Friday, October 31, 2008

Beer Run Find - Not your average gas station

I was driving through downtown Fredericksburg recently and spied a "Microbrews" sign hanging in the window of the William Street Market, a Shell gas station and convenience store. I decided to stop in and see what was inside. I was very surprised by what I found. One wall of the store is lined with coolers of craft beer, mostly six pack and half cases, but also a number of larger bottles as well. There's quite a large selection of breweries available. Anchor, Bell's, Blue & Gray, Brooklyn, Clipper City, Flying Dog, Green Flash, Legend, Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, Southern Tier, among others, were well-represented. Of course, the usual macro-beers were stocked as well. All of the beer is kept chilled in the coolers.

While the selection might not compete with many dedicated beer and wine retailers, it beats your average grocery and convenience store. The store is located in a residential area and close to Mary Washington University. Area residents certainly have a very convenient source for craft beer.

Shooting Creek Opposition Appeals ABC Ruling

The Roanoke Times is reporting that neighbors opposed to the opening of the Shooting Creek Brewery have appealed the operation's license. Virginia ABC granted a license to the Floyd County brewery after a contentious hearing in September. A group consisting of David Elliott, Jean and Paul Lacoste, Gloria Underwood and the Rev. Warren Brown of Faith Baptist Church will present their appeal on Tuesday, November 2.

The brewery's license allows them to brew up to 10,000 barrels of beer a year for off-premises consumption. However, patrons are only allowed to sample up to 4 ounces of beer at the on-premise tasting room. Despite the limited on-premise consumption, the local neo-prohibitionists claim that the brewery would "disrupt the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood."

No matter what the decision on Tuesday, either side will be able to appeal to the Floyd County Circuit Court.

The complete Roanoke Times story here.
Previous Shooting Creek coverage here.

Weekend Beer Events

Saturday, November 1 is "Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day." The Fredericksburg Brewing Insiders will be at Blue & Gray Brewery doing a homebrew demonstration 10:00AM to 2:00PM.

Don't forget the tastings offered by our local retailers.

Friday, October 31 - 5:00 - 8:00pm
Total Wine, Fredericksburg
Friday 5 @ 5 Beer Tasting:
Brooklyn Pennant Pale Ale, Weyerbacher Hops Infusion, Shock Top Belgian White Ale, Eggenberg Hopfenkonig Pilsner, Duvel

Friday, October 31 - 5:30 - 7:30pm
Corks and Kegs, Richmond
Beer Tasting:
Avery Samael's Oak Aged Ale, Wychwood Hobgoblin Dark English Ale, Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Dubbel Dark Ale

Saturday, November 1 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Kybecca, Fredericksburg
Beer Tastings in 2 Locations:
William Street (Downtown):
Brasserie D'Oc La Mousska, Mandrin Biere au sapin, plus 1 Customer Choice
Plank Road (Next to Ukrops)
St. Rieul Grand Cru, Dogfish Head Brown Ale, plus 1 Customer Choice

Saturday, November 1 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Rick's Wine, Alexandria
Beer Tasting:
Reaper Ales Deathly Pale Ale, Redemption Red Ale, Mortality Stout, Tröegs Mad Elf 2008

Every Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Blue & Gray Brewery, Fredericksburg
Beer samples and brewery tours

Please support the folks who bring us these events. Let them know there is an active craft beer community in the area. When you attend any of these events, tell us about it in the comments, and be sure to let the proprietor know you heard about it here.
Have something to add? Let me know, my contact information is here.

Event schedules subject to change. Call ahead before traveling.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beer at the Wine Bar

I stopped by the Kybecca Wine Bar Wednesday evening for the monthly Fredericksburg Blogger Happy Hour gathering. This was my first visit to Fredericksburg's new wine and tapas bar. Despite it's name, the wine bar has a fairly extensive beer list. This is to be expected given the wine bar is run by the same folks who operate the Kybecca wine, beer and cheese stores.

There were printed wine menus on the tables, but the only beer menu I saw was a short monthly specials list which offered a selection of Fall seasonal beers. I ordered a Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. This pumpkin beer is made with actual pumpkin, along with pumpkin pie spices. The beer is very flavorful and carries the 8% alcohol level very well. I also enjoyed a Bell's Ocktoberfest. The sweet, malt flavor was somewhat masked by the bigger beer I had started with. Other seasonal beers offered included Coney Island Freaktoberfest, Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, along with a couple of others I don't recall. Those offerings were quite sufficient for my short visit but next time I visit I'll inquire about the longer beer menu.

The beers offered are all served by the bottle, no draft beers are available. The bottles were accompanied by small nonic shaped glasses, perhaps 8 oz in size. Since the restaurant is a wine bar first, I may be inclined to request a red wine glass if I order one of the "bigger" beers. Our server was friendly and seemed to be familiar with the beers, at least the ones on the specials list. I do look forward to returning and trying out something from the very enticing food menu.

The Kybecca Wine Bar is a nice addition to the Kybecca wine, beer and cheese shop. The restaurant is still getting up to speed, and some construction is still to be done. I expect this will be a very popular addition to Fredericksburg's food and dining scene.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Old Dominion, Anheuser-Bush, and Local Allegiances

Much has been written on this blog and other forums about the recent and impending changes at Old Dominion Brewery. There's been plenty of teeth-gnashing over these changes. But what's really behind the vitriol?

Back up to last year when the brewery was sold to Coastal Brewing, a joint venture of Maryland-based Fordham Brewing and St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch. Almost immediately local craft beer fans began decrying the sale, and remarking how A-B would destroy the brand. Fast forward a year, and the Old Dominion brewpub is now closed, and Coastal has announced the impending shuttering of the Ashburn brewery along with the transfer of brewing operations to Delaware. When this last announcement was made, the discussions on DC-Beer and the web forums heated up. One common thread arises in the discussions: Anheuser-Bush. But why?

Recently on the DC-Beer list Greg Kitsock asked "Will you still consider Dominion brands to be local beers?" That's a thought provoking question. On DC-Beer and other forums, many folks have said they will no longer buy Old Dominion Beers because they are no longer "local". Many commentators also brought up Anheuser-Bush and have implied they would no longer buy the beers because of the ownership of A-B.

Is Old Dominion still a local beer? Well that really depends on your definition of local. Some commentators remarked that they wouldn't buy Old Dominion because it was no longer brewed locally. Does that mean these folks also don't purchase Dogfish Head beers, also brewed in Delaware? Others make the local ownership argument, pointing to Anheuser-Bush. Old Dominion is owned by Coastal Brewing. The majority of Coastal Brewing (51%) is held by Fordham Brewing, an Annapolis, MD/Dover, DE company. I find it very telling that the majority of the anger over the Old Dominion changes is directed towards A-B, not the local majority owner. Why does Fordham get a pass?

Many craft beer drinkers seem to wallow in A-B hatred. A-B is an evil corporation they say, bent on destroying craft breweries. (Much of this discourse is undoubtably written on computers running Windows or Apple software, and maybe even sent via their Google email account. All of these companies decried as "evil" at one time or another.) With the impending buyout of A-B by the Belgian company InBev, things heat up even more. Do the folks who are upset at this change still buy imported Belgian beers? As a proud American, I do hate to see American companies being taken over by foreign firms. However, Anheuser-Bush employs thousands of Americans workers at their numerous breweries. The company employed more than 30,000 people in 2007. Hundreds more are employed by associated distributors, retailers, etc. We should keep in mind that corporations employ people. Coastal Brewing is 51% a local company, employing local people.

Let's also look at the case of Virginia's Starr Hill. Last December, owner Mark Thompson signed a distribution agreement with A-B to expand Starr Hill's distribution. Despite Mark's statement that he retains control over the beer production, and that this move was about distribution, we saw comments on various online forums about the eminent destruction of Starr Hill by Anheuser-Bush. Again, arguments seemingly based on A-B hatred, despite the fact that the agreement means more people will be exposed to true craft beer. By entering into this agreement, A-B likely gives up shelf space for it's house products by filling it with Starr Hill beer. That hardly seems like a way to destroy a product.

My remarks shouldn't be construed as a wholesale defense of macro-breweries. I generally don't drink most A-B brands, just as I don't drink Miller or Coors. That decision is based on my taste preferences. (I do admit to a bit of anger over the damage to beer's image caused by factory brewers' inane, and misleading, advertising campaigns.) Rather, this is a look at what I consider some of the misplaced anger directed at Old Dominion. Indeed some of the criticism is well-deserved and Coastal isn't blameless for the expressed anger. As recently as last month a Coastal spokesman was assuring local drinkers that the brew pub at the Ashburn facility would reopen. It's hard to build brand loyalty with confusing or misleading statements.

I will likely continue to drink Old Dominion beers, as long as the qualities that attracted me the beer in the first place remain. Will I purchase Beach House Pilsner next summer even if it is brewed in Delaware? Surely. I'm a fan of good beer, and I base my decisions first on flavor and the enjoyment I get from drinking the beer. Rejecting a brewery solely on the involvement of Anheuser-Busch is misdirected and short sighted.

BJCP Style Guide for iPhone

Finally, a useful beer-related application for the iPhone. BJCP Styles is an application that brings the full Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Guidelines to the iPhone. The contents are fully searchable. You can search for a style, a particular flavor trait, or country of origin for example. The iPhone spelling auto-correction wanted to change my search for "IPA" to "UPS" but otherwise the application is straightforward and easy to use. Developer Joshua Baran has the support of the BJCP in developing this reference tool, so the application shouldn't disappear like another popular, but less useful, beer-related iPhone application.

You can download BJCP Styles from the iTunes App Store.

Hat tip to Rick Sellers for the alert via Twitter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Christmas Beers - A fun new book from "Joe Sixpack"

I make no secret of it, I'm not a Winter person. However, the onset of Winter does bring a treat; Winter Beers. These flavorful, and typically strong, beers are a bright spot in the dreary Virginia winter. Don Russel, AKA "Joe Sixpack", who blogs over at Beer Radar has compiled information on a bevy of Winter seasonal beers in a fun book entitled, Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest, and Most Unusual Holiday Brews.

What are "Christmas Beers"? The term doesn't refer to a particular style. These beers are typically spiced, and higher in alcohol content, with a "rich body and warming finish" according to the BJCP. Don Russell sums it up simply by stating "it is whatever the brewer says it is." While some brewers will label their Christmas beer as "holiday" or "winter warmer", it's all the same. As the author states, "... we all know the truth: not one of them would be on the shelf if it weren't for Christmas." No matter what they are called, these special releases embody the joy of the season and bring a smile to the lips of the drinker.

The book begins with chapters of historical notes concerning these seasonal ales and lagers. The author shares anecdotes from around the world. We learn how some of our favorite Christmas beers came to be. From Mesopotamia to Fritz Maytag, the author examines how beer has been an integral part of seasonal festivities. From trademark fights to marauding wassailers, to government attempts to protect Santa Claus, beer's association with Christmas has not been without controversy. The essays in the book are fun to read and filled with interesting facts and asides.

The bulk of the book is devoted to the beers themselves. In a section listing "The World's 50 Best Christmas Beers", Don goes into detail on his picks of the top Christmas beers. Included are tasting notes and other trivia, all enhanced by the author's humorous prose. I was glad to see some of my favorites make the top 50; Tröegs Mad Elf, Samichlaus Bier, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Great Divide Hibernation, Clipper City Winter Storm to name just a few. Another 100 beers are also listed with more brief write ups.

As icing on the cake, the book finishes up with a section of recipes for traditional Christmas drinks and foods prepared with Winter beers. Just reading the recipes has me thinking ahead about tasty treats for our own Christmas parties. The book ends with a brief guide to beer styles and proper serving.

"Christmas Beer" is an informative and entertaining read. It's obvious that the author enjoys these beers, and the Christmas season, very much. The book is a handy reference to enhance our enjoyment of Christmas beers and the fun times that come along with them. To borrow the opening line of the book, "Like most beer drinkers, I'm still a kid at heart. Drinking a good brew mainly is just fun — nothing more, nothing less." And there you have it. Cheers!

Weekend Beer Events

After many weeks of many festivals, things slow down a bit this weekend. You might head to North Carolina for Outer Banks Pig Stein 08. Or over to Leesburg where Hamburg Döner is holding an Oktoberfest celebration. Otherwise stop by for a beer tasting at a local local retailer.

Friday, October 24 - 5:00 - 8:00pm
Total Wine, Fredericksburg
Friday 5 @ 5 Beer Tasting:
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Troegs Mad Elf Ale, Magic Hat #9, Flying Dog In Heat Wheat, Otter Creek Pale Ale

Friday, September 24 - 5:30 - 8:30pm
Virginia Wine Experience, Fredericksburg
Beer Tasting:
Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale 2008, Legend Tripel

Friday, October 24 - 5:30 - 7:30pm
Corks and Kegs, Richmond
Beer Tasting:
Gouden Carolus Classic Brown, Otter Creek Copper Ale, Golden Pheasant Traditional

Saturday, October 25 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Kybecca, Fredericksburg
Beer Tastings in 2 Locations:
William Street (Downtown):
McChouffe Belgian Brown Ale, Legend Tripel, plus 1 Customer Choice
Plank Road (Next to Ukrops)
Coney Island Freaktoberfest, Legend Tripel, plus 1 Customer Choice

Saturday, October 25 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Rick's Wine, Alexandria
Beer Tasting:
Charles Wells Banana Bread, Clipper City Winter Storm, Boulder Brewing Co. Never Summer Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008, He'Brew Jewbelation 12th Anniversary

Every Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Blue & Gray Brewery, Fredericksburg
Beer samples and brewery tours

Please support the folks who bring us these events. Let them know there is an active craft beer community in the area. When you attend any of these events, tell us about it in the comments, and be sure to let the proprietor know you heard about it here.
Have something to add? Let me know, my contact information is here.

Event schedules subject to change. Call ahead before traveling.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Highland Black Mocha Stout

When I posted recently about local winners at the GABF I also mentioned that Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC had been awarded a Silver medal in the American Stout category. This award peaked my interest as I had a couple bottles of this beer waiting to be tasted. Now, I figure it is only fair to report back on the experience since Colleen and I enjoyed them earlier this week.

Black Mocha Stout pours nearly black, just showing some dark red at the edges. There's a thin, short-lived tan head. The aroma is dark chocolate and coffee with a faint bit of citrus hops in the background. Our bottles had been refrigerated and the aromas weren't apparent until the beer had warmed a bit. The flavor is dark cocoa and pleasantly bitter. I detected a sweeter, milky chocolate in the background as the beer warmed. The dark, roasted malt flavor lingers in the aftertaste. There's a moderate carbonation level and the mouthfeel is on the thin side.

Highland Black Mocha Stout proved to be a nice compliment to a cool Fall evening. At 5.60% ABV it would be easy have a few of these in a sitting. Alas, the fridge is bare.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Cask Ale for Fredericksburg

The Cafaro Company, developers of the The Village at Towne Centre in Fredericksburg have announced one of their first tenants will be "The Fredericksburg Pub." The new establishment is described in a Free Lance-Star article as "An Ohio-based chain whose restaurants have exteriors modeled after the classic corner pubs of London. Their interiors include a handcrafted bar from which guests can sample a wide range of English, Scottish and Irish draft beers as well as cask-conditioned and domestic beers."

After making some inquiries, I received a reply from a manager for the new establishment that included a press release from the Cafaro Company. In part it states:
The heart of hospitality in every British neighborhood is its pub. So it shall be at the Village at Towne Centre. The Fredericksburg Pub will open its doors this November, offering a sensational array of brews, and savory dishes to satisfy hearty appetites. The Fredericksburg Pub is a warm, authentic re-creation of the a traditional British public house, with the subtle, casual flair of modern colonial influence.

The centerpiece of The Fredericksburg Pub is a stunning wraparound bar handcrafted in the United Kingdom, surrounded by beautiful, imported decor. “It’s a very authentic British Pub.”, said Tom Hoffman, Principal of the establishment. “There are 85 different beers from all over the world, mostly from the British Isles.” They include cask-conditioned brews, ales and domestics that change on a rotating basis. They are served up through “optic pourers”, inverted pouring systems that originated in Europe. The knowledgeable barkeeps also serve up an impressive variety of cocktails and wines by the glass or bottle.

I'm not familiar with this chain, but the prospect of cask-conditioned beers is itself appealing. What will the beer selection be like? How many fresh casks will be available? Real fresh ale or faux? The Pub is now reported to open by December 1, so we won't have long to wait until I can research for answers to these questions.

The Fredericksburg Pub is not to be confused with Fredericksburg's long-established "The Pub" which will soon have a brewpub onsite. Battlefield Brewing is slated to open this Fall inside the latter. Got it? Imagine the thrill of having two fresh ale pubs competing for our thirsts!

Update, December 2: The Pub's opening has been delayed two weeks due to a health department request to redesign a door leading to the outdoor patio.

Update, February 22: The Fredericksburg Pub is reviewed here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Capital Ale House Update - Tentative Opening Date Set

The new Capital Ale House location in Fredericksburg has a tentative opening date of October 31. Readers will recall that the incentives granted by the City of Fredericksburg require Capital Ale House to be open by November 1, so it does seem to be coming down to the wire. Most of the renovation and construction is complete and the focal point bar is going in this week.

The management is anticipating a "very limited opening" so don't expect any sort of grand opening celebration right away. This is a new location, with new staff and no staff available to transfer from their other locations. So relax and have a beer while the staff gets into their groove. I'll see you there.

Update, October 31: I stopped by CAH today and saw a lot of interesting beer being carried in. Alas, the opening is now set for Monday, November 3.

Coastal to Close Old Dominion Brewery

Well, it's been an on again, off again rumor, but it looks as if the end is nigh for Old Dominion Brewery in Ashburn, VA. Mid-Atlantic Brewing News reporter Gregg Wiggins posted this press release from Coastal Brewing, the Old Dominion parent company, to the DC-Beer mailing list:
For Immediate Release


DOVER, Del. (October 21, 2008) – Coastal Brewing Company announced today that it will consolidate its operations by moving all brewing to the company's state-of-the-art facility in Dover, Del. The decision means that the company's brewery in Ashburn, Va., will be closed in 2009.

Employees of the company's Ashburn brewery will be offered continuing employment at Coastal's main brewery in Dover. Those who elect not to transfer will be offered competitive severance packages upon the brewery's closure.

Coastal Brewing Company's full line of beers, including brands under both the Old Dominion and Fordham names, will continue to be brewed with the same care and ingredients, and will continue to be marketed and distributed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.

"Our number one focus is clear: to continue making the high-quality craft beers that beer lovers have come to expect from the Fordham and Old Dominion names," said Garry Williams, CEO of Coastal Brewing Co. "But to deliver on that promise, we have to make sure we are running an effective business, particularly in light of the current economic situation. Operating two breweries in such close proximity is not cost-efficient, nor is it environmentally responsible, so it's just good business sense to combine operations into our most modern facility."

Coastal Brewing Co. purchased Old Dominion Brewing Co., the Virginia-based craft brewer and brewpub operator with primary distribution in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States in 2007. As part of the deal, Coastal Brewing Co. assumed ownership, sales and marketing responsibilities for both the Old Dominion and Fordham brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Oak Barrel Stout, Fordham Copperhead, Fordham Helles Lager, Fordham Tavern Ale and others.

Sad news indeed. While there are some beer drinkers who claimed to have stopped buying Old Dominion beers once Coastal took over, Old Dominion was still a local brewer employing local people. It was just two weeks ago that the closing talk surfaced once again. At that time, an Old Dominion brewer posted to DC-Beer stating emphatically "We are NOT CLOSING, nor moving anything within the building at Ashburn to Dover, Delaware. We are here to stay, with a focus on our quality craft brewed beers." One has to assume the brewers and other staff in Ashburn were not part of the discussion.

All that being said, we have to keep in mind that a brewery is a business first, sentiments come second. If this move is what it takes to keep us supplied with Old Dominion beers, then that's fine. I recall all the huffing when Flying Dog moved from Denver to Maryland. That move has certainly proved beneficial to both the company and the consumer. However, unlike Flying Dog, there doesn't seem to be any true initiative by the Old Dominion owners to actually keep the brand alive.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A New Address for the Musings

Most readers will now be seeing a new URL, or web address, for "Musings Over a Pint." The new URL is Catchy huh? It's been just a little over a year since this blog was started and it's time to make the address reference the name of the blog. Hopefully everything will work as before, but if you notice anything broken, be sure to let me know.

A request for fellow bloggers, if you are so kind as to have a link to "Musings Over A Pint" on your bog, would you please update the link? Thanks.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Beer Events

The Fredericksburg Brewing and Tasting Society meets this Saturday at Kybecca. The theme for this month is "Oktoberfest beers." Also, in Baltimore, the 5th Annual Chesapeake Real Ale Festival takes place on Saturday.

And, as usual, local retailers offer plenty of opportunities for tasting some new beers.

Friday, October 17 - 5:00 - 8:00pm
Total Wine, Fredericksburg
Friday 5 @ 5 Beer Tasting:
Lancaster Hop Hog, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Brooklyn Oktoberfest, Carib Lager, Miller Chill

Saturday, October 17 - 5:00 - 8:00pm
Rick's Wine, Alexandria
Beer Tasting:
Victory Moonglow Weizenbock, Moylan's Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, Victory Hop Wallop, Moylan's Moylander DIPA

Friday, October 17 - 5:30 - 7:30pm
Corks and Kegs, Richmond
Beer Tasting:
Rogue Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale, Bell's Special Double Cream Stout, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse Dark

Saturday, October 18 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Kybecca, Fredericksburg
Beer Tastings in 2 Locations:
William Street (Downtown):
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Bell's Two Hearted IPA, plus 1 Customer Choice
Plank Road (Next to Ukrops)
Victory Moonglow Weizenbock, Blue and Gray Borman's Belgian, plus 1 Customer Choice

Saturday, October 18 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Rick's Wine, Alexandria
Beer Tasting Featuring Brad Phillips of Sierra Nevada:
Sierra Nevada Porter, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale

Every Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Blue & Gray Brewery, Fredericksburg
Beer samples and brewery tours

Please support the folks who bring us these events. Let them know there is an active craft beer community in the area. When you attend any of these events, tell us about it in the comments, and be sure to let the proprietor know you heard about it here.
Have something to add? Let me know, my contact information is here.

Event schedules subject to change. Call ahead before traveling.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale

I haven't done a beer review in a while, but I tried a new beer this week that surprised me and I figured I'd share that find. It was a pleasant surprise, but unanticipated nonetheless. When I was in Durham for the World Beer Fest one of the beers I picked up to bring home was Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale. Colleen especially enjoys brown ales and we've enjoyed other Duck-Rabbit beers in the past, so it seemed a good choice. I tend to think of brown ales as exhibiting a smooth malt, caramel flavor with little hop bitterness. As soon as I poured the Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale, I knew we were in for something different. Of course, had I read the brewer's description beforehand, this would have been no surprise, but that would have certainly spoiled the fun of discovery.
The Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale is an American brown ale brewed with loads of hops from start to finish (it's hoppy and beautifully bitter). Amarillo hops in the boil provide a spicy citrusy bitterness. Saaz dry hops in the fermentor provide a refined flowery aroma. These hops are supported by a grain bill of seven varieties of malt. Oh yeah!

The beer pours a very dark brown, and is nearly opaque. The rich brown head is persistent and hangs around for the time it takes to drink the beer. The aroma brings brown sugar, dark fruits and citrusy hops to the nose. The flavor is most interesting. It opens with bitter chocolate and espresso. There's a prominent roasted character to the taste, with strong bitter hops in the finish. The roasted bitterness lingers and the finish is somewhat astringent. I thought the beer was just a bit over-carbonated but that didn't distract from my enjoyment.

The Duck-Rabbit interpretation of an American Brown Ale is interesting and enjoyable. It's somewhat stout-like with the espresso and roasted characteristics. The strong hop presence was an unexpected twist. The Amarillo hops are balanced quite well by the roasted malts. This is a beer I'd definitely drink again. And since there are still a few left in the refrigerator, I will, soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Twittering for Beer

Back in April I wrote that I was trying out the social network Twitter. Since then it's become a useful, and fun, part of my "beer networking." Through Twitter I've met numerous other craft beer fans. It's been a handy tool for meeting up with friends at beer fests and when I'm on the road. Many beer bloggers use Twitter as an extension of their blogs. A growing number of craft beer breweries have discovered Twitter as well. Flying Dog was an early adopter and remains very active sending updates about their beers, festivals, promotions, and other news. There are a large number of other breweries, large, small, and in planning, using Twitter to interact with fans. Here are a few that I've run across.

21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
Bell's Brewing, Kalamazoo, MI
Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Bridgeport Brewing, Portland, OR
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
Dogfish Head, Milton, DE
Epic Beer, Auckland, New Zealand
Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD
Full Steam, Durham, NC
Lift Bridge Brewery, Stillwater, MN
Marin Brewing Company, Larkspur, CA
Metro Brewing, Chicago, IL
Monday Night Brewery, Atlanta, GA
Moylan's Brewery, Novato, CA

There are certainly ones I've missed. If you are a brewery with a Twitter presence, or know of a brewery that posts to Twitter, feel free to add them in the comments. If you are a Twitter user, be sure to look for your favorite brewery.

One Step Backward for Beer Perceptions

I try not to repost too much from other beer blogs, but this is something I think deserves repeating. Jay Brooks gives the Today Show a solid, and well-deserved, trouncing for their segment "Best Microbrews For Fall." I've ranted in the past about poor drinking habits, or beer abuse, and the damage it does to the public's perception of beer and beer drinkers. This segment only serves to illustrate the point. Besides watching the hosts wrinkle their noses after nearly every sip, the most horrific point comes when one of the hosts drinks beer out of a construction hard hat fitted with bottle holders and tubes from which to drink. Just how clueless can they get? The Today Show goes from talking about "artisan production" to falling back to the same old alcohol abuse image the craft beer industry has been trying to overcome. That bit alone is enough to discredit the piece as any sort of serious beer journalism. Watch the segment below and judge for yourself.

Maybe Today should have added beer pong to the mix. I've often remarked how I enjoy seeing craft beer covered in the mainstream media. However, this piece is not showing advocacy of craft beer at all. (Granted, they never actually used the term "craft beer".) While I hardly consider the Today show to be a source of serious journalism, in this case viewers were seriously misled. A commenter on Jay's blog says "From our perspective, it’s better to have 5 million people exposed to beer as a topic, even though we might have changed the content of the segment had we had the opportunity to do so." I disagree, what good does it do to have 5 million viewers being misinformed about craft beer?

In fairness, the Today Show did do a respectable segment back in June with Marne Old and Sam Calagiane, but they took a step back with the latest piece.

Jay's analysis is here.
The Today Show segment is here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Aged Beer Assets

DCist had an interesting article recently on aging beer. "Liquid Assets: Aged Beer" gives some basic guidelines to help folks get started with putting away beer for future consumption. It's always interesting to see this information published for the mainstream, rather than in one of the usual beer-geek venues.
Technical details aside, this is all about maximizing your investment in flavor. In a time when many 401k plans are worth less than you've put into them, it's time to stash away some Imperial Stout for the rough years yet to come. Tasting the refined result is when you'll know that at least one of your investments has appreciated.

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Local GABF Winners

Well another Great American Beer Festival has come and gone. I didn't go to Denver, but was fun to attend vicariously through various craft beer blogs. Those of us enjoying our beer at home were also able to participate in the "not at GABF" Twitter stream. We even got to peak in on the gatherings at Falling Rock Tap House via their pub cam. This year's winners were announced on Saturday afternoon. 2902 beers were judged this year and 223 medals plus three Pro-Am medals were awarded. Many of our local breweries are among the winners.

Starr Hill Brewing of Crozet, VA. won a Silver medal for The Love, in the South German-Style Hefeweizen category. Also, in the Pro-Am category, Mark Thompson of Starr Hill and Fredericksburg resident Lyle Brown brought home a Silver for Lyle's Bamberg Hellerbock. Congratulations guys!

Our friends in Maryland put on a good showing as well. Flying Dog Ales in Frederick was awarded Gold for Dogtoberfest in the German-Style Märzen category. Flying Dog also received a Silver medal in American-Style Amber Lager for Old Scratch Amber Lager. Rock Bottom Brewery in Bethesda made a good showing with Silver for Right On Rye and a Gold for their Highland Courage Scottish Ale. I've never had either of the Rock Bottom beers so it would seem a drive up to Bethesda is in order. Rock Bottom and the Rock Bottom Brewing Team was deemed the Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year. Hugh Sisson and the gang at Clipper City in Baltimore received a Bronze for Clipper City BaltoMärzHon and a Silver for Clipper City Pale Ale. Capital City Brewing in D.C. took a Gold for their Honey Lager in the Specialty Honey Beer category.

Further afield, I was pleased to see that the Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC received a Silver medal. Highland beers aren't distributed locally, and we always look for them when we travel south. I happen to have on hand a couple of bottles of the Black Mocha Stout that we brought back from our recent trip to the Outer Banks. I'm looking forward to opening them even more now.

Congratulations to all of the winners.
You can download the complete GABF awards list here. A searchable database of the awards is here. How did your favorite breweries do?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Weekend Beer Events

The Great American Beer Festival is taking place in Denver Thursday through Saturday. If you're reading this, you're probably not at GABF. But that's okay, there are still things to do locally. In Timonium, MD the Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest is being held on Saturday.

And don't forget these free tastings sponsored by local retailers.

Friday, October 10 - 5:00 - 8:00pm
Total Wine, Fredericksburg
Friday 5 @ 5 Beer Tasting:
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest, Erdinger Weissbier, Lagunitas Only In It For The Money (a Belgian-style Tripel), Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat, Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Friday, October 10 - 5:30 - 7:30pm
Corks and Kegs, Richmond
Beer Tasting:
Floreffe Tripel Ale, Samuel Smiths Organic Cider, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Black Ale

Saturday, October 11 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Kybecca, Fredericksburg
Beer Tastings in 2 Locations:
William Street (Downtown):
Coney Island Freaktoberfest, Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale, plus 1 Customer Choice
Plank Road (Next to Ukrops)
Southern Tier Pumking Ale, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, plus 1 Customer Choice

Saturday, October 11 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Rick's Wine, Alexandria
French Artisanal Breweries Featuring Jocelyn Cambier, Importer:
Brasserie Mont-Blanc: Mont-Blanc La Verte
Brasserie Mandrin: Amber With Walnuts, Amber With Pine Tree Buds & Needles
Brasserie La Sancerroise: Rose Blanche, La Drolesse, Val d'Or, au Gruyt
Brasserie du Bouffay: L'Orge Du Bouffay Organic
Brasserie St. Rieul: Grand Cru

Every Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Blue & Gray Brewery, Fredericksburg
Beer samples and brewery tours

Please support the folks who bring us these events. Let them know there is an active craft beer community in the area. When you attend any of these events, tell us about it in the comments, and be sure to let the proprietor know you heard about it here.
Have something to add? Let me know, my contact information is here.

Event schedules subject to change. Call ahead before traveling.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Historical (or Hysterical) Health Claims for Beer

The father and son team over at Dr. Beer Love recently did a review of Pilsner Urquell and wrote about an alleged benefit of drinking "The Original Pilsner."
Because of it's water source, Pilsner Urquell has been used throughout Europe by many people to help dissolve kidney stones and gall stones. The water source comes from the nearby city of Marianske Lazne (visit their official web site), which is a spa town where people go to drink the local spring water for it's health benefits. Not just the plebians of the town, but world dignitaries, royalty from many countries and other famous people as well. The visits are actually doctor prescribed in many instances.

Pilsner Urquell has been produced since 1842, but classic American beers weren't lacking in the health claims arena. Note the claims in this 1930's ad for Schlitz Beer "with sunshine vitamin-D." The fine print in the ad states "Schlitz brewer's yeast contains pro-vitamin D which is activated directly by the ultra-violet rays of the sun to form Vitamin D." I'm assuming the beer had to be left out in the sun in order gain the health benefits. That's bad news of course since we also know that sunlight affects the hops in beer to give us skunked beer. I guess drinkers in the 30's had a tradeoff to make between health and taste. The Schlitz Brewing Company has recently brought back the classic 1960's formula for their beer. Alas, it doesn't appear to contain "sunshine vitamin-D."

Hat tip to Serious Eats for the Schlitz ad.

The LDA: The issue is responsibility, not age

There's an editorial published at that's sure to raise some eyebrows. Will Wilkinson suggests that instead of lowering the legal drinking age, consideration should be given to doing away with it all together. This is sure to get a raised eyebrow from neo-prohibitionist groups like MADD, and even from those who support lowering the LDA to 18. Wilkinson explains:
UCLA professor of public policy Mark Kleiman, an ex-advocate of age restrictions, told PBS that he came around to the no-limits position when he saw a billboard that said, "If you're not 21, it's not Miller Time--yet." Age limits make drinking a badge of adulthood and build in the minds of teens a romantic sense of the transgressive danger of alcohol. That's what so often leads to the abuse of alcohol as a ritual of release from the authority of parents. And that's what has the college presidents worried. They see it.

That's not a new argument against the 21 LDA, but it certainly takes it more than a few steps further. However, the more interesting point of the editorial to me, is the connection to be made with driving and responsibility. This speaks to the original, and agreeable, purpose behind MADD, reducing the deaths from mixing alcohol and cars. Driving and drinking don't mix. I doubt you'll get many arguments there. However, driving and a car full of teens doesn't mix either. Neither does driving and texting, or putting on makeup, or reading a newspaper. Perhaps it's time to put the focus on responsibility when driving. Says Wilkinson:
Drinking by itself just isn't very dangerous. But driving is. Despite more relaxed drinking-age laws, the EU, according to Miron and Tetelbaum, averaged 95 fatalities per million inhabitants in the past decade while the U.S. experienced 150 fatalities per million. The big difference is that in many EU countries you have to wait until 18 to get behind the wheel. If you're worried about car wrecks, regulate drivers.

The consumption of alcohol isn't bad in and of itself. It's what you do in conjunction. So much effort from MADD and others is focused on telling us that young people aren't responsible enough to consume alcohol. The problem is that they aren't taught to be responsible for their actions. It's been my observation that most drunk driving arrests aren't of teens, but supposed adults. Teen deaths from car accidents have more to do with speed than alcohol.

The debate over the LDA in this country is heating up, thanks in no small part to the Amethyst Initiative. I am happy to see it brought to the forefront and editorials like this one will only serve to keep the conversation going. It doesn't matter if you agree with the premise or not. The first step in solving a problem is understanding it.

The complete Forbes article is here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hunting the Wild Hop

With all the focus on the commercially cultivated hops used in our favorite beverages, and the shortage of same, it's interesting to note that the common hop plant, Humulus lupulus, is found growing throughout the United States and Canada. The United States Department of Agriculture PLANTS database distribution map shows this perennial vine as being found in 45 of the lower 48 States. Three native varieties, along with one introduced form, are listed. Here in Virginia, the distribution covers much of the center of the state.

I'm not aware of any home brewers harvesting native hops, nor do I know what flavors would be imparted. However, it would seem probable that early colonists might have used the native plants in their beers. Brewers and brewsters throughout history have made use of native flora to flavor their fermented beverages.

PLANTS Profile for Humulus lupulus (common hop) at USDA PLANTS

Illustration from USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 633

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Year of Musing

Today, October 6, marks the one year anniversary of the launch of "Musings Over A Pint." It hardly seems like a year has passed. Coincidently, this post marks my 300th post to the blog. Is there any significance to either milestone? Probably only to me.

What has the past year wrought? The first thing that comes to mind is the many new friends I've made through posting here. Some of those people I still know only via the "net", but more than a few I've had the pleasure of meeting in person. The folks who appreciate good beer are, in general, a friendly lot. I've thoroughly enjoyed the trips I've made and events I've attended. I think it's safe to say that I may not have been as active had it not been for the extra push that blogging provided.

Writing this blog has certainly been an educational experience. I've learned a lot over the past year. Of course, I like to think I've shared useful information and helped to educate others as well, and hopefully have introduced a few people to the pleasures of craft beer. I do know that a few of my friends have given up on frosted mugs! That in itself is sufficient reward.

What will the next year bring? Hard to say for sure. I hope to visit even more festivals and breweries. The Virginia beer scene is growing fast and I plan to continue to share that news as it happens. I will continue to discover new beers to enjoy. And most importantly, I hope to develop more new friendships with readers who share my interest in good beer. If there's something you'd like to see on this blog, your suggestions are always welcome.

Cheers. And thanks for reading.

World Beer Festival - Durham 2008

This weekend three friends and I headed south to attend the World Beer Festival in Durham, North Carolina. As Frank, Jerry and I did last Spring when we attended the WBF in Raleigh, we made a weekend getaway of it.

Cris, Frank, Jerry and I started our trip on Friday afternoon. Our first stop in Durham was Sam's Quik Mart where we stocked up on beers we can't buy in Virginia. After checking into our hotel, the four of us headed over to Tyler's Tap Room. Tyler's was highly recommended due to it's extensive beer list and the beer list didn't disappoint. We enjoyed several "flights" of assorted beers before settling on standard servings of beer with dinner. After dinner we moved over to Tyler's Speakeasy to spend several hours playing pool and enjoying more good beers. A WBF brewer's reception was taking place on the outside patio. Though I wasn't on the guest list I did get to talk to many of the attendees as they walked in and out of the party. During the evening I also finally got to meet in person Stephanie Kerchner from Flying Dog Brewery. Stephanie is the kind person who regularly sends me samples of new Flying Dog beer. She's an enthusiastic promoter of Flying Dog beers and events.

Saturday it was time for the weekend's main event. We had tickets to the afternoon session, noon - 4:00PM. After a hearty breakfast we walked over to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park about an hour before the starting time. When we arrived there was no line yet, but that quickly changed as folks started arriving and the line quickly grew and wrapped around the stadium. About 30 minutes before opening WBF staff came out to check ID's and issue wristbands. (A note to wristband volunteers, the wristband should not cut into the wearer's circulation. A few of us had our overly tight bands replaced when we next saw an ID checker.) Before the gates opened our bar-coded tickets were scanned and we were issued green admission tickets. Both of these pre-opening procedures serve to speed getting through the gates at opening time. Hope for a fast entry process was a topic overheard in the line, and those hopes were fulfilled.

Once inside we funneled down the stadium steps onto the infield where the tents were set up. The entire festival ground was covered by interlocking plastic tiles. This "flooring" provided a clean and comfortable surface. I spoke with Julie Bradford, the festival co-producer, about these tiles. She told me they were new to the stadium, and in fact, when used short term, are actually good for the turf. The tiles aerate the turf and prevent it from being compressed by all the foot traffic.

We spent the next 4 hours trying out new beers, and revisiting old favorites. It was also a good time to talk with friends, both new and old. I'm sure there were as many picks for stand out beers as there were attendees. I won't even attempt to go in to all the good beers. I don't take many notes while enjoying a festival. I was pleased to see that Old Dominion Brewing was in attendance and had brought along some "specialty beers." I was told that the special tap would have three different beers throughout the afternoon, though I only managed to get by the booth once, for the Bourbon Barrel Aged Robust Porter. This porter had a bourbon aroma and a smooth, roasted flavor. The bourbon flavor was reserved and well-balanced. It's nice to know that the brewers at Old Dominion are still producing creative beers. Dominion brewery gets a lot of grief from local beer lovers, a lot of it based on internet hearsay and emotion. However, the talented brewers there are still producing unique and special beers.

A brewery I was surprised to see represented was New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado. They sent just one beer, their Fat Tire Amber Ale. New Belgium does not ship any of its beers east of the Mississippi. Fat Tire is the most well-known of the New Belgium beers, but I would have like to have seen some of their other beers as well. Folks on the east coast frequently lament the absence of New Belgium beers, and the booth at the festival was very busy, even with just the one beer. I asked the person pouring the Fat Tire about their presence at the festival even though the beers aren't distributed here, and was told simply "Wait 90 days."

I met up with Thomas Vincent, who writes the Geistbear Brewing Blog. Thomas and I had arranged via Twitter to meet up. Between his trademark fedora and the bright orange shirt I wore we found each other easily. It's always fun to meet fellow beer bloggers and Thomas and I had an enjoyable conversation. I also ran into bloggers Lew Bryson, Jay Brooks, and Rick Lyke, though we didn't get to chat much.

There were close to 150 breweries from all over the US and many other countries represented at the 13th Annual World Beer Festival. There were many North Carolina and other eastern breweries in attendance. Despite the "World" appellation, the local beer community provides the foundation for WBF. This year's event location was changed late in the game to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The organizers did an exceptional job in putting together a well-organized and well-laid out festival despite the last minute change in venue. I was speaking with a beer industry leader recently who told me that, after GABF, the World Beer Festival in Durham was perhaps the next best beer festival in the US. I've not been privileged to attend a lot of beer fests, but I can say that WBF is indeed exceptional. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Pictures often tell a better story than words. I've posted some pictures from the World Beer Festival here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Beer Events

The 9th annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest takes place in Arlington on Saturday. Also on Saturday is the World Beer Festival in Durham. It's too bad I can't be in two places at once as both of these events will be a lot of fun. I will be in Durham at the WBF and look forward to seeing many of you there.

In addition, these local retailer tasting events offer even more opportunities for trying out some new beers.

Friday, October 3 - 5:00 - 8:00pm
Total Wine, Fredericksburg
Friday 5 @ 5 Beer Tasting:
Wild Goose IPA, Fiddler’s Green IPA, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Wild Goose Pumpkin Ale, Saranac Octoberfest

Friday, October 3 - 5:30 - 7:30pm
Corks and Kegs, Richmond
Beer Tasting:
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, Alvinne Extra IPA

Saturday, October 4 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Kybecca, Fredericksburg
Beer Tastings in 2 Locations:
William Street (Downtown):
Brasserie D'Oc La Mousska, Mandrin Biere au sapin, plus 1 Customer Choice
Plank Road (Next to Ukrops)
Brasserie D'Oc La Mousska, Mandrin Biere au sapin, plus 1 Customer Choice

Saturday, October 4 - 12:00 - 6:00 pm
Total Wine, Fredericksburg
Oktoberfest Beer Tasting:
Wild Goose IPA, Fiddler’s Green IPA, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Wild Goose Pumpkin Ale, Saranac Octoberfest and more

Saturday, October 4 - 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Rick's Wine, Alexandria
Beer Tasting
Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Bell's Cherry Stout, Bell's Expedition Stout, Lagunitas Imperial Red,

Every Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Blue & Gray Brewery, Fredericksburg
Beer samples and brewery tours

Please support the folks who bring us these events. Let them know there is an active craft beer community in the area. When you attend any of these events, tell us about it in the comments, and be sure to let the proprietor know you heard about it here.
Have something to add? Let me know, my contact information is here.

Event schedules subject to change. Call ahead before traveling.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Beer in Colonial Virginia

Frank Clark is the historic foodways supervisor for Colonial Williamsburg. He is also the author of a research paper entitled "A Most Wholesome Liquor: Beer and Ale in 18th-Century England and America". The, a Hampton Roads news site, has excerpts from the paper, and interviews with Clark, in "Brewing back through time":
Who was drinking beer back then? Most people — although it wasn't necessarily recognizable as what we think of as beer today. Servants and slaves were given weak beer as part of their daily ration, or as payment, Clark said. Inventory records from the Williamsburg governor's palace show that beer was being brewed on the grounds, and imported beers were being stored there. Home brew went to the servants. Imports were probably reserved for the governor, his family and friends.

Clark will lead occasional presentations this fall in Colonial Williamsburg. The demonstrations are held at the Governor's Palace scullery. In "The Art and Mysteries of Brewing" interpreters discuss the place of beer in colonial life, demonstrate colonial brewing techniques, and actually brew an 18th century-style beer.

See the complete article at for more information on colonial beer and the program at Colonial Williamsburg.

A Few Evenings in Denver

I spent a few days in Denver this week on business. As I usually do, I managed to work in some beer stops as well. On Monday evening, my first stop was the Great Divide Tap Room. There I enjoyed a Hercules Double IPA. Hercules is one of my favorite beers and since Great Divide is no longer available in Virginia, at least one stop at the Tap Room is a must anytime I'm in Denver. There's no food at the Tap Room so my visit was cut short by a need for food. I walked down to the Breckenridge Brewpub for dinner. There I opted the Breckenridge 471 ESB and a buffalo burger. I started playing football bingo and got sucked into Monday Night Football. I only managed to get through the first half since the time zone difference was catching up to me.

Tuesday evening started out with a quick dinner of Empanadas and a Great Divide Denver Pale Ale at Buenos Aires Pizza. One of my beer goals for this trip was to have Russian River Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder, both of which I've never had before. I strolled over to Falling Rock Tap House where I had been told both beers are on tap. Unfortunately the Blind Pig was out but they did have Pliny the Elder. I was very surprised by just how smooth the Pliny was. It was not as "extreme" as I had expected. There was no clue, in the taste anyway, that this is an 8% ABV beer.

On Wednesday, my last evening in Denver, I headed over to Great Divide once again. Even though the official release party wasn't until Friday evening, they did have this year's Fresh Hop Ale and Hibernation Ale available. (Thanks to The Full Pint for the heads up.) I enjoyed a bottle of Hibernation. This limited release beer has a mild toffee aroma with a hint of chocolate. The taste was mildly sweet malt with the hop bitterness coming through in the finish. I enjoyed it very much but there was time for only one. I did also have a sample of the Fresh Hop Ale. Since I had originally expected to miss the release of these two beers this was really a surprise treat.

After the short visit to Great Divide I caught the light rail to meet up with Josh Mishell of Flying Dog Brewery for dinner. Josh and I headed over to Great Northern in Denver's Tech Center. The beer list at Great Northern is pretty impressive, especially for a restaurant, and the food is excellent. I enjoyed another new-to-me beer, Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Amber Ale. The Amber Ale was smooth malt up front with a moderately bitter hop finish. We were joined by Neal Stewart, also from Flying Dog, and enjoyed a very pleasant evening talking about beer, Twitter, blogging, and many other topics.

I had a great time in Denver, as always. As luck would have it, I was there the week before the Great American Beer Festival. This timing of my trip to Denver is not unusual. Last year I ended up with a trip to Denver the week after the GABF. That's okay, there's always next year.

And now to rest for a day before heading to Durham, NC for the World Beer Festival.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Giveaway

The response to the September giveaway was so good I decided to do it again. For October I'll give away one of the new pint glasses from Blue & Gray Brewery. The Blue & Gray logo is etched on to the glass so it will never wash off.

To be entered in this drawing, simply submit a comment during the month of October for any post on this blog. I'll select one submission at random at the end of the month. Each accepted and published comment will be counted as an entry in the drawing. Good luck and enjoy!

And the winner for September is ...

The randomly selected winner of the "The American Brew" DVD is Ryan Leaman of Fredericksburg. There were 54 comments posted in September, from 30 different people. Congratulations to Ryan, your DVD will be in the mail soon. Thanks to everyone one who participated.