Elysian Brewing Gets Bought by AB-InBev

by: Tierney

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In case you missed it,Elysian Brewing announced that AB-In Bev will be purchasing their company as well as their four brewpubs with the intent to have the sale completed by the end of the year. This isn’t the first craft brewery to be bought out by one of the big guys, but this one seemed to hurt the most.

Maybe it’s because I love their beer. I’ve been advocate of the quality product they make ever since I tried my first Dragonstooth Stout and continually recommend them to others. To me, they were so underrated and needed awareness for their brand. I think I may even be on record somewhere saying that they’re my favorite brewery at the moment. I love so many of their beers, especially Space Dust, Punkuccino, and Split Shot. Seriously, at one point, I had the cute little flying hop guy on the Space Dust label as my desktop image. I’m a fangirl.
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Maybe it’s because of this label. ‘Sticking it to the man’ is one of my favorite things. Ever. The punk attitude of screwing corporate America always lingers in the back of my mind. Isn’t that a big part of what this craft beer movement is all about? Buying local, buying small, supporting the mom and pop shop breweries that are out there just straight up killing it with great product?

Then, Elysian responded:

Yes, we were bought.

On Friday 23, it was announced that Elysian Brewing was going to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch. Since the moment that news hit, we’ve heard from our fans and customers, friends and advocates, industry partners and fellow brewers. The response on our social media platforms and in the comments of many articles has been a mixed bag of anger, support, questions, and disappointment. We want to acknowledge that we hear you — all of you — and have been reading all of your comments. For those with questions and concerns, we are trying to respond as quickly as possible.

The employees of Elysian found out on Friday morning, just like everyone else. While there are certainly mixed feelings within the company, our three original owners and co-founders, Joe, Dick, and Dave, are all on board and committed to leading us through what’s next. A couple quick facts that we do know, and that we’d like to share:

– AB does not, and will not, decide our beer recipes or dictate changes to our beer. AB is not sending in people to take over, and our current teams are staying intact.

– We will probably see some changes at the brewery in the form of new equipment, access to new (quality) ingredients, and educational opportunities for our brewers.

– Our restaurants will stay exactly where they are and our beer will still be brewed in Seattle.

– Great Pumpkin Beer Festival is happening.

– Loser, with the tagline Corporate Beer Still Sucks, will continue to be brewed and packaged. Yes, we still think corporate beer still sucks. Yes, we get the joke.

– Some of our employees are excited about new opportunities, some are upset, and some are waiting for more information.

– We have a big, weird family of people who’ve worked their asses off and dedicated their time and energy to get Elysian to where it is today.

– No, this message did not get approved by AB. Unless there are any typos… then, it’s their fault.

So, what next? Well, this week has been oddly similar to last week with the notable exception that a lot more people hate us. As employees, we get it. But, we’re taking it one day at a time and looking forward to finding out for ourselves what the future holds. We’re going to keep doing our jobs, and drinking our beer made by the same people with the same ingredients as they were last week. We’re going to keep being creative and weird and inventive and whatever other pre-Friday-the-23rd adjective you would have ascribed to us. We’re going to keep talking to people, and partners, and customers. We’re going to listen. We’re going to continue to support the charitable endeavors we believe in. And, after that, we will figure it out.

Does this change how I feel? Yeah, a little bit. Am I going to stop buying Elysian? Check my Untappd feed, clearly not. I never boycott breweries as a result of these transactions. I get that it comes down to business, money, and doing what you think is right as a business owner. But, man, this one really hurt, and I have to just say that I’m disappointed.

Sly Fox Adds SRT Ale to Lineup

by: Tierney

sly fox srtSly Fox Brewing Company, is releasing a new canned beer with a mission. SRT ALE, due to hit local distributors in cans on Earth Day (April 22), is brewed specifically for craft beer fans who also love the outdoors of southeastern PA. Sly Fox’s SRT ALE is a golden, delicious, hop-forward American Pale Ale, and at 4.6% alcohol by volume, it’s designed to be the perfect post-activity beer.

The latest Sly Fox beer is also a tribute to a beloved recreational resource. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of SRT ALE will be donated to improve and maintain the 130-mile Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) that meanders near the brewery in Pottstown, PA, as well as Sly Fox’s original Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville, PA. The beer’s launch will take place over several days as it journeys down the southeastern Pennsylvania trail from Pottsville to Philadelphia.

Brewing a tribute beer to the crown jewel of regional recreation was a natural for us,” said Sly Fox Brewmaster, Brian O’Reilly. “The Schuylkill Watershed is vital to the work we do and Sly Fox is committed to supporting it.

Not only is Sly Fox Brewing Company’s SRT ALE contributing to trail upkeep, but the beer is a tribute to every step, paddle and pedal on the trail. The Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area also hosts the Schuylkill River Sojourn, an annual 112-mile guided canoe/kayak trip on the Schuylkill River that begins in rural Schuylkill Haven, PA, and ends seven days later in Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row. The Sojourn is a way to advocate and educate about the river’s importance, history and connection to the people who live and work along it. Inspired by the Sojourn, the ceremonial release of Sly Fox Brewing Company’s SRT ALE will make the journey, north to south, delivering news of the beer along the way.

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SRT SPREE
The SRT Spree will follow a Sly Fox launch team over the course of four nights and five days as they trek from Pottsville to Philadelphia with a larger-than-life SRT ALE can, welcoming beer and trail lovers to join in along the way. The team will travel by kayaks, road bicycles, trail bikes, horseback, recumbent trikes and on foot to advance the giant can to the final destination. Each day the Spree will stop along the trail for an organized trail cleanup and recognition of a local beer purveyor that will introduce SRT ALE to the public. Area businesses and community organizations will be invited to join this movement as it draws awareness to the trail – and the ale.

On Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, the SRT Spree will conclude at the Schuylkill Banks, Philadelphia’s newest riverfront park, for a final cleanup and launch celebration. Beer lovers anticipating the release of SRT ALE are encouraged to join the journey or track the team’s progress online at http://www.slyfoxbeer.com/SRTSPREE.

Iron Hill Adds Three New House Beers

by: Tierney

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On Monday, February 2, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will debut a new house lineup of fresh craft beers, available on draught and for growler fills, at all 11 locations throughout the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware region.  Three new styles of beer will be added to the everyday lineup, including:  White Iron Wit, a pale unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer,  Ore House IPA, a golden American IPA, and Witberry, a classic unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer brewed with raspberry featuring complex orange and spice flavors.

White Iron Wit, Ore House IPA and Witberry will be available all the time and at every Iron Hill location, along with traditional favorites.

Ore House IPA is the culmination of a company-wide collaboration project between the brewery’s staff and Director of Brewery Operations Mark Edelson after each head brewer was asked to create a different IPA in celebration of National IPA Day in 2014.  Afterward, the beers were sampled, critiqued and eventually voted on, based on the most popular from the brewers’ taste panel.  The result was Ore House IPA, a golden American IPA that combines the best characteristics from the top beers, while paying tribute to Iron Hill’s rich history.  Ore House IPA, first brewed at Iron Hill Maple Shade, is named in honor of Ore House Amber, one of Iron Hill’s original house beers when the brewpub opened in 1996.

Ore House IPA is an ode to our humble beginnings as a small brewpub in Delaware, but it is also shows how far we have come as a brewery and restaurant as we approach our 20th anniversary, says Edelson. Watching all of our extremely talented head brewers really let their creativity shine and fully embrace the collaborative spirit of the project, was the most rewarding part – and maybe the most fun I’ve had during my time as head of brewery operations.

Brewery at Hershey Mean Cup o’Stout Returns, Two New Brews Coming

by: Tierney

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Yesterday I had the chance to chat with brewer Ryan DeLutis about some new brews in the works for The Brewery at Hershey. The vineyard portion of the company will celebrate their third anniversary on February 7th (congrats!) and he has a few brews planned to help celebrate.

First, we will see the return of Mean Cup o’Stout. This coffee oatmeal stout is made with coffee from Lancaster’s Mean Cup. Mean Cup o’Stout is one of the brewery’s winter specialties along with Naughty and Spiced holiday ale.

Special brews for the anniversary celebration will be the yet un-named Chocolate Orange Stout and a Vermont-Style 2xIPA. Of the beers, DeLutis says:

The Vermont-style DIPA is the result of my trip to Vermont last fall, and tasting those beers while picking the brewer’s brains. Chocolate Orange Stout is a redo of a Christmas home brew I did 5 years ago. We’ll serve each pint with a wedge of Terry’s Chocolate Orange candy, which inspired the beer.

Be sure to head up for the anniversary party and try these limited-edition small-batch brews available only on February 7th.

When Beer Becomes Art

by: Chelsie

In the world of digital living, there’s probably a gazillion craft beer photos floating around out there on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Just search on a variety of hashtags like #craftbeer, #drinkcraftnotcrap, #beergasm, #instabrew and even #girlslikebeer, just to name a few.

Lots of folks are documenting their unique craft beer experience… including me! It’s fun and it helps me remember what I’ve tasted. In the midst of all our snapping and posting, there are a few stand out photogs bubbling up to the surface. One of my favs at the moment is Mike Beach or you may know him on Instagram as: mbeach717.

I was able to catch up with Mike the other weekend while at Al’s of Hampden for Intangible Ales’ limited bottle release of Future Primitive. We cracked open a bottle of this tart and wonderfully, funky farmhouse ale. Sipping away as we chatted all things beer, bottle label design and photography. You know me. I geek out over good design. And, I geek out over craft beer. It was an intense, inspiring and just plain fun conversation.

We talked about creative concepting, props, lighting, camera models and shooting techniques. Note: By “shooting”, I don’t mean shooting a gun. It’s the industry term used interchangeably with “photographing.” There were no guns fired during this discussion but there was “shooting” going on. Have to document the experience!

Intangible Ales - "Future Primitive"

Intangible Ales – “Future Primitive”. What we were drinking at Al’s of Hampden in Enola, PA during our discussion. #ProperGlassware
~ Photo Courtesy: Mike Beach

Of course, I gushed about my love for his work. I mean, look at these photos. Not to mention, that the beers are most amazing, too.

Refined But Playful

Geometric

Vintage Fabrics

Humorous Context

Trippy Lights

The Process
I think what I’m most intrigued about is HOW some of these shots were captured. Before talking to Mike, I was convinced most of this was Photoshop trickery. Even after he told me the trippy lighting effects were done while photographing, I still doubted his claim. Then he showed me a photo of his set up. He hangs strings of Christmas lights from his ceiling so they dangle into the scene. He then sets his camera shutter wide open while either he or his artist-girlfriend, Ashley Huckabee, wiggles the string of lights for a few seconds – being careful to stay out of the scene. Then the camera shutter is closed. Voilà! Crazy, magnificent swirls of light and color.

NOTE: Mike uses a DSLR camera with a 50mm f/1.8 lens and a rotating head flash. Fancy! I could only dream of owning a camera of this caliber.

Another curiosity of mine was the bold backgrounds. They’re so intense and striking. Mike creates this effect by using a variety of elements. Sometimes it’s vintage fabrics. Other times it’s scrapbooking paper or artificial flowers from craft stores. Take a look:

Mike Beach Photography: Setup & Final

Left: Setup of the scene and lighting preparation. Right: Final photo captured.

The setup (shown on left) uses artificial flowers meticulously inserted into a piece of craft styrofoam then taped to the wall to create the background. A mirror surface is used to not only bounce light to brighten the scene but also creates an elegant fluid surface for the bottle and glass. This Hill Farmstead / Blaugies Le Sarrasin (saison/farmhouse ale) never looked better. Did you notice the proper glassware? I did. Proper glassware is important.

Inspiration
Although Mike never studied art, photography or design, he has always showed an interest in capturing a moment in time with a camera. Throughout his childhood, he felt the need to document events which lead him to really appreciate the power of photography. Mike calls himself “an archivist. A fun, neurotic person.”

His first experience in craft beer was at a friend’s house where a variety of Magic Hat beers were being served. His reaction was, “Craft beer is awesome! I don’t know what it is, but it’s awesome.” This moment of discovery set him on a course to explore various styles of craft beer to figure out what he liked and didn’t like.

It was only a natural progression to combine his love of beer and photography. In the beginning, “I had an intrinsic sense of design, but I had no idea how to create what I envisioned the shot to be.” Ashley, who has a degree in art, coached Mike to think about color, shapes, form, lighting and composition. It was a lot of trial and error to get the perfect shot.

A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words
I love how Mike’s photography tells a story or evokes emotion. He captures the essence of the beer. And most importantly, he remembers to have fun… to not take himself or the beer too seriously. Often, he incorporates his surprisingly docile and well behaved cat aptly named “Kitty.” Sometimes he even appears in the shot. Us ladies at Stouts & Stilettos especially love this playful shot of Mike in these incredible heels. Not to mention his Rogue Dead Guy Ale tattoo. This is great!

Stilettos & Beer
Be sure to check out more of Mike Beach’s photography on Instagram: mbeach717.


(Follow Me On: Twitter & Untapped: @dzyngrl | Instagram: @dzyngrl14)

So You’re Going to Boycott Lagunitas?

by: Tierney

 

wpid-flxqx1zhxytfu2_u7tg7liaxmkya_apa4zybh68qpyu.pngIn case you haven’t heard, on January 13th Lagunitas decided to start a lawsuit against Sierra Nevada due to the styling of the ‘IPA’ verbiage on the label for the new Hop Hunter IPA. You can read the full story here if you’d like. Then, later that evening, Tony Magee of Lagunitas put out a series of tweets announcing that they would drop the lawsuit the following day, January 14th. Again, you can read all of that here if it interests you. But what’s interesting to me after all this are the reactions.

Reading commentary and comment threads on social media can be quite amusing. The public outrage over everything is a common theme no matter what the topic. I particularly enjoy those who just read a title, not an article, and present themselves incorrectly. Oh if only you had read the story.

There was a lot of that floating around yesterday. People assumed that Lagunitas was trying to corner the letters ‘IPA’ in sequence and were up in arms that “people across the country make IPAs, they can’t do that”. Good thing that wasn’t the problem then isn’t it? The issue was with the branding, not the phrase IPA.

Many called the lawsuit petty, childish, and attention-seeking. I disagree. I think Tony said it best himself:

Think about what is at stake here. Yes, neither Sierra Nevada nor Lagunitas are enormous companies and despite the fact that they’re huge for craft beer, they are true to the roots of what craft beer is considered to be. At the same time, they’re a business. This lawsuit and transaction was all business.

Trademark issues, ceast and desist letters, and legal battles happen every day. I’ve had close friends receive these notices and have had to change what they’re doing to be compliant, with no intent of trying to imitate others. Just earlier in the week NPR reported on these issues. You can read up on that here of you’d like. From a business perspective, branding is everything. Building your brand and brand recognition can take years. Others interfering with your branding and making it confusing, whether intentionally or accidentally, can be a serious problem.

Yes, craft beer has its own sense of community and camaraderie that very few other fields can boast, but at the same time we as consumers need to realize that they are all competitors. Sure, they make collaborations and might even go in on hop orders together, but at the end of the day me giving money to one means another didn’t get that same cash. They might later, but at that moment they flat out lost.

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So, am I going to boycott Lagunitas? No. That’s ridiculous. Lagunitas SUCKS is delicious and I might even go buy one right now. I respect that they did what they thought they needed to do to protect their business and brand.

Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA to Return

by: Tierney

stone japanese green tea ipa
Stone’s Overseas-Inspired IPA Returns

You may recall the herbaceous, bitingly hoppy fund-raising IPA Stone Brewing Co. brewed four years ago to help provide relief for Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims. It was originally brewed Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA with Toshi Ishii, owner of Ishii Brewing Co. in Guam, and Bryan Baird of Japan’s Baird Brewing Company. Well, it’s back with the original crew on board. The recipe has been updated slightly, using a new Australian hop variety, Helga, in place of 2011’s New Zealand Pacifica hops, but the 2015 version is still packed with all of the unique flavor combinations from the previous batch.

This spectacular, tea-infused IPA will set sail beginning Monday, January 12. You can prepare for its arrival by reading up on the tasty details on the official webpage. Check the Stone Beer Finder for help finding Baird/Ishii/Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA at a retailer or bar near you.

Chef’s Table Dinner at The Garlic Poet feat Yard’s Brewing Co

by: Tierney

 

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The next Chef’s Table Dinner at the Garlic Poet will feature PA’s own Yard’s Brewing Company. Never been to Chef’s Table Dinner at GP before? Well, you’re in for a treat my friends.

Chef Kurt Wewer hand selects each ingredient used in these farm-to-table meals that are perfectly paired with the beers for the evening. To go with the local aspect of the meal, local breweries are always featured to really showcase what our local area has to offer. In the past, Troegs, DuClaw, Roy Pitz, Liquid Hero, and Free Will Brewing have been paired each with their own amazing menus.

Don’t wait to make a reservation as these ALWAYS sell out and early! Here’s the rundown:

  • What: Chef’s Table Dinner (beer + food pairing)
  • Where: The Garlic Poet, 148 Sheraton Dr New Cumberland PA 17070 (inside the Sheraton Hotel)
  • When: March 24 from 4:30-6:30
  • Cost: $60/person (this is all inclusive)
  • Make your reservation here or by calling 717-744-5435

Barrel Aged Party @ The Sturges Speakeasy with Stouts and Stilettos

by: Tierney

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Don’t let those winter blues get you down. Come warm up with some barrel-aged beers with us at The Sturges Speakeasy on January 17th.

Current tap list to include:
Deschutes Abyss
Deschutes Black Butte XVII
Blue Mountain Local Species
Rodenbach Flanders Red
Evolution Local Species 2013

AND just in case you missed the full moon firkin at Troegs this past week we’ll have a surprise for you ;-)

Party starts at 5 plus it’s the anniversary of the beginning of prohibition. What better way to celebrate than with a great big barrel aged beer at a speakeasy. We’ll see you there!

  • When: Saturday January 17th at 5pm
  • Where: The Sturges Speakeasy 400 Forster St Harrisburg
  • What: Barrel Aged Party. Come try out a few barrel-aged versions of some awesome beers.

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