it with: Roasted steak or pork, aged gouda and pear fritters.

English-Style Brown Porter

English-Style Brown Porter delivers a black malt character and a medium malt sweetness.

Pair it with: Roasted or grilled meats, gruyere and chocolate peanut butter cookies.

English-Style Mild

Caramel and malt form a large part of the aroma and flavor profile of English-Style Mild. Hop bitterness is very low and liquorice tones may also be present.

Pair it with: Mushrooms and wild game, mild cheddar and dark fruit tarts.

English-Style IPA

Strong, bitter and refreshing, English-Style IPA has a fruity character that differs widely from the American version.

Pair it with: Fettuccine Alfredo, aged cheddars and ginger spice cake.

English-Style Oatmeal Stout

Oatmeal Stout is creamy, smooth and has a rich body. It should be caramel and chocolate-like, but never bitter.

Pair it with: Chicken in mole sauce, aged cheddar and pumpkin cheesecake.

English-Style Old Ale

English-Style Old Ale can range from copper-red to dark in color and has a sweet and very rich, wine-like character.

Pair it with: Roast beef and lamb, double Gloucester and spiced plum tarts.

English-Style Pale Ale (ESB)

ESB stands for “extra special bitter” and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you choose this brew. It has a medium to high hop bitterness and a fruity aroma and flavor.

Pair it with: Roast chicken, English cheeses and maple syrup bread pudding.

English-Style Sweet Stout (Milk Stout)

Also referred to as milk stout and cream stout, English-Style Sweet Stout is black in color and has a chocolate or caramel flavor profile.

Pair it with: Spicy BBQ meats, buttery cheddar and chocolate ice cream.

European-Style Export

This style of lager is all about creating the perfect balance and you’ll experience a medium hop character and low malt sweetness when you choose these varieties.

Pair it with: Grilled steak, soft cheeses and bread pudding.

Fruit and Field Beer

Fruit Beer, as its name suggests, is made with fruit extracts. It’s closely-linked cousin, the Field Beer expands on this idea by using herbs and vegetables.

Pair it with: Salads, creamy cheeses and vanilla ice cream.

German-Style Bock

Traditional German Bock is high in malt sweetness and a nut-like malt character. Bock means “goat” in German!

Pair it with: Grilled ribeye, swiss cheese and chocolate.

German-Style Altbier

German-Style Altbier delivers a beautiful balance of malt and hop flavors and can also feature peppery and floral hop aromas.

Pair it with: Grilled salmon, Emmental and apple pie.

German-Style Doppelbock

Doppel means double in German. The German-Style Doppelbock is stronger and bigger than other bock beers and is very food-friendly.

Pair it with: Pork or ham, strong cheeses and German chocolate cake.

German-Style Dunkel

German-Style Dunkel is a very dark beer (dunkel means dark in German) and offers a balanced flavor of caramel, bread crust and chocolate.

Pair it with: Sausages, Munster cheese and ginger beer cake.

German-Style Dunkelweizen

German-Style Dunkelweizen delivers a chocolate-like character and sweet maltiness. It can also feature bubblegum, banana and clove esters thanks to the type of yeast used during the brewing process.

Pair it with: Roast chicken, gouda and banana cream pie.

German-Style Hefeweizen

This is one of the most recognizable of all beer styles thanks to its distinctive yeast and wheat malt characteristics. Refreshing, crisp and eye-catching, it is little wonder this beer style has been kept alive for centuries.

Pair it with: Seafood, soft cheese and key lime pie.

German-Style Maibock

This hop-centric bock beer has a lightly toasted and bready malt character. It is also paler in color than most bock beers.

Pair it with: Ham, swiss cheese and white chocolate cheesecake.

German-Style Helles

This is a real beer for beer lovers and delivers a pleasant malt sweetness and floral aroma and flavors.

Pair it with: Samosas, Colby cheese and baklava.

German-Style Kolsch

Kolsch is a beer hybrid that is light, refreshing and perfect for hot and lazy summer days. In addition to their thirst-quenching capabilities, Kolsch varieties are fun for pairing with beer.

Pair it with: Bratwurst, nutty cheeses and apricot cake.

German-Style Marzen/Oktoberfest

This is a beer that is the perfect balance of malt and hop bitterness. It has a biscuit-like or bread aroma and flavor and is very popular at Oktoberfest.

Pair it with: Kielbasa sausage, jalapeno cheese and coconut cake.

German-Style Pilsner

Pilsner is possibly the most iconic beer in modern times. Light in color, it has a very short finish and is an exquisitely balanced lager.

Pair it with: Shellfish, cheddar and shortbread cookies.

German-Style Schwarzbier

Also known as black lagers, schwarzbiers are dark and dry with a roasted malt flavor.

Pair it with: Mushroom strudel, muster-style cheese and fruit tarts.

German-Style Weizenbock

If you like German-Style Bock, you might want to give its cousin the Weizenbock a try. With flavors like bready malt, plum, raisin and grape, this is a great partner for food.

Pair it with: Chicken and dumplings, manchego and banana bread.

Herb & Spice Beer

A herb and spice beer can be any lager or beer that is made using roots, flowers, seeds, fruits or vegetables. Look out for winter holiday varieties with lots of spices.

Pair it with: Grilled meats and fish, aged cheeses and ginger cake.

Honey Beer

Lagers and ales can be made with honey and they are an absolute delight when they are! Overall, the taste of honey should be subtle and not overpowering.

Pair it with: Bruschetta, ricotta and lemon gelato.

Imperial India Pale Ale

If you love American craft beers, then you will absolutely love Imperial India Pale Ale. While a stronger version of American IPA, Imperial delivers a stronger hoppy flavor and bitterness. Even better, there are plenty of variations to try.

Pair it with: Miso salmon, rich cheeses and carrot cake.

Irish-Style Dry Stout

Dry stouts have a dry-roasted character and a coffee aroma and flavor. Hop bitterness is medium to high.

Pair it with: Seafood, Irish cheddar and chocolate desserts.

Irish-Style Red Beer

Known for its low bitterness and unique malty taste, Irish-Style Red Beer is one that all American craft beer lovers will enjoy. It’s also usually low in alcohol.

Pair it with: Roasted vegetables, cheddar and poached pears.

New England IPA

New England IPA embraces hop aroma and flavor without being overpowering with bitterness. Many varieties are bursting with tropical juicy flavors.

Pair it with: Hawaiian pork tenderloin, blue goats cheese and creme brulee.

Pumpkin Beer

Nothing quite says fall like pumpkins and a good quality craft beer. Many American breweries have done a great job of combining the two and there are some interesting varieties available to go with your meal or snacks.

Pair it with: Roasted turkey, camembert and coffee ice cream.

Robust Porter

With a more bitter and malty flavor than brown porters, Robust Porter also delivers a cocoa and caramel-like character. You’ll find many breweries that have experimented with this variety of beers.

Pair it with: Roasted and grilled meats, gruyere and peanut butter cookies.

Rye Beer

Rye Beer has a spicy or pumpernickel character thanks to the addition of rye during the brewing process. It has flavors of chocolate, caramel or cocoa and a medium malt sweetness.

Pair it with: Jerk chicken, Wensleydale and savory bread pudding.

Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

With its overwhelmingly malty character and rich and sweet malt aroma and flavor, it’s easy to see why Scotch Ale is gaining in popularity. Look out for smoked varieties.

Pair it with: Grilled game meats, strong cheeses and creamy desserts with fruit.

Scottish-Style Ale

Scottish-Style Ale is strong in flavor and aroma and has a caramel-like character.

Pair it with: Meat and game, pungent cheeses and creamy desserts.

Smoke Beer

Smoke Beer is made with malt that has been kilned over an open flame. This creates a dense smoky flavor and aroma.

Pair it with: Grilled vegetables, parmesan and gingerbread cookies.

Smoke Porter

The base for a Smoke Porter is a Robust Porter. The smokey flavor and aroma is created by the wood-smoked malt and different woods can be used in this process creating different flavors.

Pair it with: Grilled sausage, strong cheddar and s’mores.

Vienna-Style Lager

Vienna Lager ranges in color from copper to reddish-brown and has a slight malt sweetness and malty aroma.

Pair it with: Grilled meats, mild cheese and almond biscotti.

10/10/2019 / by / in
All Your Need to Know About Cannabis and Hemp Infused Beer

Imagine meeting up with your friends for a beer and selecting your beverage based on the effect it will have on your body and mind rather than the style or taste. Now, take this further and imagine selecting a beer based on whether it makes you calmer, happier or more energetic. This could be the future, thanks to more and more brewers experimenting with cannabis and hemp in their beer styles. Could marijuana really be the future for beer?

Cannabis and hemp beer is experiencing an all-time high (pun intended) in the beer community right now, so we thought we would introduce you to the concept, dispel a few myths and give you some reasons to seek out this unique variety. As we write, cannabis, hemp, and marijuana beers are flooding the market. But what are they like, how do they taste and more importantly, how do they make you feel? In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on cannabis and hemp-infused beers and give you some of your recommendations of legal brews to try.

What is Cannabis and Hemp Infused Beer?

There are several products on the market that contain cannabis or hemp derivatives. To get a better idea of the different varieties out there, let’s break them down one by one. There are more and more varieties hitting the shelves and being made available online, so it should be easy to find one you like after a little experimentation.

CBD-Infused Beer

CBD-infused beer is an alcohol-free beer that has been brewed using cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is the non-psychoactive component present in marijuana. In other words, it does not get you high. In fact, it does the complete opposite, creating a calming effect on the drinker. You might get a little bit of a body buzz, but you won’t experience any effect on your cognitive function.

THC-Infused Beer

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol to give it its full name, is the psychoactive component in marijuana that produces the high. Due to the current federal law, it is illegal to add THC to any drink containing alcohol.

Hemp-Infused Beer

Hemp beer is brewed using terpenes, the aromatic compounds that are found in both hops and cannabis. These beers contain the aromas and flavors found in marijuana, but not the CBD or THC.

So, why brew cannabis or hemp infused beer? What’s the attraction? Well, there are plenty of reasons that brewers are doing it – novelty factor, an alternative way to consume cannabis for non-smokers, self-medication and the challenge of adding something brand new that pushes the boundaries and gets people talking. No matter what the reason, the decriminalization, and legalization of cannabis for both recreational and medical use in various countries around the world has opened the market up for new brewing opportunities. What’s more, cannabis and hemp are close cousins to hops, so lend themselves naturally to the brewing process.

Does Cannabis Beer Get You High?

That’s the question on everybody’s lips and the answer is, well, it depends. If the cannabis beer you are drinking contains THC, it has the potential to get you high. If not, the only buzz you’ll get is from the alcohol.

What Does Cannabis and Hemp Beer Taste Like?

As with all beers, the taste of cannabis beers will differ from brewery to brewery, but most will have an almost savory, dry flavor that is less sweet than traditional beers. As for hemp beers, some people describe them of smelling like “bong water”, but tasting sweet and hoppy.

5 Cannabis-Infused and Hemp-Infused Beers to Try

Two Flowers IPA – CBD-Infused Beer

Brewed by the Coalition Brewing Company, Two Flowers IPA is infused with CBD and delivers the flavor of a west coast IPA. The result is a crisp, light, refreshing and bitter taste with a medium hoppy aroma. And the effects? Well, reviewers have described it as being similar as having a few beers while sitting in a hot tub. Others have used the words “naturally calming” and “elevating” when describing Two Flowers.

Grainwave Belgian-Style White Ale – De-alcoholized Cannabis Beer

This Belgian-style white ale has been infused with THC, and so contains no alcohol. However, it still delivers a medium-bodied and refreshing taste with notes of coriander and blood orange.

Hi-Fi Hops – IPA-Inspired Cannabis Beer

If you want a new spin to your normal IPA. try a Hi-Fi Hops cannabis beer. This sparkling beverage might be zero alcohol, zero carbs, and zero calories, but it comes back with THC extracted from the finest, sun-grown cannabis. It’s a refreshing no-alcoholic alternative that is sure to be a talking point.

Hop Chronic – THC-Infused India Pale Ale

Hop Chronic provides a feel-good alternative for people who don’t want to smoke or vape. The brewers. Flying Dog Brewery describes it as a low-alcohol beer with strong hop characteristics.

Bubba Kush Root Beer – THC-Infused Root Beer

Okay, so it might not be a beer exactly, but THC-infused root beer is well worth a try. Sip it on its own or try it poured over ice cream to create the ultimate root beer float.

So, Could Cannabis Beer Be the Future?

The great thing about most cannabis-infused beers is that they are alcohol-free. That potentially means a clearer head the next day and none of the other hangover effects you can expect with normal beers. They also contain fewer calories than traditional beers. Oh, and there is the social aspect. You wouldn’t consider toasting a bride and groom at a wedding with a joint or vape pen, but you can do that with a de-alcoholized beer containing THC.

While cannabis-infused beers may not be a threat to traditional beers just yet, there may be some health and social benefits to considering “weed beer” over an alcoholic beverage. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens across the industry in the next few months. We will, of course, keep you posted on the latest news relating to cannabis-infused and hemp-infused beers, so stay tuned.

10/10/2019 / by / in
Niche Beers — Gluten Free, Sours, German Lagers, and More.

Variety is one of the best part growing craft beer scene, but with so much variety, many brewers are now focusing on very niche beers to set themselves apart from the rest.

In that last several years, the production of gluten-free beer has been on the rise and the gluten-free market overall is expected to grow by more than 10% per year through 2019. That’s a huge number, considering less than 1% of the population has celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder which makes it difficult for the body to digest gluten. So what about the one-third of Americans who remain? They’re part of the growth, too. Advantageous breweries like Omission Brewing Co. spotted the gluten-free market as a rising trend and also capitalized on the 311,000,000 people who abstain from gluten for lifestyle health reasons by crafting their own beers with the same taste as a classic lager, but without the gluten.

Omission was the first craft beer brand in the United States to focus exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, specially crafted to remove gluten. They believed that everyone should be able to partake in enjoying a well-made beer, regardless of dietary or health restrictions. They identified their niche, worked hard to bring it to life, and created quite a name for themselves in the process. Just check out their website for proof. Omission has an entire section dedicated to the hashtag Omoment, and users are actively sharing their photos and tweets to showcase the impact the brew has had on their lives. That’s given the folks at Omission the opportunity to capitalize on their unique product offering, engage their customer base, and utilize real users to spread their message for them.

Now, we understand that gluten-free beer isn’t for every beer enthusiast or brewer (that’s why it’s a niche market). Lets take a look at other niche beers and brewers.

Blue Owl Brewing in Austin, Texas opened in 2015 and dedicated itself to the art of sour-mashing, a technique that puts a unique spin on popular beer styles like Pilsners, pale ales, stouts, and IPAs. Not long after they opened the doors, Austin saw a leap in new small and independent breweries. However, thanks to founder Jeff Young’s foresight and ingenuity, Blue Owl Brewing had already distinguished itself from the local competition.

Another solid example of a niche beer comes from Longmont, Colorado and the team at Wibby Brewing. Located just down the road from Left Hand Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues, formative opponents in their own right, Wibby unveiled a menu of beers that only included German-style lagers with an American twist. It paid off. They surpassed their goals for barrels produced in their first year and now have a passionate fan base of lager enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers alike.

With niche beers, the possibilities are endless, and you’re in the position to have different experience with each one individual.

Find new niche beers on BeerMaps.com–start your search today!

09/27/2019 / by / in
Breweries That Rock at Branding Their Beer

By covering everything from unique label art to special events or contests, small and independent brewers are kicking things up a notch. So, which brands are leading the pack? Check out the list below to see who has what it takes to be heard above the noise.

When it comes to marketing and branding in the world of craft brewing, it’s hard to overemphasize its importance. Take this stat from the Brewers Association, for example: From 2015 to 2016, the number of operating U.S. breweries grew 16.6 percent, and small and independent breweries accounted for 99 percent of the operating breweries in the U.S.

Essentially, that means a boom in business is creating more competition and forcing brewery owners to step up their game and find ways to stand out from the crowd. By covering everything from unique label art to special events or contests, small and independent brewers are kicking things up a notch. So, which brands are leading the pack? Check out the list below to see who has what it takes to be heard above the noise.


Ballast Point

Straight out of San Diego, California comes Ballast Point, a brewery perhaps best known for its IPAs and fishing-themed label art. It makes sense given their philosophy of doing what they love and making what they love to drink. And, since so many love fishing almost as much as brewing, their labels serve as a reminder to always do what makes you happy.

That’s genius in and of itself, but they didn’t stop there. A local San Diego artist named Paul Elder realized he and some of the Ballast Point founding members had a similar interest in fishing, and the former had an incredible artistic talent, too. His sketches became paintings, and paintings became labels. To this day, Paul Elder creates all of the fish illustrations and nautical scenes that have come to be synonymous with the Ballast Point brand. Combining local talent with a local brewery? That’s a match made in beer label heaven.

The Land-Grant Brewing Company

Next up is Ohio’s Land-Grant Brewing Company, an incredibly popular brewery born from the minds of four like-minded friends and one basset hound. This crew does it all – sustainability efforts, community service initiatives, Euchre leagues, rotating selection of food by local food trucks and more. Their can art is cool, too. Even better, Land-Grant does an exceptional job at staying true to their roots while opening themselves up to new opportunities.

By offering four core beers (always available in the taproom), they have the flexibility to try new things without losing their most ardent fans. They’ve launched seasonal releases, limited releases, Space-Grant, Sea-Grant, Sun-Grant, Supporter Series, and Collaboration Beers, all of which enable them to declare who they are and what they stand for without sacrificing growth and opportunity. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Uinta

We’re heading back out west now to feature Uinta Brewing, a quirky and adventurous establishment founded in 1993 in Utah. Visit their website and you’ll see the adventure theme everywhere you look – it’s part of everything they do. And, as any marketer worth his weight will tell you, knowing who you are and what you believe is step one to achieving any level of success in the business world. Luckily for Uinta Brewing, it seems they can go ahead and cross that off the list.
Not too long ago, Uinta underwent a major makeover, keeping its “Earth, wind, and beer” tagline while removing most everything else. Their logo, compass bottle and packaging all saw major changes, but the outcome was a defined beer brand that hits the mark. From the website design and photography to typography and visual identity, this group took a long hard look at themselves and fully declared who they are. They make you want to step out and try something new, if only for the sake of the adventure. That’s something we can raise a glass to.

Pipeworks Brewing

There’s a lot to love about Pipeworks Brewing. Since opening in 2012, this Chicago based craft brewery has seen tremendous growth. That’s thanks in most part to quality brewing, a varied offering, and team of passionate individuals. You get the vibe of the brand immediately after visiting their homepage. Instead of using typical top page navigation like, “Our Beers” or “Staff,” Pipeworks infuses some personality and unique copy and voice attributes with the labels, “Beerz” and “Squad.” It’s a simple content decision that sets the tone for the site and brand.

They’ve also received significant attention and admiration for their can art. Oftentimes, they’ll use artist Jeff Kuhnie to put his magic to the labels, and his work speaks for itself. Even when the art isn’t his, they make sure to credit the illustrator on each label. Again, that’s an easy add to a label and something that highlights their passion and commitment for quality craftsmanship. It builds brand loyalty and creates a positive buzz around the brand, and costs them little in time or management.

Tröegs Brewing Company

We’re rounding out the list of top brewery brands with Hershey, Pennsylvania Tröegs Brewing Company. Founded by brothers Chris and John Trogner, this brewery has a little bit of everything. Like Land-Grant, Tröegs doesn’t stop at brewing quality beers. They host trivia nights, participate in non-profit events, attend festivals, schedule release parties and more. By taking some time to look past the walls of their taproom, they’re able to extend their reach and connect with new and current customers alike. They also have an innovative annual event that helped put them on the map.

The Art of Tröegs contest encourages artists (both local and out-of-town) to “take a piece of Tröegs” – like a label, bottle cap, etc. – and use it to create a piece of art. They don’t put a parameter on art type, either, so paintings, sculptures, collages and more all count. They display the winning work in their Art of Tröegs gallery at their Hershey, PA brewery, host an opening party to help celebrate, and award the winning artist with $500 in cash. You don’t even have to use your winnings to buy Tröegs’ beer, though they would surely accept it. This creative thinking has helped them to draw attention from people who might not otherwise drink their beer, thereby extending their influence and generating more potential customers. Well done, Tröegs!

Like we said at the beginning, it’s impossible to place too much emphasis on your brewery’s brand. Very little is as important as your image and perception to customers. The good news is that you have the freedom to try as many tactics as you’d like. Once you’ve clearly defined who you are through design, copy and a logo, your vision, and creativity can take you anywhere you want to go. The brewing industry has proven time and time again that small can be mighty and ingenuity the difference maker. Put your ideas to the test, learn from your mistakes, and dream big – your brewery has the potential to be best in class. It’s just waiting for you to get it there.

09/27/2019 / by / in
Would You Drink a Shark Beer?

Shark Week on the Discovery channel and Sharkfest on National Geographic Wild, both continuing through August 2nd, have inspired shark-themed beers.  Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado has created one that’s said to be a sort of sour cherry limeade, and the can features a picture of an open-jawed shark.  Another brewery has created a beer named “Baby Shark.”  Yes, that’s the name of the indescribably annoying tune that children like to whack out on the piano.  Maybe it is appropriate that this drink is only available at the Evil Genius tasting room in Philadelphia.

 

08/29/2019 / by / in ,
Sell Your Beers With These Beer Photography Tips

Enjoying a delicious brew is more than just taste and smell. How your beer looks matters, too. This is especially true when you’re showing off your product online, where a person can’t taste or smell it. These beer photography tips will help you take better photos of your beer. Use these tips when publishing photos on social media, and your beer will look great.

06/08/2019 / by / in
Rise of Microbreweries in America

Beer is big in the United States. By the end of 2018, more than 7,000 breweries were operating across the country, with another 1,000 predicted to open in 2019. In 2017, these breweries produced a combined total of almost 200 billion barrels of beer.

This is the Age of the Microbrewery

A lot of the recent growth in the beer market has come from small, independently owned breweries, which are often known in the industry as microbreweries or craft breweries. Beer consumption in the United States is overall not increasing, but microbreweries accounted for 5 percent more of the overall beer production in 2018 compared to the year before.

What is a Microbrewery?

The Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewery is a brewing company that produces no more than 6 million barrels of beer every year. To meet the definition, the company must also be no more than 25 percent owned by a non-craft brewer. Microbreweries now account for the majority of brewery companies in the United States, as many local brewers have sprung up to create their own unique beer.

American Beer Takes on European Rivals

In the past, many of the craft beers available to buy in the United States were imported from breweries in Europe. In fact, European drinkers have for a long time looked down on American beer, which was seen as being mass-produced and low in quality. However, the tables are starting to turn. Today, consumers who look carefully at the labels in American stores will notice that there are a huge range of beers produced in U.S from which the patriotic but discerning drinker can choose.

Which States Have the Most Microbreweries?

Much of the growth in microbreweries has been taking place in California. The Golden State now has more breweries than any other state, with more than 500 brewing headquarters located here. Colorado is in second place with 252, which is impressive given the state’s comparatively small population. However, when it comes to number of breweries per capita, Oregon and Vermont are the big players. Oregon has 4.7 breweries for every 100,000 residents, which means that people living in the Beaver State have a huge variety of local brews to sample.

Which Cities Have the Most Microbreweries?

As people might predict, trendy Portland is a hot spot for microbreweries. This is a testament to the long history of craft beer in the city that every year hosts the Oregon Brewers Festival. Every year, more than 80,000 people flock to Portland to drink craft beer and learn about the history of brewing in the city, giving a boost to local microbreweries. The cities of Denver, San Diego, Seattle, and Chicago also have thriving microbrewery sectors, each with its own unique neighborhood scene.

How Do Cities Support Craft Brewers?

Some cities are keen to attract microbreweries to bring jobs and investment to the area. For example, San Diego has launched an incentive program that reduces the amount that craft brewers have to pay for the large amounts of water they use. The city has found a way to put unused sewerage capacity back into use to help breweries out.

Microbreweries Are Being Bought Up

Many of the best known “craft” beer brands, including Goose Island, Founders Brewing, and Lagunitas Brewing, no longer count as microbreweries. That is because these companies have been bought up by bigger brands. These acquisitions hold microbreweries back from taking up an even larger share of the market than the one they already hold.

Microbrewery Businesses Have a High Turnover

Although huge numbers of microbreweries have opened over the last few years, the number that have closed is also astonishingly high. In 2017, the annual number of brewery closures increased above 2017 for the first time. Part of the reason for this uptick in brewery closures was high competition. According to Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, the current market is highly competitive. “It is a competitive marketplace, and I think we will see the brewery closure number continue to rise,” he said.

The Future of Microbreweries in America

Market data clearly shows that Americans have developed a taste for craft beer. Many beer lovers are keen to support companies in their local community, while others simply want to seek out new and unusual flavors. This change in beer consumption shows no sign of slowing down, which experts predict is likely to fuel a continued increase in the launch of new microbreweries.

On the other hand, acquisitions are likely to continue to move the most successful craft brewers out of the category of microbrewery. As a result, the volume share for craft brewers may not increase much beyond its current 12 percent.

One thing is for sure: Americans have a taste for beer that is unlikely to decline any time soon. The number of new competitors entering the market is good news for consumers, who now have a much wider range of beer styles from which to choose when picking up a few bottles for a party or ordering a drink at the bar.

Search for local microbreweries on BeerMaps.com today!

06/08/2019 / by / in
How to Increase Your Brewery Check-ins and Likes

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already on the right track. To build engagement and interaction on your brewery’s social posts, you have to first have a social media presence. Seems obvious, right? More important than having multiple social profiles is knowing how to leverage each one to its fullest potential. There are a multitude of platforms out there for you to consider, but we’ll focus this article on making the most out of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Untappd, and BeerMaps. If you don’t have business profiles on those four channels, yet, that’s a great place to start. All offer benefits to you as the brewery owner, and all are incredibly user-friendly.

But once you have a presence on these social media platforms, how can you ensure your followers and fans engage with you? We’ll walk you through some tips and actionable steps you can take to increase your brewery check-ins and likes, and keep your followers coming back for more….

04/28/2019 / by / in
Brief History of Beer

As one of the oldest recipes in the world, beer plays an important part in the history of mankind. But there’s more to beer than the delightful aromas and tastes it delivers. Read on to discover a brief history of beer, its origins and evolution over time into the brews of today:

Beer Dates Back to Ancient Mesopotamia

Understanding the history requires going back to ancient times when the primitive cultures of Mesopotamia roamed the earth. Old texts provided historians with clues that beer existed in Mesopotamia, including the Sumerian Hymn to the beer goddess Ninkasi and the Epic of Gilhamesh. For instance, the 1800 B.C.-hymn is a poem and a beer recipe all in one. The hymn praises Ninkasi for crafting the beer. On the other hand, the Epic Gilhamesh references a forest-bred wild man who consumers seven jugs filled with beer. Women were also thought to be brewers during this time.

Some of the earliest remnants of beer are linked to present day Iran where archaeologists found beerstone traces that indicate the beer-making process. Research even links evidence of ancient ceramic cups to beer-making in Mesopotamia. These ceramic cups were found in Iraq that are almost 2,500 years old and showed traces of the chemicals that hint to barley–a key ingredient in beer. But some historians believe beer’s beginnings data as far back as 10,000 B.C. and attribute the role of beer’s first brewers to Mesopotamian culture. These brewers may have used ingredients, such as wild yeast and grain porridge, to craft beer. But beer would not stay in Mesopotamia for long.

The Evolution of Beer-Making Begins in Ancient Egypt

While historians believe beer’s beginnings data as far back as 10,000 B.C. and attribute the role of beer’s first brewers to Mesopotamian culture, ancient Egyptians played an important part in documenting the beer-making process. Some of the first documentation of beer dates back to 5,000 B.C. when ancient Egyptians recorded beer recipes and the process for making beer on papyrus scrolls.

Some of the first beer ingredients likely included herbs and fruits indigenous to the area, such as pomegranates and dates. However, it’s believed that some of the ingredients ancient Egyptians used in their beer brews were too harsh compared to what the ingredients of today’s best brews.

One of the primary reasons beer was a main stay in ancient Egyptian culture was that it was used for religious ceremonies. In fact, pharaohs played the role of the first brewing masters. They directed the brewing schedule and distribution to the public.

From Ancient Egypt to Mediterranean and Beyond

Beer crafting spread from Egypt across the Mediterranean into Europe and became enveloped into Northern Europe’s daily routines. Brewers had an abundance of barley crops to choose from to use as their main ingredient for crafting fine brews. Beer had also become the preferred drink of choice for Northern Europeans who lived amongst human waste-contaminated waters. During the Middle Ages, beer brewers combined various botanicals to add flavor to beer while reducing bacteria growth. This form of beer is known as gruit and it dates back to the 10th century. But during the reign of Carolingian kings, gruit became so valuable thanks to its nutrition and taste that it became a right of people of royal families. Yet, time would soon see this right extended to counts. Gruit would fall out of style in the 12th century and remerge again in the 15th century as a popular choice that is reminiscent of English Ales today.

In fact, modern beers owe much of its recipes and processes to medieval beer when hops took over from malted barley, spices and herbs as the main ingredient for the fermentation process and flavoring techniques of beer. German monks were often credited with making hops popular and often had breweries located on-site at their monasteries. Beer brewing of this time influenced the beers of today, which include stouts and pale ales. The British army even helped spread beer to the locations it occupied and shipped ales to troops. Beer even became a commonplace in the military conquests and sparked the naming of popular beer brand Indian Pale Ale. It was only a matter of time that beer brewing would reach America when the Pilgrims would create a brewery as their first permanent structure in modern-day America. New York and Philadelphia soon became the main hubs of beer breweries that eventually produced dark variations of English ale.

From Prohibition to Tradition Today

While beer reached popular levels across the world, prohibition became the practice in the United States by the roaring Twenties up until the early 1930s. It put a damper in the production of beer as the Prohibition ban forbade all production and sales of alcoholic beverages, including beer. However, alcoholic beverages and beer were still prevalent to the tune of $60 million during that time thanks to bootleg beer and speakeasies. But this era sparked mass-produced beers consumers love today.

Beer has come a long way from its Ancient Egyptian beginnings. Now, beer lovers have several options for finding the beer the best pleases their palettes thanks to the advent of craft breweries. Like the pharaohs of Egypt, today’s brewing masters are often in charge of the development of beers. But beer lovers can find their favorite ales and preferred styles at unique breweries around the world, including a Belgian monastery to the craft breweries in local towns.

Final Thoughts

From the days of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to the modern breweries of today, beer and its uses have evolved significantly over time. What was once used in religious ceremonies and overseen by pharaohs has transformed into a beverage that decks the halls of bars and high-end breweries alike and continues to be a popular beverage today.

03/03/2019 / by / in
Breweries Near Me: How to Seek Out and Find the Best Local Breweries When Traveling

With craft breweries now located practically everywhere, beer enthusiasts often choose to try out new ones whenever they travel away from their home cities. While checking out breweries on the road can be a lot of fun, it can also be a bit difficult to find the right one to visit in an unfamiliar city. Fortunately, it isn’t too hard for beer lovers to find a great brewery, provided they know what they’re looking for and do a little bit of basic research. Here are a few of the things all craft beer enthusiasts should know to help them find the best breweries and brewpubs in new locales.

Deciding on the Kind of Place to Visit

The first step in finding the best spot in a local beer scene is knowing what to look for. Some breweries offer only beers, while others operate full kitchens where visitors can get dinner or munch on appetizers. Likewise, some breweries are quiet, subtle environments where guests can sit and have a relaxed drink, while others will be more upbeat and geared toward the night life. Another factor worth considering is whether a given brewery offers games or activities, since many enthusiasts like to have some fun while they sip their beers. Every craft brewery has its own unique character and clientele, and choosing the right one is very much a matter of personal taste. Of course, another major factor when deciding which brewery to go to is the beer selection available at each one. While most breweries will offer several different styles of beer, enthusiasts should at least check out the beers made by a brewery before deciding to go to it. Needless to say, a dedicated IPA lover won’t be able to find many of his or her favorite beers at a brewery that specializes in stouts or Belgian quads.

Best Cities to Visit for Craft Beer

Today, you can find at least one brewery or brewpub in most cities of any size. With that said, some cities are definitely better than others when it comes to finding a great local brewery. Large cities today frequently have many breweries scattered throughout them, giving visitors a chance to choose the best one for them. Some of the top craft beer cities in the United States include:

To be clear, this list is not exhaustive. In fact, there are so many craft breweries in the United States today that almost all cities have at least one. Because of this, beer enthusiasts can find great craft beer spots practically anywhere they may be traveling.

In fact, the problem for traveling beer lovers is usually locating all of the breweries and brewpubs a given city has to offer. Luckily, BeerMaps offers a convenient solution. By simply plugging in the name of a city in the BeerMaps search tool, users can quickly access a complete list and map of all the craft beer spots in that city. From there, it’s easy to go through the listings for a bit of extra information on each brewery and select the best one to visit. Using BeerMaps, craft beer lovers can narrow down their search for breweries and spend more time enjoying great beer than looking for it.

How to Spot a Great Brewery Right Away

Going to a new brewery or brewpub for the first time is always exciting, but there are a few key hints beer lovers can look for that will help them know they’ve found a spot that is just right for them. The first of these things to look for is the general atmosphere of the place. For a beer lover to have a great time at a brewery, it’s character should match his or her own reasonably well. If a person doesn’t like the feel of a place right away, he or she may want to go to another nearby brewery for a better fit.

Another thing to look for is great customer service. Whether a brewery offers only a bar or includes a complete restaurant, the waitstaff should be friendly and knowledgeable. Ideally, servers or bartenders should be able to recommend specific beers based on a visitor’s tastes and style preferences. This level of knowledge is much more important in a craft brewery context than in an ordinary bar, since first-time visitors will likely never have tried any of the beers made by that brewery before.

Finally, it’s important to look for a few critical amenities that all good breweries should have. These include large tables, more casual sitting areas with padded chairs or couches and a spacious bar area. The best breweries will also usually have outdoor seating for dining and drinking on pleasant evenings. The more comfortable the accommodations are in a particular brewery, the better the overall experience will likely be.

By deciding on the kind of place to go, using the BeerMaps search tool to do some preliminary research and knowing how to spot a great brewery right away, beer lovers can easily find great spots in cities they’ve never even visited before. Of course, a bit of a sense of adventure is also needed when trying new breweries. Even if a given city doesn’t seem to have an ideal brewery, it’s often worth taking a chance on one of the local hot spots in the interest of trying something entirely new.

02/25/2019 / by / in
5 of the Best Beer Quotes of All Time

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

“For a quart of Ale is a dish for a king.”

~ William Shakespeare

“Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world!”

~ Jack Nicholson

“Beer, if drunk in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

01/23/2019 / by / in ,
Brewing Beer in Scotland

Here is a dilemma known only to those who are fortunate enough or cursed enough to travel overseas:  What to do if you find yourself craving beer while in a country famous far and wide for….whiskey?  No doubt when you hear “whiskey” you think of Scotland (and maybe vice versa).  So, if you ask for a beer in Glasgow or Edinburgh, will you be scorned as an Ignorant Tourist?   Will the ghosts of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert Burns, and Arthur Conan Doyle descend on you in outrage?

Calm yourselves, laddies and lassies.  It turns out that beer has a long history in Scotland (as in five thousand years).  There are today over one hundred breweries, and it turns out that the land of thistles and single malt Scotch is also, nowadays, a land of microbreweries and craft beers.

You can visit some of these breweries, such as Drygate Brewing Company in Glasgow, which features a public taproom. Drygate is a 2,650-litre brewery which also has a small studio brewery to allow independent brewers to try out their new concoctions.

In the Summer 2019 issue of Scottish Life magazine, Paul Stafford recounts his visit to Drygate and describes a few of the beers he sampled.  He was quite intrigued by the very dark “mocha milk stout,” made with only one type of hop, five malts, plus vanilla and coffee.  The brewery recommends pairing this one, called “Orinoco,” with, of all things, doughnuts.

Right next door to Drygate is the gigantic Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery.  Brewing began at this location almost five hundred years ago, and the Tennent family brewery was founded in 1740, although they did not introduce lager until 1885.  Today, Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery produces 10,500,000 pints of lager weekly.  Even though lager is still more popular than craft beer, the company is starting to experiment.  Stafford tried a “Scotch ale,” which tasted like just that: ale with whiskey added.

If you’re heading for Scotland, you can locate interesting breweries on the Visit Scotland website:

https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/food-drink/breweries-craft-beer/map/

Beer Festivals.

What better way to mingle with other beer lovers and taste something new?  Here are some scheduled for this summer in Scotland, most of them one day only.

Whitecraigs Beer Festival, August 17th.  Whitecraigs Rugby Club, Newton Mearns.  (This is south of Glasgow.)

The Real Ale Festival, August 23 – 25, features “real ales, ciders, and lagers from Scottish microbreweries.”  This is the 8th year of the festival held at the

Royal Tay Yacht Club, Dundee.  However, you might want to put this on your schedule for 2020, as this year’s Saturday tickets are already sold out.  https://www.albarealalefestival.org/

The Giffnock Beer Festival, August 24, 2019, in Glasgow, also features cider and gin.  It’s run by the GHA rugby club, so you might meet some athletic types there.

Another rugby-sponsored beer event is the Hamilton Bulls Rugby Club’s

Beer Festival and Family Fun Day on August 10th.  It’s in Hamilton, which is near Glasgow, Look for Bulls Beer Fest on Facebook.

Ale Trails

The extensive railway system in the U.K. inspired the creation of itineraries for traveling around by train and visiting various breweries and craft beer pubs.  Hard to imagine such a thing taking off in the U.S., but details are given for several routes online.  While the English ones were called “Real Ale Trails,” Visit Scotland uses the term “Rail Ale Trails.”  The suggested routes are posted on the website with careful details and enticing photos. Read more: https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/food-drink/rail-ale-trails-scotland/

01/18/2019 / by / in
3 Best Cities to Visit Breweries

Opportunities abound when checking out a new city. The sights and sounds assault your senses – so much to see and do, but where to start? There are only so many tourist attractions you can take in before they all begin to look the same and the lustre wears off. After you hit up all the usual attractions, museums, and architectural marvels, there’s only one thing left to do – check out the local breweries, of course!

But unless your vacation was planned around hops and ale, where do you start? Planning a microbrewery tour on your next vacation begins with one question: what cities have the best breweries? If your trip is a bit spontaneous, it can be a bit challenging to decide which brewery to visit first, since new ones pop up every day. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, around 100 new microbreweries opened in the United States in 2010 – and that number skyrocketed to nearly 800 new microbreweries by 2017. The number of breweries overall was just shy of 4,000 in 2014 and is now hovering near 7,500.

So, how do you decide if a brewery is a must-visit? Well, there are a few prerequisites:

  • Excellent beer, of course!
  • How much fun is the tap room?
  • Do they offer tours?
  • Is it centrally located?

The following list of must-visit breweries includes two not-to-miss cities in the US, and one in a country whose name conjures images of tall frosty mugs upon mention – see if you agree…

3. Denver, Colorado

It’s no secret that Colorado is a beer state. Coors, Odell, and Oskar Blues call the state home. Just outside Denver, Fort Collins is a Colorado city obsessed with the frothy stuff. But Denver has become not just a local Coloradan’s beer destination, but one that people from around the country visit. The Great American Beer Festival has been held here since 1984. This festival is all about celebrating a great American pastime – beer drinking – and the people who make craft brewing possible. While the festival is officially held in the Colorado Convention Center, the whole city joins in the celebration with beer-themed events taking place throughout the city. And while most think of snow when they think of Colorado, Denver enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine every year, promising sunny weather for the festival and allowing many of the local breweries to sport outdoor taprooms.

Some of the best breweries to come out of Colorado include Blue Moon and Wynkoop, the latter of which was the first microbrewery in Denver. In fact, the man who started Wynkoop became the Mayor of Denver and went on the be the Governor of Colorado – bit of a weird path to take, but such are Denver’s deep roots of beerdom.

2. Seattle, Washington

If you’ve ever considered a good old-fashioned beer pilgrimage, one of your stops has to be in Seattle. This Pacific Northwest city was one of the first in the nation to begin crafting brews, probably before some self-proclaimed marketing guru ever even coined the term “craft brewed”.

Pike Brewing Company is definitely one of the first spots in the city you have to hit as soon as you arrive. In putting together your brewery itinerary, next stops will include Fremont and Georgetown. Afterwards, Holy Brewing. If you’re up for it, after that head to Optimism or Urban Family. And the list goes on. There aren’t any bad breweries in Seattle, so if you have the time, check out Perihelion, too.

Aside from breweries, Seattle is chock-full of fantastic, no-name dive bars and gastropubs. Burgers and fries take on a whole new meaning when paired with some of Seattle’s best microbrews.

And our no. 1 brewery city?

1. Bamberg, Germany

It’s definitely no secret that Germany is a country built on beer. In fact, if you know brewers or journalists with a beer section in the local paper, your conversations have most likely included Bamberg at some point. The Kellerwald is located in a Franconian forest – the setting is likened to legendary myths, but it does exist. Think moss-covered hills, chestnut and large oak trees surrounding you, complete with the best lagers in the world. When breweries in Germany look to make a dent in the craft brewing scene, their inspiration comes from Bamberg and Kellerwald.

Munich’s Oktoberfest can only hope to be what Kellerwald’s Annafest has become. These festival grounds tout beer gardens, carnival rides, and food trucks spattered throughout the Kellerwald – a true paradise of craft brewing. On a whirlwind, worldwide beer-scapade, Annafest in the Kellerwald in the pinnacle – the mark all other craft brewing regions hope to be.

In downtown Bamberg, check out breweries Greifenklau, Torchuster, Knoblach, and Holzlein. One of the only smoked beers in the world, Schlenkerla, should not be missed.

So whether you pair your beer with a pair of skis in Denver, some oysters at Pike Place Market in Seattle, or in an enchanted forest in Germany, you’re sure to make some lasting friendships – with the brewery owners, of course!

01/04/2019 / by / in
How to Taste Beer Like a Pro

Over the last few years, craft beer has dramatically grown in popularity in the United States. A huge range of local microbreweries are now offering full-flavored beers, each of which deserves to be savored like a fine wine. Here are some tips to help all beer drinkers appreciate beer like a pro.

1. Know How to Get the Perfect Pour

The ideal tasting experience begins with the perfect pour. First, select a suitable glass. If the beer does not come with any glass recommendations, a tulip glass is usually a good bet. For highly carbonated beers, angle the glass and pour the beer down the side to reduce the size of the head. For beers with low carbonation, keep the glass straight and pour the beer directly into its center to create more foam.

2. Take a Good Look

Craft beers have a wide range of appearances. While some are pale and clear, others are cloudy and have a large head. Take the time to note the distinctive character of the beer’s appearance before moving onto using the other senses.

3. Swirl to Prepare

Swirling beer around in the glass releases subtle scents and flavors. Note how the head responds to this motion. Some beers will retain their head, while for others the foam starts to break down.

4. Take a Sniff

The sense of smell plays a big role in how a beer tastes. It is important to carry out this step in an area where there are no other strong smells. As soon as the beer stops swirling, it is time to push the nose into the glass and take two short, sharp sniffs. Take one more inhale at a normal pace. Finally, take a final inhale with the mouth open. This is the best way to appreciate all the fragrances present in the beer. It is a good learning experience to try to articulate what smells are present and how strong or weak they are.

5. Take The First Sip

After the eyes and nose have taken in as much information as they can, it is time to finally take a sip of the beer. This should not be a huge gulp, but be sure to take in enough to coat the mouth. Allow the beer to come into contact with the lips, teeth, gums, and all parts of the tongue. This helps to ensure that all flavors in the beer — sweet, sour, and bitter — can be fully appreciated.

6. Swallow and Appreciate

After allowing the beer to linger in the mouth for a while, go ahead and swallow. Keep the mouth closed and exhale through the nose. For many beers, the aftertaste is as important as the tastes it creates while it is in the mouth, so be sure to sit and reflect for a while before taking the next sip.

7. Taste the Beer Again

On the second sip, it is time to focus on the weight of the beer. Some craft brews feel very heavy in the mouth, while others are much lighter and more refreshing. Reflect on how the beer compares to other beers in the same style. The way a beer feels while it is in your mouth is called the “mouthfeel” and it is an important feature for craft brewers.

8. Reflect and Record

Serious beer tasters take notes on their tasting experiences in a journal or notebook. This allows them to look back on the experiences they had with different craft beers, which means they can easily identify favorite brews or work out which beer to pair with a certain food or event. Another option is to talk over the tasting experience with a friend. This has the advantage of making beer tasters more skilled at communicating the way a beer tastes and smells. Getting a regular tasting buddy can make the art of beer appreciation more fun and enjoyable.

9. Know the Lingo

Some beer drinkers struggle to say what kinds of beers they like as they do not have the vocabulary to express the way various beers taste and feel. To overcome this problem, practice using the following terms:

  • Balanced: The various flavors in the beer blend together so that no one overpowers the others.
  • Big: Strong-tasting or with a high alcohol content.
  • Round: Balanced.
  • Opulent: A rich, balanced beer with good mouthfeel.
  • Thin: Lacking body, flavor, or complexity.
  • Lightstruck: A beer that has had too much light exposure, which makes it taste “skunky.”
  • Chalky: A dry or powdery taste.
  • Session beer: A low-alcohol beer, suitable for a session which involves drinking several beers.
  • Finish: The flavors that are left in the mouth after swallowing, also known as aftertaste.

10. Practice Makes Perfect

By following these tips carefully, regular beer drinkers can become expert beer drinkers. The most important thing is to taste a wide range of different beers. This allows drinkers to experience and learn to recognize the differences between the various craft brews on the market. The more beers a drinker tastes, the better they are likely to become at tasting beer and articulating each brew’s strengths and weaknesses.

Find local breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, and more on BeerMaps.com. Start Exploring Today!

12/13/2018 / by / in
Craft Beer Near Me–a Guide to Finding Local Breweries, Brewpubs, and Taprooms

Craft beer has become an important staple of most metro areas within the last several years. Considering the variety of breweries and styles to choose from, it can be helpful to have tools that assist in not only finding craft beer, but deciding which establishments may be best suited to your individual tastes. BeerMaps is the ultimate tool to give beer drinkers constant variety and new experiences by helping them continually locate new places to hang out and try new kinds of beer. BeerMaps is like being able to find directions instantly, but most importantly all of the destinations serve beer!

BeerMaps is also a hub for professional development for those who run businesses that serve and create craft beer. There are sections to help with running promotions and advertising while finding the right customers to bring into your venue. BeerMaps offers special tools to help create long-lasting partnerships and successful eventsin the craft beer industry.

Using Beermaps

To get started, users can go to the BeerMaps.com site and find the search box that asks you “what” kind of venue to find and “where” the user is currently located. So they can just type in the name of a city or zip code along with what type of beer place they are looking for such as a taproom, brewery, or tavern. Next, the map will display the results in the area along with all of the selected venues that match the criteria within a radius of between 5 and 50 miles. The page also displays an option for directions right on the same results page. The interface is simple to use and comparable to many other programs users are already relying on to find other kinds of destinations.

This is especially useful for traveling or planning vacations to new areas where people may not know how to find high quality beer or how to get there quickly.

Get more specific

Searches can be further refined by checking boxes on the results page for places that have a full bar, wine, patio seating, food trucks, cornhole boards, pet areas, smoking areas, and a number of options relevant to the experience at the brewery or taproom. The map results will only display those venues that match the checked boxes when using this feature. Refining the search for these specific details can become especially important in larger cities that have a number of competing venues. This allows users to only visit locations that coincide with their needs and expectations, while not wasting time or money only to find that they need to travel somewhere else.

Other features

Beermaps gives users access to a number of other beer related actions other than just finding a place on a map. Users can leave reviews of the places they visit to share information with others about their experiences. Owners of places that serve beer can also get listed on the site for free when they join and set up an account. The site provides a high level of interactivity among the local beer drinking community and a convenient gathering place for both casual drinkers, beer enthusiasts, and business owners.

Local Deals and Events

It is common for beer drinking venues to host live music performances, highlight a certain brewery, or have sales on discounted beer through promotions such as happy hour. BeerMaps assembles all of these happenings in one place under the “For Beer Lovers” heading with separate pages for both local deals and events that allow users to easily find out what is going on near them and view a schedule of upcoming promotions.

FAQs

Drinkers may come across a new variety of have certain questions about what makes craft beers different from macro brews. Beermaps features an FAQ page that attempts to answer many common questions people will have related to their beer drinking experience. Some people may not know the difference between a wheat beer, stout, and an IPA, or why the alcohol by volume amounts can vary so much in many craft beers. This is the place to find those answers.

The Beer Professional

Some beer lovers decide to turn their love for the beverage into their business as well. That is why BeerMaps.com offers a separate section for beer professionals in addition to the focus on casual drinkers.

Advertising for Breweries

As the BeerMaps platform grows and becomes to go-to application for beer enthusiasts, breweries and related businesses will want to have a presence on BeerMaps. Advertising on BeerMaps is guaranteed to be a great return on investment because the user base is already qualified in their interest in finding excellent beer and related products. BeerMaps will help with events, promotions, and creating advertising campaigns that work because they only target beer drinkers.

Get Your Brewery or Taproom on BeerMaps Today!

10/04/2018 / by / in