|Much ado about homebrew|
Internet homebrew forums last week were buzzing over the announcement that the venture capital arm of Anheuser Busch InBev has acquired Northern Brewer and its sister company Midwest Supplies, two Minnesota-based retailers that together make up the largest online marketer of beermaking supplies in the country. The announcement closely followed news that AB InBev had finalized its $100 billion acquisition of chief rival SABMiller. The global conglomerate’s combined portfolio will now account for more than a quarter of all the world’s beer sales.
While a few posters put positive spins on the Northern Brewer/Midwest Supplies acquisition by ZX Ventures, the majority of comments were decidedly negative. “AB can’t make good beer so they buy every avenue to corner and control the market,” one poster commented. “This news is a bit concerning for the little guys as InBev likely has a plan to expand their presence in the market,” wrote another.
That some members of the homebrewing community are viewing AB InBev’s foray into the supply side of their hobby as suspicious is understandable. In a New Beer Friday post last January I noted that many craft beer enthusiasts have perennially viewed the mega corporate breweries as enemies hellbent on stemming or destroying the craft beer resurgence. I also presented reasons as to what makes this a plausible point of view.
In view of AB InBev’s blatant mocking of craft beer drinkers in Super Bowl commercials over the past two years, perhaps the global behemoth’s latest move can simply be regarded as nothing more than a hypocritical instance of an if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them mentality. Whether it’s hypocrisy coupled with nefarious intentions remains to be seen.
New and Returning Beer
- Brewery Vivant Verdun, $3.49/16oz - "A traditional biere de garde ("beer for keeping"), brewed in the Northern French tradition. This is the classic indigenous French beer style. Breweries dotting the Lorraine landscape would brew with rustic yeasts in the coolnes sof the hillside and enjoy a drink at the end of a day's toil. Our Verdun pays homage to the town in Northern France and keeps this brewing tradition at the center of its focus" (source).
- Founders Backwoods Bastard, $3.99/12oz - "Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate" (source).
- Arcadia Porter Rico, $1.79/12oz - "Take a trip to the lost island of Porter Rico, where the cacao and coconut live in harmony and frolic the sandy shores. Our island getaway takes the form of a dark, chocolatey beer, with a balancing sweetness, medium body, and lingering mouthfeel. Intense toasted coconut rides the trade winds for a truly exotic, yet comfortingly familiar pint" (source).
- Big Lake Dark Star, $2.69/16oz - "A breakfast style stout brewed with Kona and Sumatra coffee aged on cocoa nibs" (source).
- Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, $15.29/750ml (1 per) - "La Roja, an artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age between two and ten months. Truly an ale of distinction" (source).
- Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono, $14.39/750ml - "To catch a bit of soft radiance in each special bottle, we wait for fall colors to begin their bright and fleeting glow before brewing this wonderful ale under their autumn fire. Gentle amber malts lead smooth caramel notes, gently lapping against a shore of distant forgotten spice. A beer to contemplate and enjoy" (source).
- Short's Sticky Icky Ick, $1.99/12oz - "Sticky Icky Icky is a radiantly dank, clear copper-colored American India Pale Ale loaded with citrusy hop aromas. This light, yet full-bodied, ale seems perfectly balanced by equal parts sweet malt and fruity juicy hops. A medium bitterness lingers in the finish with a subtle earthiness" (source).
- Short's Barrel Aged Huma, $12.19/22oz (1 per) - "Bourbon Huma is our best-selling American India Pale Ale aged in bourbon barrels for up to 9 months. An initial malt sweetness is replaced with flavors of charred oak and sweet vanilla, followed by the standard Huma hop punch to the palate. This new combination creates the sensation of sipping on a sweet bourbon that finishes like a bitter hop theme park in your mouth" (source).
- Oddside Granny's Apple Pie, $2.29/12oz - "Made with vandermil cider. clear amber with minimal head, Apples, cinnamon and malt with the crust showing up on the back end. Tasted super fresh with a somewhat dry finish. Kudos to Odd Side for their tasty concoctions" (source).
- Alaskan Winter Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Traditionally malty with the warming sensation of alcohol, Olde Ales are brewed in the fall as winter warmers" (source).
- Pilsner Urquel Lunchbox, $12.59/4pack/16oz - "In this original classic Pilsner, brewed in the Czech Republic since 1292, saaz hops & soft malts roll gently over the tongue to a lingering, bitter finish. This edition of the classic beer is featured in an old school lunch box with 4 different classic looking cans" (source).
- Victory Harvest Ale, 12oz/$2.59 - "Highly aromatic and sensual, this novel pale ale delivers a fresh hop flavor like no other brew. Its secret? Fresh hops piled into our boiling kettle just hours after their harvest. With many more of their essential oils intact, these “wet” hops add glorious notes of juicy, fruit to a lightly sweet and balanced brew. Best enjoyed fresh" (source).
- Deschutes Chasing Freshies, $1.99/12oz - "Like fresh powder, it’s a seize-the-moment thing. This year we’ve chased down fresh Centennial hops from the Goschie Farms in Oregon. At harvest, we rush the hops from the vine to our kettles to ensure we capture the purest, juiciest essence of the hop flower in every beer. Enjoy the bright, bold aroma and flavor that comes but once a year" (source).
- Breckenridge Mango Mosaic, $1.99/12oz - "Mosaic hops naturally give off aromas of guava and mango, lending a unique sweetness to the hop character of this pale ale. To build upon the tropical attributes of the hops, we've added a healthy dose of mango. Mango Mosaic Pale Ale is a well-balanced montage of fruit flavors, fresh aromas, and refreshingly crisp goodness" (source).
- Dogfish Head Flesh and Blood, $2.59/12oz - "Flesh & Blood balances the resinous hoppy characteristics of an American IPA with the explosive zesty fruitiness and subtle drying tartness of citrus to deliver a highly quaffable ale that’s incredibly unique and lovely to down the whole year round" (source).
Video of the Week | Flesh & Blood IPA
Available now at Siciliano's.