Friday, January 30, 2009

More Exciting Than A Barrel of Dragons

Wow huge news to share all the way around - two big announcements from New Holland that i am happy and proud to share with you all...

First off - Dragon's Milk Named One Of Draft Magazine's Top 25 Beers of 2008

Run out and grab yourself a copy of the latest issue of Draft. There's some great pictures of the beers, packaging etc in there. Also this is as good a place as any to give folks who are into Dragon's Milk a fun heads up, be on the look out for 12 oz bottles in bars and bottle shops this spring. There'll still be bombers, but we added 12oz to the mix as well.

Second bit of news - the latest Press Release out of New Holland HQ:

Celebrated local Chef, Matt Millar joins New Holland Brewing

(Holland, MI) New Holland Brewing Company, known for their "Art in Fermented Form", a portfolio of more than a dozen hand crafted beers and several Artisan Spirits, has announced a move dedicated to enhance their artistic approach in the kitchen as well. Chef Matt Millar has accepted the position of Executive Chef at the Holland-based brewery. Chef Millar is known for his efforts in opening and operating "The Journeyman & Rye" with co-owner and wife, Amy Cook in nearby Fennville.

His tenure at The Journeyman had a significant impact on the community, as he championed quality and celebrated the region's agricultural output by supporting local farms and producers. His food was confirmation to those that shared his philosophy and a convincing argument to those new to the discussion. Under his guidance, The Journeyman's approach to cooking seasonally while rediscovering cultural, culinary traditions, earned praise from Gourmet Magazine, Midwest Living, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press , the Los Angeles Times and countless other local publications.

Matt joins New Holland Brewing Company as Executive Chef, overseeing the company's approach to food, which primarily consists of serving the hungry customers in their 8th Street Pub. The pub boasts more than 20 taps of their fresh-brewed beer, and a wide selection of their own distilled spirits, all complemented by a menu of creative pizzas, sandwiches and salads. With Millar on board, they plan to continue the same casual-dining approach, but explore opportunities to improve, create and celebrate the bounty of local foods and soulful cooking.

"I'm tasked with bringing the artisanship and individuality present in New Holland beers into the kitchen." Matt Millar stated. "I relish the idea of working for a company which shares my passion and pride." The Brewery's equally excited as stated by President Brett VanderKamp, "Bringing in a team member of Matt's caliber is thrilling for our company and is rich with limitless potential."

I've got some pictures from an epic Journeyman beer dinner with New Holland (some folks may remember an impromptu kiss and tell speech) that i will try to post up later on. Read more!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Are we there? (Philly town)

So i really wanted to hop on this when there was talk of an all cask pub a few weeks back, it completely tied into something i'd been thinking about for a little while but i was just too darned busy to get the thoughts together and type them out.

Addressing all you know this post to be so far before i get ahead of myself: I'd be so completely down for, all about, 100% behind, and the biggest fan of an all cask pub on Philly soil.

But that's not quite what i'm getting at, i had been thinking a bit about drinking culture, about how beer works in Philly, about the lengths at which people i know go to get things that would have been utterly impossible to get their hands on years ago, and most generally: a day in the life of a bunch of sugars, water, CO2, and isomerized oils in the town of Philadelphia, PA

This whole idea came about on New Year's Day of this year at The P.O.P.E. The entire day was great. A train ride turned into getting picked up and driven to the city by friends, Monk's had Dragon's Milk on tap and i was counting my beans and my blessings to be involved in such an awesome company and business, people all over town were in high spirits and i was getting to hang with really good friends and meet some of their hilariously entertaining friends (Larry i will text you every time i am in the city, my promise is as good today as it was on 1/1/09).

The most casual of conversations pricked my ears up when it came time for latecomers to order their beers...

"What are you having?"
'The Pennichuck Espresso Stout, its delicious. Its really roasty and deep and delicious. Its hitting the spot.'

The quick description came from my dear friend and old roomate and for some reason, i was so proud of her. I don't know why, i mean she's had awesome beer and wine a lot, but it just came out so casual and on point. I looked around from my seat at a bunch of folks having a great time in the middle of the afternoon. Glasses and bottles of beer covering the entire beer color-wheel filled the place. The chalk board at this one bar, in this one neighborhood (,with this one awesome jukebox) was filled with beer from Pennichuck, Russian River, Philly Brewing Co, and a handful more.

For some reason it made me think of what i picture 'traditional' English pub culture to be/ have been like. People are focused on the beer they are going to the pub for or discovering when they get there. Granted, there is allegiance to one's own neighborhood or town pub and brewers, but in the same way that people want to know how their favorite Mild is pouring on a particular day in England, people here are taking an active interest not only in what they're drinking, but in what else they could be drinking. Sure this happens in bars all over the place, but it just seems to be on a different level to me. I think there were organic factors at play at the right times that have grown this town into more than a pedestrian, "Hey that bottle has a funny picture on it," approach to beer drinking.

It seems more rare to be in a Philly bar and have someone be taken back by all the craft beer offerings or not at least have a base level that they can approach ordering a beer with. It seems like in a lot of other towns i travel to that ordering craft beer is still like being in part of a secret club. You've got to go to designated areas where you can put your fists together to become some sort of adult beverage Voltron for the night.

People who are not followers of trends are all doing the same thing, people who are not nerds are doing things that give nerds goosebumps, and yeah i'll say it: hot girls are drinking awesome beer. We've become a city that drinks great beer and is proud of it, but we've gotten here through some pretty basic means for the most part. Its grown in the bars and the brewpubs and spread from friend to friend and group to group. Bars have to carry craft beer to keep up with their drinkers, some have gone as far to change their formats completely to eventual success and acclaim. Even the guys who shill the yellow fizz have to add faux craft beers to their spiel. 'Just because they stand over us doesn't mean we under stand them.'

So if there's a point here somewhere its that i want to get more insight into this thought of our current pub culture being like that of the classic English pubs. I know a bunch of you out there have been, so i'd love some comments. It's late and i'm in Kentucky. I wanted to do a ton of research and actually write this up as something good and entertaining with some thought behind it, but instead its almost like a 'dear diary' kind of thing. Anyhow, i'll research, you people comment, maybe i can pull it all together and write this up all proper like. Read more!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dear Blog, i love you.

Sorry i've been absent without notice lately. It has been a pretty hectic, busy, and productive week and a half or so.

Anyhow quick update from the road. I love North & South Carolina. I've had a great day meeting new bar owners and managers and revisiting those i've made friends with on past trips. It's beautiful land down here and the cities are laid back.

My pal Mundy told me to blog about something and i complete forgot what it was, so i need to solve that and post up. Also that thing i told y'all (dude, i'm in the south- i can say y'all) that i'm thinking about is still bubbling inside my head. I have about 8 hours of drive to cultivate it tomorrow on the way to Lexington, KY.

Anyhow....Aiken Brewing/Brewpub in Carolina. Delicious beer, run buy a bunch of folks with full time jobs who put their shifts in to make and serve great beer. Awesome.

Sexual Chocolate is as popular down here as it is mystical and sought after up in the northlands of Philly.

It was 60 degrees yesterday, i took a walk and was over dressed. Take that January.

I have to man the New Holland table at World Beer Fest Columbia, SC today and i have been progressively losing my voice over the past couple of days. A scratchy throat has spiralled downward into me barely being able to project at all. To top it off, i just read an article about Lost Voice and Laryngitis remedy myths and found out that the three things i was doing to cure it all actually cause more harm than good. Hootie Hoo.

Be good beer world. Catch you soon. Read more!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Read Up On Your Read Ups

A while back I had a conversation about writing styles and blog post ideas with Mr. Kolesar and it gave me a lot of perspective about the nuts and bolts of The Brew Lounge, but also about letting thoughts rattle around a bit and form themselves in your mind until you kind of have no option but to make a blog post about them.

So reader folk of mine who are still hanging on, this is the long way of me saying that i've got something cooking, but i want to think about it a bit more. So until then i am sending you to read up on your read ups. The Brew Lounge has been putting some serious word counts out there lately. I know, i know, you're all sitting at work and despite the fact that you want to be distracted, a stack of paragraphs seems like too much for your over worked mind to endure- but really you're getting a ton of info and adventure and commentary in one shot. Dive in.

I found a new blog recently that is so completely up my alley that i should be typing this in an envious green. Batches Brew is a beer, music, found things, photography blog run by homebrewer and dusty fingered collectro DJ Taza. Everything from mid-week music mixes to brewers notes and beer reviews to news updates from the beer world can be found at Batches Brew. Plus its a fine site to hop around. Take thee to Batches Brew pronto.

So here it is, Monday morning and your Google Reader is blowing up. Get after it.
Catch you folks when i've got something to say. Read more!