Small and independent craft brewers enjoyed continued growth in the first half of 2014, according to new mid-year data released by the Brewers Association (BA).
From January through the end of June 2014, approximately 10.6 million barrels of beer were sold by craft brewers, up from 9.0 million barrels over the first half of 2013. (Note: The 18 percent growth rate is based on the updated craft brewer definition1 and derived from comparable barrel total from the first half of 2013. Mid-year figures first reported in 2013 were based on the previous craft brewer definition).
“The sustained double-digit growth of the craft category shows the solidity of demand for fuller flavored beer in a variety of styles from small and independent American producers,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Craft brewers are providing world-class, innovative products that continue to excite beer lovers and energize the industry.”
1 An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers
There’s nothing like a good craft beer festival to have a blast with friends as you sample some of the country’s finest brews! It’s a great way to discover and explore types of beer you may not be bold enough to try in a bar. Especially if you have to commit to a full pint.
My favorite fests include music, fresh creative food (no fast food, please!) and comfortable places to gather and hangout while you take it all in. There’s been some great ones already this year (PA Flavor, Hibrewnation, Meeting of the Malts) and it’s looking like the rest of 2014 has many more great options to continue the fun. Here are some of my recommendations.
- Beer Camp Across America
August 2 ~ Noon to 5pm
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is putting on a mega-fest throughout the U.S. and will be stopping in Philadelphia, PA at Penn Treaty Park. At this location, 80 breweries converge for a massive sampling event. Live music and food trucks will be present.
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- Gettysburg Brew Fest
August 23 ~ 4:30pm to 8pm
This fest is being held at the Gettysburg Seminary which overlooks the historic civil war battlefields. 35 craft brewers to include both beer and cider.
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- Luau Brew Fest
August 23 ~ 6pm to 10pm
Tons of craft brews to sample, Costume contests, Hawaiian feast, live band… hosted by Stoudt’s. Need I say more?
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August 31 ~ 11am to 6pm
York, PA’s food truck festival just got even sweeter! So many amazing high-quality food trucks are participating this time that they had to move the annual event to Penn Park. And for the first time, there’s a bier garten with 12 brewers serving up cold sudsy beverages.
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- Balderdash Brewfest
September 6 ~ Noon to 5pm
The fourth annual homebrewer’s festival held at Historic Dills Tavern in Dillsburg, PA. Festival goers get to vote on their favorite brews as they sample each variety. Bring a lawn chair and hangout on the tavern grounds while listening to local musicians. This isn’t a huge event which actually makes it quite nice and casual. No pushing, shoving or long lines to deal with.
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- 17th Annual Capital City Invitational Beer Festival
September 6 ~ 2pm to 5pm (Session 1) or 6pm-9pm (Session 2)
In total Oktoberfest-style, this festival offers live bands, german food and beer sampling in the ticket price. Held at Appalachian Brewing Co.’s Harrisburg, PA location.
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- Stoudt’s Oktoberfest
Starting September 27 ~ Gates open at Noon
The Stoudt family carries on their heritage in the Gemutlichkeit Bier Garden with beer, German food and German music. Continues to occur every Sunday in October.
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- Autos & Ales
November 7 ~ 6pm to 10pm
So many things to do while sampling from the area’s best breweries at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. Live bands, food for purchase, Best Wings competition to taste and vote on, check out some of the cars in the museum, raffles, giveaways. Always a good time!
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These are just a few festivals going on throughout the remainder of the year. To see all of the craft beer fests happening in Pennsylvania, checkout this list. Which festivals do you frequent and recommend?
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Leena is hiding the bump, but it’s there!
So the news has broken… I’m pregnant! With twins! I think the first thing I really thought about when planning to get pregnant was, “How in the world am I going to go a whole 9 months without craft beer?” Well, after lots of research and planning… I don’t have to.
That’s right. You can still love craft beer and be pregnant. You just have to be smart about it.
Alcohol is one of those things that everyone has a different opinion about when it comes to pregnancy. Some swear even one drop will hurt your baby. Some say you can freely enjoy a drink a day and not worry. I’ve decided to take an approach somewhere in the middle. I feel safe enjoying a low ABV beverage now and again, but I’m definitely not drinking more than one and definitely not doing it everyday.
So here are some things I have already enjoyed…
- Founder’s Rubaeus – It’s 5.7% ABV and 10oz pour made it the perfect selection for an afternoon at Barcade.
- Pizza Boy’s Together Weather – At a mere 2.8% ABV I was able to enjoy a whole glass of it!
I haven’t stopped trying beer either really. I just only have a sip of something. If the restaurant or brewery we’re at has something particularly awesome on, my husband will order it, and I’ll try a sip. It’s not the same as enjoying an entire pint, but it’s better than nothing!
Even over the weekend, we were at a family gathering and someone had brought over a case of Dale’s Pale Ale (which has been my go-to pool beer for several years). I knew I shouldn’t indulge in an entire can, but just a sip of my hubby’s was all I needed to make me feel like it really was the middle of summer.
And really, craft beer isn’t about getting drunk or drinking lots anyway. It’s all about flavor! So for the next several months, I am content with tastes of delicious beer here and there.
There are two things that we definitely love: craft beer and cheese. Pairing cheese was once reserved for the wine world but with a little guidance it’s easier than ever to put together some mouthgasms. Check out this helpful video from CraftBeer.com to get you started.
IPA day is upon us and we’re gearing up to celebrate with an epic party at The Sturges Speakeasy! We’re planning on having lots of IPAs on tap, half price drafts from 5-7 and more. Be sure to RSVP to our Facebook event for the latest updates.
This weekend we recommend you check out the craft beer pairing dinner at The Black Gryphon in Elizabethtown PA. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and feature our friends at Pierce Brewing Co. Check out the menu below:
Here’s the rundown:
While it may be the middle of summer and a boozy, heavier beer may not be at the forefront of your mind, there’s no reason for us not to explore barleywines.
Believe it or not, barleywines aren’t wine, and the majority of them that you’ll come across neither look, smell or taste like wine. The only similarity to its namesake is that they can be aged in a cellar much like a fine wine. In this edition of my Craft Beer 101 series we’ll dive into a brief history of where they came from, what they even are and a few tasting recommendations.
The barleywine, also labeled as barley wine, old ale, stock ale, or even strong ale originated in England, but its name can be traced back further to the ancient Greeks who called their fermented grain beverage krithinos oinos, translating to barley wine. (more…)
It was my fourth and last day to hunt hard to acquire beers during my Vermont Beer Trail Vacation. So far, I was quite fortunate to find The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. I braved the lines at Hill Farmstead for some world class IPAs. I discovered Stowe Cider. What more could a craft beer loving gal ask for? “The Holy Grail of Beer” as my husband, Derek, likes to call it: Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Finding just one bottle of the small batch artisanal beer was the goal of Day 4.
LAWSON’S FINEST LIQUIDS
(Waitsfield Farmer’s Market, Vermont)
The day started at 5:00am as the alarm blared signalling a mad dash to get ready, out the door and jump in line at Mad Taco in Waitsfield, Vermont for a chance to get the highly acclaimed and hard to get Lawson’s brews.
I was in luck! Once there, only 100 people were in line before me. Some had camped out. Others arrived much earlier and were lounging in camping chairs. This was serious business. (more…)
After the whirlwind that was Day 2 of my travels, it was time to use Day 3 to revisit my most favorite places from my trip in December.
BRASS LANTERN INN
With Stowe, Vermont being so central to the various towns I wanted to stop at in the next 2 days, I stayed at the Brass Lantern Inn. The circa 1810 brick B&B has comfortable, cozy rooms and common areas making you feel right at home. You get a great view of the mountains and ski slopes from the back porch and patio area as well as while you’re eating breakfast in the dining room each morning. A simply breathtaking view.
The innkeepers George and Mary Anne are so friendly and accommodating. I was very thankful for the many suggestions they provided on what to checkout in the town of Stowe from quaint little shops to fabulous restaurants. Site seeing recommendations. You name it. They know about it. They’re awesome.
AND… The Alchemist is planning on building their new brewery in Stowe if the plans get approved and they’re able to move forward with construction. Even more reason to stay at the Brass Lantern Inn! (more…)
After breakfast on the second day of the Vermont Beer Trail trip, there was no question where the next stop would be on the way to Burlington. Beverage Warehouse in Winooski was about to get a delivery by The Alchemist of fresh Heady Topper according to their Facebook page. In fact, my husband had been monitoring their page for several weeks to see if there were any patterns to the deliveries. What he learned was they put half the shipment out in the morning and half around 5pm.
To track your own Heady, checkout Heady Spotter: http://www.headyspotter.com or @HeadySpotter on Twitter.
TIP: Keep your Heady Topper chilled. It’s pretty much a must. Mine went straight into a cooler filled with ice. It stayed that way the entire trip. Lots of ice refills due to the summer heat. (more…)