Craft Beer Blog: Hopslam Season,Black IPAs,Draught Kegs , Brew Masters and More
Bell’s Hopslam Season – If you are in Bell’s distribution territory, chances are you have snagged a few HopSlams. Call me old man buzz kill, but I think my Hop Slam days are over. I made sure to get the beer on trade as fresh as possible, and got batch 101001 (Bottled Jan 4, 2011) in my hands by the 8th of January. As you HopSlam fans know, the beer is labeled as 10%, but it goes down like candy (man candy tm. Craft Beer Radio). After 3-4 of them I got quite queasy and was down for the count. I didn’t shot gun them, I simply enjoyed them like I do any beer. I thought maybe it was me, so I repeated a few nights ago, with the same queasy results. Maybe I did drink them too fast, but it’s Bell’s fault for making them so tasty.
Black IPA – So many brewers have rushed a Black IPA to market. While doing so, the Brewers Association revised the awkward official name to American Style Black Ale. There has been tons of debate, which has taken on a crazy life of it’s own. Black IPA spelled out completely would be Black India Pale Ale. Having Pale and Black in the same is quite contradictory. Cascadian Dark Ale seems like a way to tie this style to the Pacific Northwest scene, and a big time marketing campaign.
All names aside, I want American Style Black Ale to be as close as possible to Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale and at the very least Deschutes Hop in the Dark. I want the Blackness to only be aesthetic, not one of the most dominating characteristics of the beer. If I want a roasty beer with noticeable hops, I’ll grab an American Porter. I want to be able to close my eyes and think I’m smelling a big dank IPA or Double IPA. I want I want I want. Anyway, I’ve tried many Black IPAs that will remain nameless that have come across as confused or confusing, and I’d like to see that change before the whole style becomes the laughing stock of the craft beer community.
Draught Kegs – Over the holidays, I had the chance to sample the New Castle Brown Ale DraughtKeg. First of all, I haven’t touched New Castle since college, although I will give it its props as a gateway to craft beer. DraughtKeg is Heineken’s proprietary 5 litre mini keg system, that magically shoots out foamy fresh beer in seconds, quickly leaving you with a full glass of beer. The first thing I noticed was how fresh the Newcy was compared to anything I’ve ever had in clear glass bottles or at a bar. It had me thinking how much craft beer could benefit from this packaging. I’m sure the DraughtKeg won’t be licensed out, but a similar technology should be invented for the small brewer in mind. Delicate beers like Ballast Point Sculpin, Dogfish 60 Minute IPA, or even one of Great Lake’s lagers would benefit from this awesome vessel.
Brew Masters – We are still waiting to hear more on the fate of Discovery’s Brew Masters starring Sam Calagione. Looking back at our numbers, we noticed a few things you might find interesting. We gain a great deal of readers during episode 1 – 3. By episode 4, new visitors slowed down and maintained to season 5. Once the show stopped airing, we went down slightly in readership. What’s my point? Everyone benefited from Dogfish being in the spotlight, even if it was only for 6 weeks. We had increased readership, liquor stores nationwide were hammered with request for DFH, creating new craft beer customers, and the beer blogging community had something to talk about. With that said, there is a void that is ready to be filled. We requested from Dogfish and Discovery their Neilson ratings with no luck. Even the lowest rated shows on cable tv still get at least a half a million viewers. If Brew Masters was hovering in the 0.5’s, that’s still a lot of people who were interested in watching a tv show about craft beer. Somebody, please start a campaign to bring back Brew Masters or for a new project that promotes craft beer on tv.
Beer Math – For the most part, craft beers are all prices the same, outside of wax dipped, corked, caged, limited release beer. I usually don’t have a problem clunking down $6-8 dollars on a 22 oz. bottle of well crafted beer, and I do so on the regs. Now, if you put 48 oz. of well crafted beer into 4-12 oz. cans and charge $12-16 dollars, you feel much different. There are a few craft cans that are wonderful, and fall into that price range. It’s hard to explain why the bomber FEELS like a better value when it’s not. Can anyone explain this, or is it just me?