Bonfire Brewing out of Eagle, Colo., has jumped on the Tim Tebow bandwagon with its “Tebrew” barley wine. The logo features “a man crouching as if in prayer but holding up a mug of beer, with the tagline ‘The Sunday Sipper.’ ” Is there anything Tebow can’t do? No. Here’s the story via the Associated Press:
EAGLE, Colo. – A beer inspired by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has produced big interest for a small brewery in Colorado’s mountains.
Bonfire Brewing’s “Tebrew” is a barley wine, a high-alcohol type of beer. Tebrew has a logo featuring a man crouching as if in prayer but holding up a mug of beer, with the tagline “The Sunday Sipper.“
Bonfire Brewing, in Eagle, Colo., plans to enter the barley wine for competition at the Jan. 7 Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival in Vail. The Vail Daily reports that after the brewery put the logo on its Facebook page, calls started pouring in seeking the limited brew.
“It’s been great for the brewery, great for Eagle and great for the state,” brewery co-founder Andy Jessen said.
Jessen acknowledged that he doesn’t know whether Tebow drinks beer or not. He said the brew is more about fans and football than the player.
“It’s just a good time to be in Colorado and be a football fan here,” Jessen said.
Brewery owners say they’re flattered by the attention, but the batch is only 150 gallons. “Tebrew” is available only at the festival and at the small brewery’s tasting room, in 10 ounce servings.
“In the style of 4th quarter heroics, we’re waiting until the last minute to serve it up,” according to the brewery’s Facebook description of Tebrew.
The brewery is also selling T-shirts and mugs featuring the logo.
- Matt Pritchard
Oregon’s homebrew community is in shock after the Oregon Liquor Control Commission resurrected an old law that forbids homebrewers from consuming their product anywhere other than where they brewed it. This has caused the closer of homebrew contests around the state and at various fairs.
It turns out that the issue may have come to light when Deschutes Brewing Company employees called the OLCC about the legality of a homebrew event on the brewery’s premise.
Here’s Deschutes Brewing Company owner Gary Fish’s explanation:
“The real story is that Deschutes Brewery contacted the OLCC to ensure that a homebrewers forum we were planning during American Craft Beer Week was legal. Given the rules we are bound to as licensee of the OLCC and as a responsible member of the brewing community, we always want to make sure that we understand the intricacies of the OLCC’s regulations. After a three-minute conversation with an OLCC representative, we were told that the agency would call us back with further information. This never happened, and the planned event was dropped as a result.
“The bottom line is that we were attempting to create an event celebrating homebrewing, and our roots in this culture. We were never contacted by any media outlets to clarify this story and the reasons for our inquiry. We hope that these OLCC laws will change in the near future, as recent coverage has suggested, and that homebrewers can continue to share their creations with the world.” – Gary Fish
Here is what I think. These ridiculous laws need to come to light. Without being aware of the laws, no one has any idea of how to work with the law or how to figure out how to change the law. The folks from Deschutes were covering their collective butts, which is a good thing. That it led to restrictions on homebrewers is unfortunate. However, now the lawmakers in Oregon that are promising change can focus in on these hangers on and change them.
Lesson for Montana: Well, this is where it gets sticky. Do you just not call for fear of awakening law enforcement, or do we explore the full Montana beer law to see if we can modernize it? I tend to lean toward the second. Let’s explore the full beer law and lobby for change instead of waiting around to see if someone will find that obscure law that could shut us down.
My friend Josh Quick, a very talented artist from Missoula, and I have been having an ongoing argument about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to alcohol use. From my angle, I’ve long held that craft beer is more expensive and specialized and therefore not to be blamed for many of the societal ills often attributed to alcohol consumption. Josh argues that it’s all the same.
One of the things about Montana that I’ve been lauding since I moved here is the freedom to take your kids to taprooms. Adults are allowed to have 48 oz of beer or three pints, depending on how the taproom measures pints, and kids can get root beer or ginger ale. What I like about this is that it reminds me of growing up in Europe, where kids spend time at pubs and ale houses with their parents. While alcohol abuse is on the rise in Europe, it’s still way behind the U.S. I believe, and it’s just a personal opinion, that kids that are exposed to socially responsible drinking are more likely to become socially responsible drinkers themselves. I have no way to prove this, but I’ve certainly seen this in my friends who grew up with parents who did not hide their drinking but did so responsibly and who talked to their children about it. I was probably a young teenager the first time my dad made me a shandy, (beer and orange juice) while we were painting a house together on a hot summer day. There were half glasses of wine with Christmas dinner and on other social occasions before I was 21.
I’ve also seen the other side of this. Friends whose parents left them in the car while they drank at the bar or who became abusive because after over consumption of alcohol. Kids learn by what they see there parents doing, and many of these kids turned out to be binge drinkers who exhibited many of the same habits their parents passed along to them. Again, this isn’t scientific, it’s just observation.
Josh Quick recently posted this cartoon on his blogspot.
After rereading the cartoon several times, I think I understand where he’s coming from. Cigarette companies and the makers of alcopops have long been accused of subversive advertising to children. And nothing stirs up our anger like a business trying to get your kids to try their product. Around the state, there are a few taprooms that might fall under the description that Josh depicts in his cartoon. However, if you look at those places, they are a family run facility where the brewer’s children spend parts of their day at the family business. This is how it went down in the good old days before industrialization. The other aspect to consider here is the type of person likely to visit a Montana tap room. They are probably between 30 and 50 years old with several children. They are busy, but they love their craft beer. They are social and they value their time with others as well as with their children. When this is the model of the patron that pays your bills, you’ll likely cater to their needs a little more. If your clientèle is college age or twenty somethings, you’re more likely to cater to their wishes, which are likely fewer than those older, family oriented patrons. Again, this is just a theory, but I’ve seen this in most of the Montana taprooms that I’ve visited.
I for one enjoy spending time with my kids, and if after a long hike I want to go to the taproom and enjoy a beer with my wife and a few friends and I drag my kids along with me, and if that taproom happens to have ginger ale or root beer or chalkboard walls for kids to draw on or a few toys for the little ones to play with, then great. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please send me a note here at GrizzlyGrowler.com or vote on my poll and submit your thoughts as a comment.
So I’ve been asked quite a few times about a new brewery or beer produced in Missoula. In fact, last night at Big Sky Brewing Company, a number of patrons of the taproom were chatting happily about some newfangled beer about to make its appearance in our town.
Here’s what I know. Earlier this week I was approached by the members of a certain social networking club here in Missoula. They wanted to run a little contest featuring two kinds of Search Engine Optimization. Basically, one person is using good practices like providing content on a website that is related to beer. This is known as “White hat SEO.” The second person is using techniques that are a bit underhanded to get more page views. Things like meta tags that don’t have anything to do with the site but that are likely to garner page views. This is known as “Black hat SEO.”
The bottom line here is that there is no new Missoula brewery or beer that I’m aware of. The names of the beers in this case are Social Media Stout, Facebook Doppelbock and White Hat Pale Ale. I’m not going to link to the site, because it’s exactly what they want to run their contest. And I’m not against the contest on general principle. I’m simply disappointed they chose to mislead people with a fake web site that is causing a lot of rumors around town. Frankly I think that’s irresponsible.
Someone asked if I’m jealous of their page views or if their project hurts me. The answer is no. My blog has been around for three years and has well over 900 entries with all kinds of information about Montana breweries. It takes years to build up a following, and they’ll likely either let the site mold after they’re done or take it down. Either way, the Grizzly Growler is the place to go for information about Missoula beer.
According to this excellent piece in BeerNews.org, Redhook Brewing Company is making an Eisbock, a lager-style beer that uses ice distilling to create very smooth, high-alcohol beers. It’s a technique that’s technically illegal in the U.S. because of prohibition-era laws. It’s also fodder for those crusading against alcapops, those high-gravity malt beverages some allege are marketed to young people.
My gut feeling is that this beer will be overly expensive, due to the production costs, and that it will not be readily available around the country.
Read the BeerNews.org article for more information about the legalities of brewing ice beers.
A controversial blog post by a beverage distribution company has stirred up the craft beer world with a question about how many breweries/beers is too many. In this blogger’s opinion, it’s a very good question. Here’s why: There is a big difference between distributed beer and breweries that brew only for on-premise consumption.
The list of American breweries operating currently comes in around 600 strong. That’s a lot of beer, but not too much. Unless you consider that every one of those brewery owners wants to become the next Sierra Nevada, New Belgium or Widmer, then it might be too many.
The craft beer distribution world is a messy place filled with an almost political sense of importance when it comes to product placement. Budweiser and Coors are known to pay off and even intimidate some distributors to give shelf-space favor to their products. When you consider that, the almost overwhelming number of craft breweries that have their beer distributed seems like a nightmare.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the American dream of taking your brewery from a small, local producer of craft beers to a national favorite. But if given the choice of touring a world-class brewing facility like the one at Sierra Nevada, or sitting back and enjoying a pint with friends in a small-town brewery like Blacksmith Brewing Company in Stevensville, Montana, I’ll always take the latter.
I can’t question the commitment to quality of the large-scale craft breweries, but I happen to know the smaller producers brew with the enjoyment on their customers’ faces in mind every day. You can see it in the progression of their products and the personal communication available at that level. Of course it’s unreal to expect every community to have a small-scale brewer that just serves the community, but I have to honor the ones that are out there doing just that.
Some exist in the shadow of giants, Bend Brewing Company comes to mind, nestled as it is under the all-powerful eye of Deschutes Brewing Company. And others, like Helena’s Blackfoot River Brewing Company, distribute very lightly in a few cities around the state of Montana.
All I really want to do here is weigh in on subject with the reminder that not everyone wants to become the next big thing. Some are content to be the best thing in their area. And I like that.
As far as I can tell, pumpkin ale goes back to the time of George Washington and perhaps farther. Particularly brewed around harvest, these so-called spiced ales reflected the need to use up as many resources as possible so that nothing was wasted. You see, pumpkin doesn’t actually add that much flavor to a beer. Often what you’re tasting in the beer is spices added by the brewer. These spices give the taste and feel of pumpkin pie rather than the sweet, buttery taste of the gourd.
The funny thing is that spiced ales are much older, and certain spiced ales have been associated with certain holidays and festivals, especially harvest and solstice. In my opinion, pumpkin beer is a novelty that has become somewhat mainstream because the flavors invoke fall, harvest, celebration, oncoming winter and festivities. Just look at the way people get excited about pumpkin lattes at Starbucks. Read more about the popularity of pumpkin beer in this article.
It brings up a good question though. Do you think pumpkin ales are a seasonal gem or a bad blend?
Anybody know of any Montana breweries doing a pumpkin ale this year?
I’ve always said that if I were to wake up suddenly allergic to seafood, I’d go to Boston, gather up all the ingredients for a fine bouillabaisse and go out in style.
But if that were a hop allergy, I’d search out the best medical doctors, read up on the latest convergence of science and medicine, opt for a total-body transplant, anything to be able to continue to consume beverages with hops in them.
Why the sudden fear about hop allergies? I’d never met someone allergic to hops until yesterday. A co-worker told me a horrific story about her 21st birthday, which ended with her blue in a bathtub suffering anaphylactic shock. From hops no less.
So what is a person to do if they’re allergic to hops? Drink an Oregon IPA and go out in style? Not necessarily. Think back, way back to when people brewed without hops. Never, you say? Actually, hops haven’t been around nearly as long as beer has. Early beers were often brewed with gruits, mixtures of herbs and other plants that had medicinal and preservative qualities.
Called gruit or grut ales, these bad boys could be anything from aphrodisiac to cancer-curing libations of the gods. Offering a different kind of buzz than hopped ales, grut ales gradually went out of style after the reformation and something called the purity laws.
The American craft beer revolution certainly did its part to bring back that tradition, and there are a few examples available today. But your most likely source of gruit ales is your local homebrew club or these fine British examples.
Check out this site for other great gruit ales and other historic beers with and without hops.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. There is a beer for everyone, even people with hop allergies.
Utah became the 46th state to legalize homebrewing recently, according to the Brewer’s Association, along with other significant changes to the state’s alcohol policies.
This encourages me, because if a state like Utah, with a lot of religious interests mixed in with its government, can do it, it gives me hope for Montana.
But it also begs the question, are the two different animals or just different sides of the same animal?
Montana’s alcohol policies, like most states, were born out of prohibition. But, Utah’s policies were crafted and honed by the interests of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a religious group that discourages the practice of drinking alcohol and other beverages.
Montana’s policies have been crafted and honed by the voice of the the Montana Tavern Owners Association, and the laws are fundamentally embedded in anti-competitive legislation that caters to the needs of one particular group of business owners.
In some ways, Utah is putting Montana to shame, because the state, which is largely politically controlled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is progressive enough to recognize the craft brewing industry’s impact on the state financially.
Good-’ol-boy politics in Montana are hindering true economic reform in the area of beer tourism, and though the passage of HB400, which allows brewers a few concessions, like brewing higher-gravity beer, is a good thing, it’s a far cry from the laws recently changed in Utah.
By the way, HB 400 just awaits the governor’s signature, and those of us who love craft beer should see Chimay’s blue and white labels along with other beers available in area grocery stores again.
And, just for fun, since the federal government legalized homebrewing in 1978, just four states continue to ban the practice. They are; Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
Let’s tip one back to our beleaguered friends in those states and hope that they can all be inspired by Utah, of all places.