Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational at Triple Crossing!

Hop Culture is a daily online lifestyle magazine for the newest generation of craft beer drinkers, and they pulled out all the stops for their Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational which took place Sunday, June 10, in Richmond VA at Triple Crossing Brewery’s Fulton Hill location.

Hop Culture asked participating breweries to do two things: make sure there was a brewery representative there to answer questions from the attendees, and to serve fresh, juicy beers. It was left up to the breweries to decide what qualified as a juicy beer. As it happened, the overwhelming majority of the beers served were hazy IPAs and fruit forward sours.

According to Hop Culture most craft brewers are first generation brewers and they come from a variety of occupations such as construction, finance, and even the military (Triple Crossing’s head brewer is  a former police officer). Because of this, these craft brewers don’t have decades of preconceptions of what a beer should be, and for that reason they’re not afraid to be creative and to experiment. This was evident in the wide variety of unusual, and unique beers at this festival.

There were 31 breweries and one meadery on hand to celebrate craft beer and creativity from AZ, VT, CT, CO, ME, NY, MD, TN, CA, OH, PA, NJ, NC, SC, and VA.  Some embraced the older, more traditional brewing methods while others preferred newer, more modern methods. Regardless of how they brewed, it was obvious none were afraid to try new ingredients, and new or exotic flavors. Here are just a few of the breweries that stood out.

Both Barreled Souls Brewing from Maine and Cellador Ales in California do 100% of their fermentation in oak barrels, which gives a unique character and a more complex flavor profile to their beer. Not many brewers use this technique today, and when they do, it’s most often used in the production of sours. However when stouts, IPAs, and other beer styles are fermented in barrels, the results can be exceptional.

Horus Aged Ales in California doesn’t ferment their beer in barrels, but they do age all their beer in variety of different wine and spirit barrels. This not only adds some character from the barrels, but also adds flavors and aromas from whatever was originally in the barrel, potentially creating a wide variety of subtle flavors and aromas. 

Schmoojee Wild Berry Pineapple Puffsicle Sour Ale- Imprint Beer

Sour ales are all the rage in some places, but many brewers have been a little hesitant to embrace these tart and sour brews. Partly for fearful of the yeasts that give rise to these flavors making their way into their other beers, and also because the extended time it takes (6 to 18 months) to ferment these brews. Of those that do go down that road, most opt to use cultivated, commercial strains of yeast such as lactobacillus or brettanomyces, while just a handful of brewers chose to use truly “wild” yeasts.

Resident Culture Brewing in North Carolina, in addition to some great IPAs and lagers, also create spontaneous “wild’ fermented ales. This involves leaving the unfermented beer, or wort, exposed to the air, usually overnight, allowing yeasts and bacteria floating around in the air to settle into the wort, before it is placed into barrels to ferment. The ultimate local ingredient, this yeast gives the beer a true local flavor, since the yeast is likely to be found nowhere else.

Southern Grist Brewing in Tennessee loves to experiment with contemporary beer styles and are best known for their constantly rotating selection of beers that utilize non-traditional ingredients and fruit forward flavor profiles.

Acai Bowl J.R.E.A.M Sour- Burley Oak Brewery

Burley Oak Brewing in Maryland also loves to experiment. Even after five years, they are still one of the smallest breweries in Maryland, and unlike nearly every craft brewery in the country they have no flagship brew. Instead, they brew a new beer every week!

New Park Brewing in Connecticut opened its doors just a little over a year ago,  and sold so much beer their opening weekend they had to close for two weeks just to restock!  They were serving Blackberry Berliner Weisse and Spectrum DIPA, and after sampling both, I am not surprised.

Juicy Brews certainly lived up to its name, Hop Culture did a fantastic job gathering some great breweries with great beer, and Triple Crossing was an awesome venue. 

This was a tremendous event, and good times were had by all who were in attendance. 

Until next time, here’s to your good health, and may your glass never run dry.

Slainte!

Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational This Weekend in RVA!

Don’t miss the seventh annual Juicy Brews Summer Craft Beer Invitational in RVA this weekend!

On Sunday, June 10th, 2018, come meet the brewers and try unlimited pours from over 30 of the best breweries in the country. There will be food, beer, music, and exclusive merchandise and glassware from designer Sam Taylor.

Purchase your ticket online and use the code VACRAFTBEER to get 15% off your ticket!

Click here to get your advance ticket before it is too late!

Beer Festivals Around the World in 2018

If you like to travel there are great places to visit all over the world with unique cultures and customs. There are often things to be seen and experienced in these places that can be found nowhere else. Experiencing local culture can broaden your horizons, open your mind to new possibilities and give you deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the world. And what better way is there than to experience a culture than during a craft beer festival.

If you’re planning to travel this year but haven’t decided where to go, I have some suggestions.

The Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular, Sydney, Australia (June 2, 2018)

Created in 2011, the Great Australian Beers SpecTAPular (GABS) is held in cities across Australia, but the festival in Sydney stands out. It features hundreds of beers and ciders from the best Australian and New Zealand craft breweries and cider producers, including nearly 180 beers and ciders made just for this event. There will be a wide variety of exceptional local foods, interactive exhibitions, food and drink educational seminars, along with exciting entertainment and activities.

With so many of Australia’s finest craft breweries releasing a brand-new beer on the same day and in the same place, this should definitely be on your must-do list.

North Sea Beer Festival, Oostende, Belgium (August 24-26, 2018)

Belgium is known for good beer. And while you may normally think of Brussels when you think of Belgian beer, the North Sea Beer Festival in Oostende Belgium is the place to sample the finest beers in Belgium. This festival takes place the last weekend in August from the 24th to the 26th and features the best of Belgian beer.

There will be over 200 different beers from more than 30 breweries, as well as a wide variety of local foods to sample. The event will take place in Leopold Park, in the heart of Oostende. If you enjoy a good Belgian style beer, this is a festival you won’t want to miss.

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland (May 25-27, 2018)

The Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival is no ordinary beer festival, it is an international event featuring both world class Scottish and international beers poured by a crew of brewers who take great pride in their work. In addition to these finely crafted brews there will be an array of Edinburgh’s finest street food vendors and an incredible set of headline DJ acts.

This year’s Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival will be held at The Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh, so if you are t planning to visit Edinburgh, and you love craft beer, good food, and live music, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got tickets for this event well in advance, because it will sell out.

Vancouver Craft Beer Week, Vancouver, Canada (May 25, thru June 3, 2018)

Established in 2010, Vancouver Craft Beer Week has grown to a week-long beer extravaganza of events that pair beers with delicious food and great music, competitions and awards celebrations, as well as showcasing rare brews and interesting imports.

The festival culminates at the fairgrounds in the Pacific National Exhibition where beer enthusiasts can sample 400 beers from over 100 breweries and enjoy timbersports (a modern version of a lumberjack challenge and with power tools and logs). The festival also includes art installations, food trucks, market stalls, brewing demonstrations, and a games area with pinball and foosball.

Irish Craft Beer Festival, Dublin, Ireland (September 6-7, 2018)

Ireland’s largest and best craft beer festival takes place Sep 6-7 this year and you won’t want to miss it. The Irish Craft Beer Festival will be held just outside of Dublin and is expected to include over 40 brewers with over 200 different Irish beers, and  a wide variety of local food venders.

You think Disney World is the happiest place on earth? This beer festival in Dublin will change your mind!

Great Japan Beer Festival, Yokohama 15th – 17th September 2018 in  Osanbashi Hall at Yokohama Port

Japan may be known for sake, but things are changing. Started in 2006, the Great Japan Beer Festival in Yokohama Japan is expecting over 9,500 participants this year. Craft beer has taken Japan by storm as craft breweries spread across the country, and this event will highlight some of the best craft beers in japan, as well as some of the finest beers from around the world.

This indoor festival consists of three sessions of three and a half hours each over a two day period, and is an all-you-care-to-drink event. Whether you are new to craft beer, or a veteran, this event is a great way to be introduced to some of the best beers of Japan.

The Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO, USA (20-22 September, 2018)

The Great American Beer Festival is a three-day event started in 1982 and has grown bigger with each passing year. The event takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver CO, and with over 800 breweries in attendance and 3,800 beers to sample, this event boasts the largest amount of beer served in a public tasting event.

The Great American Beer Festival is the largest beer festivals in America, and according to the Guinness Book of World Records there is no place on earth that has more beer on tap. Brewers from all over the country come together here to compete against each other, and to show off their finest brews. The beer is arranged geographically in the festival hall by region.

Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany (September 22, thru October 7, 2018)

Octoberfest is known world wide as the finical of beer festivals, and there is no better place than Munich to celebrate.  Six Munich breweries anticipate that over 6 million liters of beer will be consumed during this festival.

Beer and food will be sold in the tents around Munich from 10 am to 10:30 pm on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Most companies hand out beer tokens to their guests, which can then be exchanged for beer in the respective tents, but tokens can also be purchased.

Every beer lover owes it to themselves to make the pilgrimage least once in their life to experience October Fest in Germany. And there is no better place in Germany to do that than Munich.

 

 

 

 

Barleywine Fest at Mad Fox Brewing

This past weekend, Feb 24th and 25th, Mad Fox hosted its 8th Annual Barleywine Fest at their brewery in Falls Church, VA.  There were wide variety of barleywines on hand. Several were produced right there at Mad Fox, while others were there from local and regional breweries and still more from craft breweries across the country. And there was more than beer. Mad Fox Brewing has a kitchen and a full menu with lots of tasty options to choose from. I had the smoked salmon, and it was fantastic.

For those who don’t know, a barley wines is essentially an old ale style beer with a higher than usual alcohol content. While most beers are meant to be consumed within a few months of being brewed, barley wines are often aged for a number of years.  American barleywines, as with most American styles, tend to be hoppy, while English styles tend to be less bitter, and darker in color.

Most of the barleywines on hand were produced in 2017, but there were also several from 2016, 2015, 2014, and even 2013! Mad Fox Brewing’s 2013 oak aged Slobberknocker was an amazing example of an aged barleywine which had a rich and slightly hoppy flavor with a strong roasted malt character and a wonderful depth of flavor in no small part due to aging in rye whiskey barrels. However it was not to be out done by 2013 Olde Scoutters brewed by Bear Republic Brewing out of California.

Star Hill Brewery was represented by its Debut Barlywine which had a caramel malt and toffee smell and a rich malt sweetness with a hint of fruitiness, and Fairwinds Brewing’s 2017 All Hands Anniversary Ale with its sweet rich caramel notes and hop bitterness balanced with hints of fruit and citrus.

Some of the other notable barleywines present were the 2014 Old Crustacean Barleywine brewed by Rogue Brewery out of Oregon, 2014 Devil’s Milk brewed by DuClaw Brewing out of Maryland, 2015 Barleywine Ale brewed by Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewing in North Carolina, and 2016 Bigfoot brewed by Sierra Nevada out of California, and many more. Between the large selection and higher alcohol content, it would be extremely difficult to sample everything and still remember who was supposed to take you home, but the options were so good, it was also difficult not to try.

If you managed to stop by Mad Fox last weekend, you probably enjoyed yourself as much as I did. And if you missed it? Well, there’s always next year.