Lauter Tun Events

From their email...


Just a quick rundown of future events…

We have our grand opening next Saturday the 10th of December, which means we plan on having some good parties all week long!

Tonight is a homebrew club meeting/competition hosted by The Railroaders. It is free to enter, free to judge, and of course I encourage you to try The Lauter Tun beers as comparisons to the homebrew entries. The event starts at 6:00 p.m.

We have all kinds of music and beer releases in the next few weeks. This Friday we have BANJO LOCO at 8:00 p.m. This group is incredible and a must see. Two musicians (largely of rock and metal backgrounds) playing bass and 6-string banjos to songs like the Beverly Hillbillies Theme, to Metallica, to Devil Went Down to Georgia and more. It is a blast.

Saturday is still in the works but we should have a Jazz/Funk Duet or Trio starting at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday we are hosting Service Industry Night (and football), as anyone who does anything service related will get discounts. Most restaurants and bars in the area close early and we would love to stay open Sunday evenings to serve those who serve us.

Next week is the big one…

Wednesday we have The Spicy Gomez Duet a 7:00 p.m. Steve Gomez on a stick bass and Stan Harper on Sax.

Thursday we have a Velvet Rooster release party with Tallgrass Brewing Co. Velvet Rooster is a really nice Belgian Tripel and has an even cooler name. Come down at 8:00 p.m. for great Tallgrass Specials and give aways!

Friday we have a jazz/blues trio playing and are releasing a beer we have been sitting on for a little while. Boulevard Smokestack Series Harvest Wheat Dance will be on draft.

And best for last…

Saturday (Grand Opening) we will have live music from the Mark Irvin Trio and will be tapping not one, but TWO Barrel Aged Nebraska Brewing Co. Beers. Black Betty (Whisky Barrel Aged) AND Apricot Au Poivre Saison (Chardonnay Barrel Aged). We are, to my knowledge, the only bars in the area, the Midwest, the country, maybe the world, that has these beers on tap! So come down and support your local beer bar, your local brewer, and local music!

Thank you all so much for your time, and we can’t wait to see you out at The Lauter Tun soon.

San Miguel 75 Aniversario Descenso del Sella

Tipo: Lager

Alcohol: 5,4% vol. alc.

Capacidad de la botella: 33cl

Fermentación: Inferior

Fabricante: San Miguel Fabrica de Cervezas y Maltas, Barcelona, España.


Quiero dar las gracias a Esmeraldo, dueño del Bar Pineda en Burgos, por regalarme esta cerveza.

Beer Dinner at Wilderness Ridge

Lincoln, NE
December 8th, 2011
Wilderness Ridge

Beer and Cheese Club - November Edition

For our November selection, we visit beer from Canada and cheese from Italy. The beer, Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly, is a Belgian-style witbier, which Unibroue claims was the first bottle-fermented white ale crafted in North America (in 1992, if you're wondering). The cheese, Caseificio dell'Alta Langa La Tur, is a cheese made of cow, sheep, and goat's milk that the cheesemaker describes as "delicate and harmonious, fine and tasty". The cheese is produced northwestern Italy - Bosia - in a modern facility, using antibiotic-free milks, and using old world recipes.

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your November installment is likely ready for you to pick up right now. If you're not a member, the club is $99 for 4 months. This month's selection includes four bottles of Blanche de Chambly in addition to a small wheel of cheese that the three of us managed to accidentally eat all at once. Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.

Blanche de Chambly from Unibroue is a witbier with the kind of effervescence that shoots right up into your brain. Strong and spicy nose with a lighter body and finish.

La Tur - This comes from a wine region in Italy and is often paired with a bit of bubbly, or a bubbly witbier in this case. This cheese was butter soft and arrived in a paper cup inside a plastic tub. The outside was pretty near a liquid consistency, but the middle was a bit more firm. One website said the cheese was like "ice cream served from a warm scoop," and that description is perfect. The cheese had a funky, musty aroma that carried through to taste. It had a huge farmy, grassy-like flavor that I couldn't decide if I liked or didn't.

The pairing was a harmony of both, neither overpowering the other. The bright flavor of the beer cut through the earthiness of the cheese. It subdued both of the more intense flavors and let through more subtle counterparts.

Thanks again to Goose for another great offering in the club.

Blanche de Chambly - nose is light fruit, apple, lightly tart, light body, finishes chewy/tart

La Tur - Creamy up front, funky in the back, savory in the middle. Very farmy, grassy. The cheese starts off sweet, almost like an icing, and then after a couple seconds.. wait for it... an explosion of grassy yet not overwhelming funk.

The combination of the two functions as the fizziness of the beer wipes the palate clean - not really a meld in the middle, though the flavors don't clash; rather they sit together nicely, in an apple tart sort of way.

In any case, the cheese was ridiculously delicious.

This is my first time reviewing a Goose the Market beer and cheese club offering, but I’m not stranger to pairing beer and cheese. I love washing down my nachos with a lager. And the beer and cheese crocks found at pubs are fantastic too. But the Goose beer and cheese pairing is not your standard stadium or sports bar fare. Of course, the Goose’s basement bar Enoteca is not your standard bar. I can tell you that the “Red Beer Salumi Cheese” is a fun beer concoction (beer and Hoosier Mama’s Bloody Mary Mix served on ice with meat and cheese; chorizo and provolone were the offerings this time) and the steak tartare was lovely.

But the main reason for my attendance was to try the La Tur formaggio affinato with Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly. Velveeta and Budweiser this is not. The soft white cheese is at times creamy and gooey and other times slightly dry. I could taste the grass that the cows, goat, and sheep consumed. It has a nice earthy aroma. And if finished with a dry, buttery mouth feel. It was really nicely spread on a baguette.

The yeasty Blanche de Chambly ale on lees played well with the cheese. The bubbly, golden beer pops with flavors, and it is the citrus flavor in the beer that really worked well with the grassy notes of the cheese. A nice pairing to have as we head into winter, together they remind one of a bright spring day. I’ll have to remember that in February, when winter seems never ending.

To join the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market (in conjunction with Hoosier Beer Geek), check out this PDF and then either call Goose the Market at 317-924-4944 or stop in the shop at 2503 N. Delaware St.

Blue Blood Brewing Company Grand Opening!

Go celebrate the newest brewery in the state in Lincoln next week.  Here is their Facebook Event link.

Wednesday Dec. 7th 2011
500 West South Street, Suite 8

Lincoln, NE

Wishing you guys all kinds of success!!
La mezcla de 1/3 de cerveza joven y 2/3 de cerveza de 2 años en barricas de roble da como resultado la RODENBACH GRAND CRU de origen Belga con la característica que en las barricas donde se reposa fueron utilizadas para almacenar vino tinto.Esta misma de estilo "Sour Red ale/Flanders Red Ale" es una cerveza fuera de lo común,algo que mi paladar jamas había experimentado.
Cuando la servimos notamos que es de color Caoba,formo una espuma densa color beige con buena retención.En nariz se podían apreciar notas a cerezas,bayas hasta manzanas verdes como se sentiría en una sidra.Cuando tomamos el primer sorbo apreciamos una acidez equilibrada con un toque dulce que abarca todo el paladar y un sabor afrutado gracias al paso por roble,simplemente exquisita...
Agradezco a Gabriel que compartio este semejante ejemplar con nosotros..

Halago a los aburridos

En estos últimos días he leído más de un blog reproduciendo delcaraciones que denunciaban la "uniformidad" del paisaje cervecero alemán, lo cual me ha hecho recordar que hasta no hace mucho yo me que quejaba de lo mismo en el paisaje checo.

Tandlemann hablaba de Schönram, una cervecería rural en Baviera propiedad de un yanki, que se especializa en Pale Ales, Porters, etc. y unos días antes, Stan

Ummm... okay then

"We have no Herold Dark, only the Semi-Dark" said the lady behind the bar in Pifko. I was extremely flattered that she said it first in Czech (I don't think I look particularly slavic at all, more's the pity) and then I paused. The Budvar tap started doing a pick-me dance, but I was there for Herold so Herold Granat is what I got. An experience at once interesting and slightly disturbing too.

It presents itself as a foamy nitrogenated dark amber-red beer, looking for all the world like one of those god-awful creamy Oirish reds or smoothflow bitter. The aroma was along those lines too: sickly and unappetisingly cloying. I didn't look, but I'm sure the Budvar tap was making a told-you-so face at this point.

Punching through the head and taking a sip I found myself in a much happier place. The sweetness is far more piquant burnt caramel than gloopy syrup, and it finishes with a gorgeous grassy burst of Czech hops. It's still pretty heavy, but the flavours allow it to be refreshing even as it fills.

Obviously the dark stablemate is to be preferred, but this is a pretty good substitute now and again, no matter what the Budvar tap says.

Montmirà Tombatossals

MARCA: Montmirà
MODELO: Montmirà Tombatossals
ESTILO: Export Stout (5'4% ABV)

CARACTERÍSTICAS: En la Comunidad Valenciana, a unos 20 km de Castellón, está la localidad de L'Alcora, en cuyas proximidades se pueden encontrar una serie de yacimientos arqueológicos tanto íberos como romanos. Uno de los más importantes es el de "Montmirà", cuyo nombre escogieron Pedro y Vicente para bautizar a la cervecera que fundaron en el año 2009, donde elaboran ahora tres cervezas de forma regular, Tombatossals, Penyagolosa y Columbretes, y una cuarta, Font Jordana, durante un tiempo limitado.

Como soy un apasionado de las cervezas oscuras, elegí para iniciarme su Tombatossals, de tipo Stout, una cerveza de color negro, aunque algo rojiza por la periferia, opaca, con una fina cobertura de espuma amarillenta que deja un anillo en la copa. El aroma se presenta con fuerza aunque sorprende su dulzor, domina caramelo y algo de café con leche mientras que el torrefacto se mantiene al margen. Se aprecian muy suaves rastros de cacao amargo y frutos secos, para terminar con leve y un toque de picante muy bien afinado. Algo excesivo el dulzor para una cerveza de este estilo, no obstante no está mal en absoluto.

Curiosamente el dulzor del aroma no tiene su representación en el sabor, este comienza con una acidez importante, mucha presencia de malta torrefacta y café, más secundario cacao e incluso algo de humo y evoluciona con rapidez a un amargor algo seco, aunque de fondo aún persiste una mínima acidez. Al final no me ha gustado demasiado, y yo creo que se debe más que nada a esa acidez que descompensa el trago y deja un regusto algo agrio, aunque quizá algo más de cuerpo y acentuar los sabores tampoco le iría mal. En principio no me ha parecido que estuviese contaminada, de todas maneras no descarto volver a probarla por si el viaje le ha sentado mal.


Escrito por Sir Asf:

CARACTERÍSTICAS: Tras probar la Columbretes, que no llamó demasiado mi atención, dispuse la Tombatossals sin demasiada confianza. Sumando el comentario de Embracing, estaba bastante seguro de que no iba a ser ninguna maravilla de cerveza, pero por qué no comprobarlo por uno mismo.

En el vaso genera una abundante capa cremosa de espuma beix, que sin embargo no tarda en desaparecer, formando una fina membrana blanquecina. Su color es oscuro, con brillos rojizos y un cuerpo opaco. En el fondo se pueden ver los característicos sedimentos de levadura.

Despide un aroma inmediato, a chocolate, levadura y café, con lúpulo y malta torrefacta en un segundo plano. Hasta aquí no va mal la cosa. Sin embargo en el trago cobra absoluto protagonismo una nota entre amarga y ácida, muy intensa y descontrolada, que tapa el resto de matices. Se entrevén tímidos toques de café y malta tostada.

No ha sido un trago grato, y parece no estar contaminada. Me temo que no hemos acertado con estas castellonenses.


Cheap Bombers Found in Ohio

This is The Brew Kettle's Four C's.

This bomber was 2.99 at Jungle Jim's.  When I saw it on the shelf at that price, I assumed I was signing myself up for a trainwreck of a beer.  But I ventured forward, knowing that I had to prove to Matt that reasonably priced bombers did exist - and I'm glad I did.  This is a beer I would have bought at twice the price.  The "Four C's" name refers to the common Pacific Northwest hops of Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Chinook.  All 4 hops were well represented.  The Centennial hops immediately made me think of Bell's Two-Hearted.  Cascade provided a hefty grapefruit character, with Columbus backing it up through the introduction of other citrus flavors.  Chinook rounded everything out with an earthy pine flavor.  Really this was just a great example of how well these 4 hops work together.  And just to top things off for my personal tastes, there was enough of a malt backing to prevent this from being over-the-top bitter.

And even better, it was 2.99.  Next time I'm at Jungle Jim's I'm buying more of these.  It's not the best IPA I've ever had, but at roughly the equivalent of 9.50 a six-pack, it's certainly worth the money.

BRAHMA año 1997

Adnams The Bitter

MARCA: Adnams
MODELO: Adnams The Bitter
ESTILO: Bitter Ale(4'5% ABV)
PAÍS DE ORIGEN: Inglaterra

CARACTERÍSTICAS: Hace un tiempo recibí en mi casa la agradable sorpresa de una caja llena de cervezas Adnams. El detalle venía de parte de mi tío Javi, que también tiene buen gusto por la cerveza. No había oído hablar de ellas, así que puse a enfriar una de sus bitters y me la abrí en una de esas calurosas tardes veraniegas. Me resultó deliciosa. Ayer por la noche me abrí otra aquí en Madrid y la sensación volvió a repetirse.

La cervecera Adnams fue fundada en 1890 en Southwold, Suffolk (Inglaterra), por George y Ernest Adnams. A lo largo del tiempo fueron expandiendo su mercado y elaborando nuevos estilos, ganando más adelante varios premios importantes. En la etiqueta, que tiene la forma de una vela de barco, se muestra el "Southwold Jack", un caballero con una espada y un hacha.

Esta bitter luce un color ambar rojizo bastante cristalino, con una corona de espuma blanca y cremosa que se mantiene durante un tiempo y termina formando una fina capa sedosa. No tiene una carbonatación aparente, a penas hay burbujas en el caldo.

El aroma es suave, con notas herbales y malteadas, algo de caramelo y un toque cítrico. En boca la cosa mejora. El sabor es intenso y uniforme, con un equilibro de maltas y lúpulos exquisito, de nuevo un toque cítrico presente de manera más ligera, notas malteadas y un tinte final especiado. Tiene un final seco y amargo, dejando un regusto delicioso que invita a tomar otro trago.

Una delicia, estoy encantado. Ya voy buscando billetes para volver a Inglaterra y probar la cask.


Actualizado por Embracing Darkness

CARACTERÍSTICAS: Hacía ya un tiempo que Alberto y yo no coincidíamos en cervezas a reseñar debido a que nuestros suministros de cervezas habían sido muy diferentes, y si no fuese porque él tuvo el genial detalle de regalarme algunas de las botellas inglesas que habían llegado recientemente a sus manos esto no habría cambiado, al menos a corto plazo. Entre ellas estaba ésta, una Bitter cuya carta de presentación es su delicioso perfume a malta británica, con recuerdos de caramelo y toffee, estilizado por un soplo de lúpulo herbal y un suave toque de cítricos y picante, que automáticamente me transportó a los pubs londinenses, pinta de cask en mano.

Mientras la bebía pensé que, con mi pasión por las Ale británicas en su punto álgido, esta cerveza me había cogido en el momento perfecto para disfrutarla al máximo... y vaya si lo hice. La fidelidad al estilo tradicional se hace patente en cada trago, donde la malta y el caramelo predominan, aunque para ser sincero lo fundamental es esa aspereza habitual de las Pale Ale, de donde salen con fluidez intensas notas de frutos secos, pan tostado, y más leve limón y uva blanca. Mi compañero tiene un muy buen adjetivo para describirla: uniforme (por supuesto sin connotaciones negativas), y dicha uniformidad solo se ve interrumpida por un largo amargor herbal, perfectamente balanceado de manera que ni te distrae de lo que estés haciendo ni permite que te olvides de la cerveza.

Perfecta para beber de forma relajada, deseando que el vaso esté siempre lleno. Cosa que, por cierto, no sucede.



Tipo: American Pale Ale

Alcohol: 6,4% vol. alc.

Capacidad de la botella: 33cl

Fermentación: Superior

Fabricante: Birra del Borgo, Borgorose, Italia.


Quiero dar las gracias a Silvia por traerme esta cerveza de su viaje por el sur de Italia.

Stony Brook Hy-Vee Holiday Beer Tasting

When: Thu, Dec 1 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Stony Brook Hy-Vee, 14591 Stony Brook Boulevard, Omaha

From their email…


Come join us for another round of seasonal beers!  The holidays are fast approaching and you’ll need some warming beers to get you through them.  Our Hy-Vee Beer Specialists, KJ and Richard, will be pouring their seasonal favorites and Chef Dirk will be preparing a festive ham dinner that is sure to please.  Hope to see you there and Happy Holidays!

This event is $20.00 per person. There is limited room available, so we ask that you R.S.V.P. by Wed, Nov 30.

Please call us at 402.697.0811, or email us at

Collaboration Brew Day (Upstream Brewing Company)

Another collaboration brew day in the books.  Yesterday, we brewed with Upstream Brewing Company in Omaha.  We brewed a Dopplesticke, which is a traditional Düsseldorf Alt beer from Germany.  This is one of my favorite styles, in particular the one brewed by Uerige.

The brew day started like most, early in the morning and grunt work right off the bat.  Richard (the assistant brewer for Upstream Legacy) and I stirred the mash while the grain and water was added.  We filled the tun to its absolute capacity for our recipe.  I honestly do not see how one person could have done this by themselves.  I would have collapsed about halfway through.  Richard was grateful I was there to help, and I’m grateful I didn’t pass out and fall into the mash.  I’m a little sore today.

After we sparged the mash and collected the wort in the kettle, we waited a bit to add our first hop addition.  About this time we broke for lunch.  During our lunch we added the second addition, which was 13 lbs.  We left the brew house for a few minutes to finish our lunch.  A server then came up to us to ask if there should be beer spraying out everywhere.  Richard and I ran back to check the kettle…epic boil over.  The room was completely filled with steam.  You couldn’t see a foot in front of you.  Richard bravely grabbed the cold water hose and doused the boil to get it under control.

A few minutes later, after the steam had subsided, we got to see the result.  Hop residue everywhere.  Thankfully nobody got hurt.  Plus, since it was all still wet, the cleanup only took about 15 minutes.  We lost about 1.5 to 2 barrels of wort.  The hop loss didn’t seem to affect the flavor, as the cooled wort at the end tasted nice and hoppy.

Other than that, the brew day went really well.  I’m really looking forward to drinking the finished product.  It should be a great beer.  Thanks goes out to Mike, Richard, and Upstream for working us into their busy schedule.

Check out photos from the brew day on our Facebook page.

Holiday Traditions in a Glass

Holiday beers, also known as Winter Warmers, are a tradition that stretch back over two Millenia, with the ancients making highly intoxicating brews to celebrate winter festivals.

As far back as 217 BC when the Roman's celebrated Saturnalia, an Ancient Roman festival held in honour of Saturn. Beer makers have been saving their finest ingredients for these special winter occasions.

With the advent of the Catholic church, this brewmaking evolved into what many considered the main staple of the winter solstice and other holiday celebrations. When medieval monasteries from all over Europe and the Middle East would combined best their fruits, spices and vegetables to produce soul-warming styles for the occasions.

If you've never given Holiday beers a shot, your likely missing out on a big part of European and Western Asian culinary culture. Now is the best time to get out and experience them. Most Liquor stores should have a few labels in by now. But the state's best and most diverse selection is at the Bayou in downtown SLC.

We've provided a new poll to find out which basic type of winter warmer makes your tongue the the happiest.


4º Festival Internacional de la Cerveza Artesanal - Santa Fe 2011

Este fin de semana se celebró el 4º Festival Internacional de la Cerveza Artesanal  en  la ciudad de Santa Fe, y como en las ediciones anteriores y para no ser menos fue un gran éxito.

Este año por razones y eventos que confluyeron todos juntos en este fin de semana pasado casi ningún miembro de La Logia iba a poder asistir a Santa Fe, pero por suerte para mi me pude hacer un hueco el día domingo y a último momento decidí asistir a la fiesta de cierre y  ceremonia de premiación del día domingo. Por lo que alrededor de las 13 hs del Domingo 27 me fui para Retiro compre pasaje de ida a Santa Fe para llegar a las 20:15 hs (el evento comenzaba a las 21) y pasaje de vuelta a la capital a las 2:20 (no conseguí el en el de las 4:30 :D ). 

Cabe aclarar que como todos los años el evento se desarrolló en dos días: el sábado se dieron varias charlas técnicas en el Hotel Colon de Campo, de las que me comentaron estuvieron muy interesantes y este año contamos con la presencia especial de Gordon Strong,  Presidente del BJCP, Jurado Grand Master V, Cervecero del año 2008, 2009 y 2010, una persona muy amena y predispuesta a compartir charlas cerveceras.
El sábado a la noche se llevó celebro la fiesta de camaradería y confraternización en Paladar Negro Boteco Lounge en el club de regatas, un lugar muy lindo y como siempre se comió muy rico y se toma una cantidad considerable de cerveza :)

Como dije antes, el 27 a la noche en la antigua Estación Belgrano de trenes se dio la Fiesta de cierre y entrega de premios, no es novedad para los santafesino, pero que calor y que humedad!!, clima ideal para tomar cerveza bien fresca y a raudales.
Como todos ya saben la fiesta es abierta al público en general y tuvo muy buena convocatoria, mucha gente y de todas las edades se dio lugar en la fiesta para  disfrutar de la cerveza, la gastronomía y la buena música.  

En cuanto  a las birras, voy a ser honesto, probé desde cervezas regulares hasta cervezas muy buenas, pero lo más lindo y los más importante en realidad es que compartí con los amigos de la comunidad cervecera una noche excelente, con muy buena onda y camaradería.

No tengo la lista de todos los ganadores, pero les queremos mandar un abrazo y nuestra felicitación al Toti (Brewmaster de BBSC), quien obtuvo la medalla de plata (2º puesto) en el estilo Oktobertfest, y al Tio Limongi quien obtuvo la Medalla de Oro (1º puesto) también en el estilo Oktobertfest, felicitaciones a los dos, y al resto de los concursantes en este y los otros dos estilos, los cuales eran Irish Red Ale y la Dorada Pampeana. 
Una novedad este año fue la elección del cervecero del año para cuya primera premiación salió galardonado Andi Muzzeti de
Cerveza Finn, quienes también obtuvieron una Medalla de Plata (2do Puesto) en el estilo Dorada Pampeana y Medalla de bronce (3er Puesto) en el estilo Oktoberfest. 
Finalmente a las 3 de la mañana de Lunes me tome el colectivo que me llevaba de regreso para capital, regrese contento de saber que se había dado con éxito el 4º Festival Internacional de la Cerveza, nuestras FELICITACIONES!! al presidente, a la comisión y a toda la gente que trabajo duro para llegar a tan buen puerto con este evento. 

 Lista completa de los ganadores en los tres estilos
Estilo Dorada Pampeana, posiciones:
1.Bruno ferrari
2.Andrés Muzetti
3.artín Ortega
4.Sergio Picciani
5.Marcelo Braga

Estilo Irish Red Ale, posiciones:
1.Favio Brollo
2.Emiliano Paez
3.Javier Gaggino
4.Juan Disavino
5.Sergio Mazzón

Estilo Oktoberfest, posiciones:
1.Tío Limongi
2.Ariel Golia
3.Andrés Muzetti
4.Alfredo Beltramo


Logia Cervecera

Registration is open for the next Beer Quest

This fills up fast so contact Jim ASAP if you are interested.

A London Pride, McEwan’s and Guinness all sit down on the bar…

Schedule and registration are now available on our Beer Quest page (see link below)

We are only accepting 3 styles in this comp – so put away your spices and experimental thinking caps and pull out your true-to-style guidelines.  Styles this time:
8B – Special/Best/Premium bitter (English Pale Ale)
9E – Strong Scotch Ale (up to 1.072 OG)
13A – Dry Stout

Please read the registration carefully – check the dates with your calendar, pick your style, select your ingredients and send in your entry!

Hopefully this doesn’t interfere with your Black Monday shopping!


What Next? The Indianapolis Beer Market In Adolescence

If there's any proof of how far better beer has come in Indianapolis, you only need to look at the tap handles at popular establishments around town. Where there once was a better beer wasteland now lies fertile ground where new breweries add their wares to the mix on what seems like an almost monthly basis.

But as the market grows, so does the competition. Whereas your local brewery may once have owned three taps at the bar, entries from newer breweries mean that the market for tap handle real estate has grown more competitive, even allowing some bars to move from beyond a local/regional tap list to one that focuses on beer from breweries within a few mile radius.

Somewhere, it seems like someone loses out. Be it the long running macro that no longer has an audience, the established craft brand that suddenly has local competition, or the new brewery that can't find tap space in suddenly crowded market, there must be a saturation point.

Are we there yet?

"New breweries haven't had an affect on our sales," said Sun King's Clay Robinson. "We are a proven seller in the market and have a really solid fan base, so our tap count has not just remained steady, it continues to climb as more people discover Sun King and craft beer. I would assume that new breweries are getting tap handles from national brands that are also available in bottles, because it really doesn't matter when it comes to mass produced domestics whether you have it in bottles, cans or on draft."

Then perhaps it's the regional craft brands that have taken a hit? Brands from surrounding states once had almost free reign over tap handles in better beer establishments. Are distributors seeing the hit on sales?

"An increase in local craft sales very much benefits out of state sales," said Bob Mack of the local/national beer distributor World Class Beverages. "Especially in our situation in Indiana where we are still well under the national average in terms of craft as a percentage of overall beer sales."

So what about a brand like Bell's, who had a very strong tap presence and very little local competition until recently?

"Bell's is, in fact, still up," said Mack. "They do have fewer taps in some places as competition is squeezing some of those taps out, but the velocity (rate of sale) on existing taps is getting higher as more and more people ask for craft beer. So we are seeing greater sales on a single tap than we used to see. Also, there are more taps overall in the market than there were a year or two ago, so there are more to go around."

But do World Class' salespeople find it harder to push their bigger brands to bars that are just hopping on the craft wagon?

"Maybe, but there are many more opportunities today versus a year ago or further back, so business for Bell's is still very good - even better than it is for some local brands," said Mack. "Of course for many World Class customers, Bell's is closer to home than many Indiana brewers, so it is still local to many consumers."

"Overall, we're up dramatically on regional, non-Indiana brewery sales. So I don't see the growth of local brands being a problem for them. There are case by case situations where they lose lines to local brands, but overall their number of lines is not reduced. They are picking up lines in other places where there was no craft beer previously and the lines that are out there are selling faster than before. In my opinion, the regional and local brands can complement each other."

So perhaps the real story is the continued and growing success for everyone involved with better beer? Not quite. As is the trend nationally, imports are losing market share.

"I suppose that is going to happen given the large number of American brand selections now versus what it used to be," said Mack. "Additionally, a lot of good American craft brewers are making excellent examples of Dubbels, Tripels, Oktoberfest, and other traditional foreign styles. We are somewhat cushioned in sales of brands like Spaten but retailers are looking first for new placements of craft brands and not so much for imports."

So imports are down, but what's it like for our newest breweries? Fountain Square Brewing recently opened and has secured a fair amount of taps in their short existence, including a very strong presence in their backyard of Fountain Square.

"Getting into bars and restaurants has been fairly easy," said Fountain Square's Skip DuVall. "We have a sales person taking samples out and people have received our beer well. We sometimes need to wait until a tap opens, but our success rate is pretty good."

Sun King's Robinson echos the sentiment. "What I found from the early days of Sun King was that the slowest seller is the beer that loses its spot, which can be frustrating because a new brewery has to wait for it to sell out before changing over," he said.

"It seems that we have replaced some semi-mass produced beers like Stella," said DuVall. "Our porter has taken off and I think that is because of the timing of the seasons changing."

How does a new brewery set itself apart in a market that's not only crowded with local breweries, but also repetitive styles?

"We have been talking a lot about what we want to do with our beer and who we are," said DuVall. "I am leaning on towards doing a series of Imperial beers on a seasonal basis - IPA, Stout or even an Imperial Lager of some sort."

One thing that may be forgotten by those of us in the middle of the craft beer movement is that while these styles seem repetitive to us, to new drinkers, they're a whole new world. "You've got to remember that a lot of folks are coming from a background where beer is only one style," said Sun King Head Brewer Dave Colt.

If you look at it from the other side of the argument - that we've got an overabundance of the same styles - Colt also has a theory.

"For many of the folks behind new brewery efforts, they look at what's available locally and say, 'Well everyone's doing a porter, so we've got to do a porter.' Or 'IPAs seem to be really popular locally, so we should do an IPA,'" he said.

Regardless of where you stand on the style issue, the market for everyone continues to grow.

"We have less brands this year than we did last year (WCB lost both Dogfish Head and Avery recently, while Flat 12 has been added to their lineup) and we are still going to finish the year up at least 20% in sales over last year," said Mack. "I dare say that some very mature markets, like Portland, might be tough for outside brands because so much of the beer sold there is local – as much as 30%," said Mack. "But with Indiana brewed beers still being around 1% or less of overall Indiana beer consumption, I think we have a long ways to go before hitting that sort of ceiling."

So if demand is up, tap numbers are up, variety is up, and the number of breweries is up, what challenges await?

"A challenge that I see for brewers based on the rising tide of demand is their ability to increase capacity," said Mack. "It is most definitely not cheap to build and increase capacity and it often requires brewers to take out loans based on the idea that growth will continue. With more brewers coming into the market, growth may not continue for everyone as they plan it to, making it tough for them to meet financial demands."

From the distribution standpoint, it's brewery inventory and production that provides the biggest challenge.

"Small brewers are much more subject to out of stocks and inventory fluctuations than larger brewers, so we continue to have a somewhat frightening out of stock rate on products that people order a lot of, but that's the nature of the craft industry," said Mack. "Of course, some brewers are solving that problem for us and for themselves by pulling out of states to better manage their inventory levels, but it's unfortunate that it has to come to that."

While we've lost certain well-respected brands in Indiana before, the lack of availability of drinkers' favorite beers doesn't seem to be hurting the overall business. The better beer audience seeks variety. Indianapolis' better beer drinkers can rest assured that if they lose a regional favorite, there's a newer and more local brewery waiting to fill the void.

Worth a thousand

De La Senne makes me want to be a better photographer. I mean, look at that label (you might have to squint and use your imagination a bit). It's wonderful. It should be on a billboard instead of a 33cl bottle on top of my beer fridge. I usually have my cynicism turned up to 11 when it comes to beer branding and image, but De La Senne rarely fails to turn my marketing-bullshit-proof wall to mush.

Sigh. Anyway, you probably want to know something about Brussels Calling, the beer behind the label. It's a typical sessionable De La Senne job, at 5% ABV, orangey in both colour and flavour. Unfortunately the yeast character interferes with the fresh fruit that I reckon is what the beer is supposed to be based around. While the aroma still has an enticing citric zip, the taste is mostly just giving me gritty yeast. I should have poured more carefully.

It's not you, De La Senne, it's me.


Celtika 8'8º

MARCA: Celtika
MODELO: Celtika 8'8º
ESTILO: Blonde (8'8% ABV)

CARACTERÍSTICAS: No es raro, cuando encontramos una cerveza acompañada por complementos muy llamativos como puede ser una botella metálica o una copa de forma peculiar, poner en entredicho la calidad del producto. Por experiencia personal he de decir que la mayoría de las veces estaremos en lo cierto, aunque hay que ser consciente de que en ocasiones podemos estar perdiéndonos una buena cerveza, como me ha pasado con esta cerveza de Brasserie de Bretagne, por la que no he mostrado interés durante un par de años debido a su original copa y su imagen diabólica, y que si no fuese porque venía dentro de un pack con otras 5 botellas de la Bretaña francesa probablemente habría seguido ignorándola durante un tiempo más.

Servida en copa tiene un aspecto muy vivo, con fugaces burbujas microscópicas ascendiendo en columna por el líquido cobrizo hasta una capa de espuma capaz de persistir largo rato a pesar del ancho diámetro de la copa. El aroma lo protagonizan malta dulce y toneladas de frutas tropicales, adornadas por intenso lúpulo floral y cítrico, leve miel, y un llamativo toque de especias entre las que casi me atrevería a jurar que se encuentra cilantro, resultando una mezcla deliciosa. Mi principal temor con esta cerveza era el control de sus 8'8º de alcohol pero da la impresión de que esta tarea les ha resultado sencilla puesto que por ahora, aparte de un levísimo picante, no hay rastro de estos.

En el sabor cambia el rumbo y busca un carácter algo más agresivo; se opone la fuerza de la malta, el caramelo y algo de alcohol al frescor del lúpulo floral a las notas de piña, naranja y albaricoque, que consiguen aligeran el trago con mucho acierto. No obstante, a pesar de ser relativamente fácil de beber despide cada sorbo con un amargor cargado de especias que deja una calidez enólica, dándole así la contundencia necesaria para satisfacer a la boca y el estómago por igual. Cerveza verdaderamente buena, casi da pena cuando la calidad se esconde tras el marketing.


Val-Dieu Blonde

Tipo: Cerveza de abadía

Alcohol: 6%vol. alc.

Capacidad de la botella: 33cl

Fermentación: Superior

Fabricante: Brasserie de L'Abbaye du Val-Dieu, Aubel, Bélgica.