This Week in Beer News: Beer Milk Shakes, Cigar City Collaborates With New Belgium, and Weed Is Better Than Beer
With the double-digit growth of craft beer, there is bound to be no shortage of beer news, at least not in the near future.
Last week, we saw a Spanish man die from chugging too much beer and Seattle brewers make a pact to drink 100-year-old brew. Although the whack factor has toned down a little bit this week, we still see lots going on in the industry with the expansion of markets and a few high-profile collaborations from Cigar City.
Let's start off with some solid news. The Brewer's Association reported on Monday that craft beer sales were up 15 percent, while volume increased to 13 percent for the first half of 2013. Last year, sales and volume increased 14 and 12 percent, respectively. The growth in the market can be felt everywhere, particularly in Florida, where New Belgium and Founder's have found new markets. In addition to that, new breweries are continually popping up in every part of the state.
Last October, Red Robin experimented with a seasonal Oktoberfest milk shake mixed with Sam Adams beer, and it turned out to be really decadent. Now, M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom has two of them on its menu: a vanilla bean ice cream with Wells Banana Bread beer or Nutella ice cream with Guinness, both topped with whipped cream. Beer as dessert? Yes, please.
New Belgium Brewing, America's third-largest production brewery, has finally made it to Florida and is exclusively being distributed by Gold Coast Beverage Distributors across Broward, Miami, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties. The company chose the Florida market instead of the upper East Coast, which further solidifies Florida's growing reputation for becoming a craft beer state.
Last year, researchers from the University of Chicago announced that they were teaming up with the Ohio's Great Lakes Brewing Co. to re-create a beer recipe found on an ancient tablet in the form of a hymn to a Sumerian goddess. Not only the recipe but they've re-created the method for making it, clay pots and all. Now the beer is ready for tasting and will be available next month.
Police say a man broke into a Clinton, Mississippi, restaurant where he poured himself a beer before escaping out the back door. Only problem was that the place was right across the street from the police station. Police apprehended Gordon Edward Jensen and charged him with commercial burglary. Mississippi is a conservative state when it comes to alcohol, so we can definitely understand if all this guy wanted was a beer.
Port Richey home brewer Rob Chalmers loves GWAR so much that he wanted to make a beer based on the band. After receiving permission from the metal band via Facebook to use its art, he set up a meeting with Cigar City President Joey Redner, members of GWAR, and himself. Thus, GWAR beer was born. GWAR-B-Q is actually the second in a line of beers based on the band and will be ready for the August festival held annually in Richmond, Virginia. Gravity Brewlab's Robert Tejon had a hand in making it too.
St. Louis company Brewhub will soon be opening a facility in Lakeland. The company plans to offer a model similar to contract brewing, where brewers use another brewery's capacity to meet demand. With the growing demand for craft beer, Cigar City's vice president, Justin Clark, will consider using it once construction is complete.
Some more news on Cigar City as it announced a collaboration brew with New Belgium. The beer itself is called De Dolle and will be a part of New Belgium's Lips of Faith series. It's brewed with Anaheim chilies, fermented with Belgian yeast, aged in Spanish cedar barrels, and clocks in at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
The 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference was held in two locations this year: Edinburgh, U.K., and Boston, with the latter concluding last Sunday. Beer writers from all over the United States and the world converged on Boston last weekend to drink beer and talk about beer, as well as the state of beer blogging. (Beer.) It turns out that only 8.9 percent of beer bloggers monetize their blogs.
According to USA Today, a giant screen blaring a pro-marijuana ad was placed just outside the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race in Indianapolis last weekend. Purchased by the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana advocacy group, the ad says that marijuana is better than beer because it has no calories, leads to no hangover, and doesn't turn you violent. Although this may be true, anyone who smokes excessive amounts of weed can tell you that the resulting headache is almost as good as a hangover. (Not that we would know that from experience. We just, ya know, hear things.)
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