Harry Caray liked beer you know.

Our mission at The BeerFathers is to teach you to stop worrying and love the beer. Our secondary mission is to drink a lot of beer. Our tertiary mission is to give you ratings on those beers - objective, unbiased, opinionated, prejudiced ratings based on what we find good about beer. Take it with a grain of salt or preferably one of those big beer pretzels they sell in Munich. Those things are great.

And recently from the Beer Blog...

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Craft Beer – a Hopumentary

By John on June 12, 2013 (No Comments)

An absolutely fantastic video here called “Craft Beer – A Hopumentary” will get your juices flowing about craft beer.

The video itself is amazing for its content, editing, and overall production value, but the thing that really sticks out to me are the on-screen text facts that made it into the video:

  • In 1887, there were over 2,000 breweries in the U.S.
  • By the early 1980’s, there were little more than 100 breweries supplying in the U.S.
  • In 2012, there were more than 2,300 breweries operating in the country.
  • Craft breweries produce 7% of the beer sold in the U.S. but they employ 50% of all brewery employees.
  • Craft beer sales have nearly doubled in the last 5 years from $5.7 billion in 2007 to $12 billion in 2012.

Think about that folks, in a little over a hundred years we’ve finally made it back to where we were before Prohibition. The sky’s the limit now. It’s a good time to be into craft beer.

Prost!

P.S. Like the way I didn’t post an update on the site for an entire year and a half and then posted a new one like nothing happened? Would have gotten away with it too if my guilty conscience didn’t make me type this. Sorry!

Craft Beer – a Hopumentary Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Delirium Tremens

By John & Dad on November 14, 2011 (3 Comments)

Literally, Delirium Tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental and nervous system changes. It’s actually Latin for “shaking frenzy” and the main symptoms are confusion, diarrhea, insomnia, nightmares, disorientation, agitation, visual hallucinations, and extremely intense feelings of impending doom or imminent death.

That said, Delirium Tremens is not just a vicious medical condition, it’s also an incredibly awesome name for a beer. A beer we’re reviewing here today at The BeerFathers. A beer we’re happy to report led to none of those symptoms, though it did lead to us writing a very bad adage.

Delirium Tremens comes from the Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium, which makes a variety of other beers in the Delirium series including Delirium Nocturnum and Delirium Noel (aka Delirium Christmas), both of which are darker than their brother.

Delirium Tremens weighs in at 8.5% ABV in an 11.2 oz bottle (it also comes in a 750 ml bottle as well). It’s a great looking bottle – speckled white glass with a light blue foil over the cap and neck and little pink elephants all over the bottle (seeing pink elephants is a euphemism for a drunken hallucination cause by, you guessed it, Delirium Tremens). You can’t miss it on the shelf.

For this review dad and I used a snifter glass and got a starting beer temperature of 55.2 F. Opening the bottle got us a foaming cascade of beer so we quickly got our initial pour into our glass resulting in a large 2″ frothy white head that left no lacing as it dissipated quickly. The color is a hazy straw yellow and there is a lively amount of carbonation in the beer. There’s a good bit of flotsam and jetsam in the beer as well – enough sediment actually that it reminds us of the Brasserie Des Rocs that went a little overboard in that department. We’re more okay with it now than we were then though.

For our aromas we got biscuit, honey, citrus (both lemon and orange), yeast, light bubble gum, coriander, light ginger, peach, pear, light pepper, light apricot, spices and a hint of white wine. It smells a lot like a Duvel and that’s not a bad thing at all.

For our initial flavors we got a moderate to heavy sweet followed in the finish by a heavy sweet, very light bitter and light tart. For our tastes we stayed pretty true to the smells – biscuit, honey, citrus (lemon and orange), yeast, light alcohol, ginger, peach, pear, light pepper, light apricot, spices and a light white wine. There’s lots of light fruits in this bad boy with lots of nice light notes combined with a good heavy sweetness. It’s tremendous.

The finish length is average, the mouthfeel is creamy, the tongue hit is in the very back and there’s not much body lacing to speak of. On our patented malt to hop scale it comes in 3 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side. Very sweet indeed.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again. The only no was to wow factor. Repeatable is a questionable yes too – nothing taste-wise would keep us from repeating it, but the alcohol content might.

Do we recommend it? An emphatic, drunken, falling down yes. It’s perfect as it warms and a very enjoyable beer experience. We’d like to say there were no reportable symptoms of the alcohol but we were feeling pretty good after this one, perhaps because we consumed it rather quickly due to the extremely pleasant taste. That said the alcohol did yield one side effect – a little adage parody we wrote: Delirium at night, malt lover’s delight. Delirium in the morning, malt lovers take warning.

We apologize for the adage. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.

Delirium Tremens Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Mother Earth Weeping Willow Wit

By John & Dad on October 31, 2011 (No Comments)

We’re back on the beer review wagon, after being off the wagon for a few months. Technically, I suppose we’re now off the beer review wagon after having been on the wagon, but I for one have never fully grasped the meaning of the whole on/off the wagon phrase, much like Seinfeld:

Jerry: Yeah. He’s been off the wagon for two years.

George: “Off the wagon”?

Jerry: I think it’s off the wagon.

George: I think it’s on the wagon.

Later…

Elaine: One drink like that and he could fall right off the wagon.

George: Told you.

Then…

Jerry: Oh, wait a second, I believe we have a heckler ladies and gentlemen. Hey Dick I don’t know what your problem is. It’s not my fault you’re back on the wagon.

Dick: It’s off the wagon.

Jerry: In the old days how do you think they got the alcohol from town to town?

Dick: I don’t know.

Jerry: On the wagon. Don’t you think they broke into a couple of those bottles along the way?

Dick: You can’t drink on a wagon it would be too bumpy.

Jerry: They had smooth trails. What about the Cumberland Gap?

Dick: What the hell do you know about wagons?

Jerry: I know enough not to get on them.

For the record and for your edification, “On the wagon” means abstaining from alcohol, something your BeerFathers have most definitely not done. This whole thing was a just segue to distract from the fact that our last written beer review was over 5 months ago. Consider yourself distracted and off the wagon.

So the Mother Earth Weeping Willow Wit, huh? Actually it is quite a good beer. It’s the first Mother Earth Brewing product we’ve tried and we were very impressed. It’s made here in Son Beer Love’s own backyard, so to speak – Eastern North Carolina.

The Weeping Willow Wit comes in a 12 oz bottle and costs $1.79/each. It weighs in at 5% ABV, though that number is not listed on their bottle or web site. We’re basing that off what we see at Beer Advocate. Interesting that they don’t list it as most American craft beers go overboard in giving ABVs, IBUs, Platos, specific gravity, etc. Our bottled on date was 8/10 (we actually reviewed this on 5/12/2011). For our review we used a weizen glass and on our initial pour we got an average 1 1/2″ foamy white head that dissipated quickly and left no head lacing in the process. There was a soft amount of carbonation and a good hazy straw/yellow body. Looks really good. Our initial temperature was 45.4 F.

Our initial aromas came in with a light biscuit, straw, wheat, lemon, lavender, mint, orange zest, yeast, light bubble gum, clove, light ginger, coriander, and pepper. A great witbier formula. We noticed some distinct aroma differences when we got a good swirl going that produced more orange notes compared to sitting still where we got more lemon notes.

For our initial flavors we got a light sweet and a very light bitter followed in the finish by a very light sweet, light bitter and very light tart. Our initial tastes ran pretty true to the aromas – a light biscuit, straw, wheat, lemon, light mint, orange zest, light yeast, light bubble gum, clove, ginger, coriander and pepper. Very refreshing.

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is oily, and the tongue hit is in the front. The body lacing is fair and on our patented malt to hop scale it comes in one click to the left of balanced on the malty side. Not too sweet – just about right.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, value, and buy again. We got a no for memorable and wow factor. It’s good – just not the best we’ve done.

Overall the Weeping Willow Wit is a very interesting beer. We found it intriguing that swirling it almost made it more hefeweizen like. Swirled and unswirled it smells like two different beers. Must be something with mixing up the yeast. It reminds us of our beloved Celis White, though not quite as refined. Is it as good as a Hoegaarden? No. Is it better than a Blue Moon? Yes. We definitely recommend it. Serve it around 50 to 55 F and you should really like what you get.

 

Mother Earth Weeping Willow Wit Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Beer Company Rankings

By John on October 27, 2011 (1 Comment)

Beverage Industry magazine recently published a list of The Top 100 Beverage Companies in their June 2011 issue and it’s quite an interesting read. It deals with beverage as an overall category, which means that segments like beer are interspersed with soft drinks, wine, spirits, dairy, water, etc.

It may surprise you (or not) that the largest beverage company in the world isn’t Coca-Cola or Pepsi, it’s AB-InBev. It may surprise you that 27 of the top 100 beverage companies are beer companies. Or that a lot of the microbreweries we love like Dogfish Head are actually among the top 100 largest beverage companies in the world.

I thought it would be interesting to pull the beer ones out of the list and show you how the beer companies rank among the Top 100 beverage companies for 2010. The list below shows the company name, their rank on the list, their location, their 2010 revenues and their top beer.

Beer Company Rankings for 2010

#CompanyLocationRevenueTop Beer
01AB InbevBelgium$36.3 billionBud Light
05Heineken InternationalAmsterdam$21.6 billionHeineken
06SABMillerLondon$18.0 billionMiller Lite
07DiageoLondon$15.3 billionGuinness
11Grupo ModeloMexico$6.9 millionCorona Extra
19Foster’s Group LTDAustralia$3.6 billionFoster’s Lager
21Molson Coors BrewingGolden, CO$3.3 billionCoors Light
40Pabst Brewing CoWoodridge, IL$500 millionPabst Blue Ribbon
42Boston Beer CompanyBoston, MA$464 millionSam Adams Boston Lager
45North American BreweriesRochester, NY$409 million*Labatt Blue
55D.G. Yuengling & SonPottsville, PA$274 million*Yuengling Traditional Lager
63Sierra Nevada BrewingChico, CA$150 million*Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
68New Belgium BrewingFort Collins, CO$133 million*Fat Tire Amber Ale
69Craft Brewers AllianceWoodinville, WA$132 millionWidmer Hefeweizen
71The Gambrinus CompanySan Antonio, TX$100 millionShiner Bock
82Deschutes BreweryBend, OR$41 million*Mirror Pond Pale Ale
84Matt Brewing CoUtica, NY$34 million*Sarnac Pale Ale
85Bell’s BreweryGalesburg, MI$31 million*Two Hearted Ale
87Harpoon BreweryBoston, MA$30 million*Harpoon IPA
88Boulevard BrewingKansas City, MO$30 million*Bully! Porter
91Dogfish Head Craft BreweryMilton, DE$27 million*90 Minute IPA
92Alaskan BrewingJuneau, AK$25 million*Alaskan Amber
93Long Trail BrewingBridgewater Corners, VT$24 million*Long Trail Ale
94Full Sail BrewingHood River, OR$23 million*Full Sail Amber Ale
96Stone BrewingEscondido, CA$23 million*Arrogant Bastard Ale
97Abita BrewingAbita Springs, LA$22 million*Turbodog
98Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn, NY$21 million*Brooklyn Lager

* Estimated 2010 Sales

Dissecting the list, I find some interesting things:

  • Craft breweries are still small businesses. You’ve got a very tight cluster of craft breweries in the $20 to $30 million revenue range (though most of those are estimated). Only about 7 or 8 companies that we’d consider “craft beer” make more than that $30 million mark.
  • Distribution is king. The difference in the $20 to $30 million companies and the $100 million+ companies? It’s not quality of the product. It’s distribution. Most of the companies at the bottom of the list are still regional players. Granted many of them are expanding but very few are available in all regions. Why? A mix of factors. Total volume they can produce. Wanting to stay small. Not having the distribution infrastructure. Not having the capital to mass produce. Making beers that are near impossible to mass produce. Wanting to keep it fun by not focusing only on revenue. Lots of reasons, but at the end of the day the biggest beverage companies are the ones that own the distribution channel.
  • The companies are really spread out. It’s great to see that no single region really dominates the list. From the West Coast to the Midwest to the South to the East Coast and all the way to Alaska we’ve got great craft breweries pretty much anywhere you are (or within a few hundred miles of you).
  • It’s a great time to be into good beer. About 1/6 of the top beverage companies in the world are craft beer companies, many of which didn’t exist a decade ago. If you like drinking craft beer there’s no better time than now for variety and style. If you like making craft beer now is a great time to do that. Craft beer continue to grow and it’s still only about 5% of the total beer sold. It should only continue to increase. If you’re passionate about making beer you can succeed – the names on the list are the proof in the pudding.

Beer Company Rankings Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Hunter Episode 6: The Best of the British

By John on July 28, 2011 (1 Comment)

We’re devoting the entire month of July here at The BeerFathers to Michael Jackson, the famous writer and promoter of specialty beers. He passed away in 2007 but left a tremendous legacy behind in both his books and this gem of a TV series that aired 6 episodes in 1989. It was made by Channel 4 UK and Discovery Channel and it definitely looks and feels like it was made over 20 years ago (which it was). It’s still relevant though. In the series he tours the globe in search of good beers, educating us about the styles and history of beer along the way.

All the videos are on YouTube, but I found it hard to scavenge around finding the bits and pieces, as each episode is broken up into 3 parts. So what I’ve done is assemble the parts together by episode, so you can watch an episode all on one page. Credit for finding the YouTube videos goes to our beer pal Scott over at The Brew Club and credit for the episode titles and plot summaries goes to OVGuide.

Here is the last of the six episodes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. This is the last episode we’ll be posting.

The Best of the British

Plot: Jackson visits the granddaddy of all beer festivals, the Great British Beer Festival in England. Along the way he stops by the legendary Bateman’s brewery for some background and great beer, and details their struggle for survival that almost wasn’t successful.

The Best of the British Part 1:

The Best of the British Part 2:

The Best of the British Part 3:

The Beer Hunter Episode 6: The Best of the British Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Hunter Episode 5: California Pilgrimage

By John on July 25, 2011 (No Comments)

We’re devoting the entire month of July here at The BeerFathers to Michael Jackson, the famous writer and promoter of specialty beers. He passed away in 2007 but left a tremendous legacy behind in both his books and this gem of a TV series that aired 6 episodes in 1989. It was made by Channel 4 UK and Discovery Channel and it definitely looks and feels like it was made over 20 years ago (which it was). It’s still relevant though. In the series he tours the globe in search of good beers, educating us about the styles and history of beer along the way.

All the videos are on YouTube, but I found it hard to scavenge around finding the bits and pieces, as each episode is broken up into 3 parts. So what I’ve done is assemble the parts together by episode, so you can watch an episode all on one page. Credit for finding the YouTube videos goes to our beer pal Scott over at The Brew Club and credit for the episode titles and plot summaries goes to OVGuide.

Here is the fifth of the six episodes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. We’ll be posting the last episode later this week.

California Pilgrimage

Plot: Here you’ll accompany Jackson on a tour of the Anchor Brewing facility in San Francisco and explore the history of the company and lots of commentary from Anchor’s founder Fritz Maytag. A trip to the barley fields is included to see where beer comes from, and there are (naturally) a few brewery pit stops along the way.

California Pilgrimage Part 1:

California Pilgrimage Part 2:

California Pilgrimage Part 3:

The Beer Hunter Episode 5: California Pilgrimage Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Hunter Episode 4: Our Daily Beer

By John on July 21, 2011 (No Comments)

We’re devoting the entire month of July here at The BeerFathers to Michael Jackson, the famous writer and promoter of specialty beers. He passed away in 2007 but left a tremendous legacy behind in both his books and this gem of a TV series that aired 6 episodes in 1989. It was made by Channel 4 UK and Discovery Channel and it definitely looks and feels like it was made over 20 years ago (which it was). It’s still relevant though. In the series he tours the globe in search of good beers, educating us about the styles and history of beer along the way.

All the videos are on YouTube, but I found it hard to scavenge around finding the bits and pieces, as each episode is broken up into 3 parts. So what I’ve done is assemble the parts together by episode, so you can watch an episode all on one page. Credit for finding the YouTube videos goes to our beer pal Scott over at The Brew Club and credit for the episode titles and plot summaries goes to OVGuide.

Here is the fourth of the six episodes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. We’ll be posting new episodes twice weekly for the rest of July.

Our Daily Beer

Plot: In the home country of Heineken, Jackson focuses on the smaller, traditional Trappist brewers and the upstart small brewers. Here we get an interesting glimpse into traditional monastic life and brewing.

Our Daily Beer Part 1:

Our Daily Beer Part 2:

Our Daily Beer Part 3:

The Beer Hunter Episode 4: Our Daily Beer Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Hunter Episode 3: The Bohemian Connection

By John on July 18, 2011 (No Comments)

We’re devoting the entire month of July here at The BeerFathers to Michael Jackson, the famous writer and promoter of specialty beers. He passed away in 2007 but left a tremendous legacy behind in both his books and this gem of a TV series that aired 6 episodes in 1989. It was made by Channel 4 UK and Discovery Channel and it definitely looks and feels like it was made over 20 years ago (which it was). It’s still relevant though. In the series he tours the globe in search of good beers, educating us about the styles and history of beer along the way.

All the videos are on YouTube, but I found it hard to scavenge around finding the bits and pieces, as each episode is broken up into 3 parts. So what I’ve done is assemble the parts together by episode, so you can watch an episode all on one page. Credit for finding the YouTube videos goes to our beer pal Scott over at The Brew Club and credit for the episode titles and plot summaries goes to OVGuide.

Here is the third of the six episodes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. We’ll be posting new episodes twice weekly for the rest of July.

The Bohemian Connection

Plot: Jackson visits another of the world’s classic brewing countries, the Czech Republic, for a tour of the brewery where the original Pilsner, Urquell, is brewed. Other stops include U Fleku, the ancient Czech Brewpub famous for its spicy dark lager, and Budweiser Budvar.

The Bohemian Connection Part 1:

The Bohemian Connection Part 2:

The Bohemian Connection Part 3:

The Beer Hunter Episode 3: The Bohemian Connection Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Hunter Episode 2: The Fifth Element

By John on July 14, 2011 (No Comments)

We’re devoting the entire month of July here at The BeerFathers to Michael Jackson, the famous writer and promoter of specialty beers. He passed away in 2007 but left a tremendous legacy behind in both his books and this gem of a TV series that aired 6 episodes in 1989. It was made by Channel 4 UK and Discovery Channel and it definitely looks and feels like it was made over 20 years ago (which it was). It’s still relevant though. In the series he tours the globe in search of good beers, educating us about the styles and history of beer along the way.

All the videos are on YouTube, but I found it hard to scavenge around finding the bits and pieces, as each episode is broken up into 3 parts. So what I’ve done is assemble the parts together by episode, so you can watch an episode all on one page. Credit for finding the YouTube videos goes to our beer pal Scott over at The Brew Club and credit for the episode titles and plot summaries goes to OVGuide.

Here is the second of the six episodes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. We’ll be posting new episodes twice weekly for the rest of July.

The Fifth Element

Plot: A trip to Bavaria gives us a background on wheat beers and the Reinheitsgebot, or German beer purity law of 1516. A visit to the famed Kaltenberg brewery of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria is also in order, and the process behind brewing the delightful local specialties Rauchbier (smoked beer) and Steinbier (stone beer) are also on tap. Jackson is also on hand for the tapping of the first ceremonial keg that commences Oktoberfest in Munich.

The Fifth Element Part 1:

The Fifth Element Part 2:

The Fifth Element Part 3:

The Beer Hunter Episode 2: The Fifth Element Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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The Beer Hunter Episode 1: The Burgundies of Belgium

By John on July 11, 2011 (1 Comment)

We’re devoting the entire month of July here at The BeerFathers to Michael Jackson, the famous writer and promoter of specialty beers. He passed away in 2007 but left a tremendous legacy behind in both his books and this gem of a TV series that aired 6 episodes in 1989. It was made by Channel 4 UK and Discovery Channel and it definitely looks and feels like it was made over 20 years ago (which it was). It’s still relevant though. In the series he tours the globe in search of good beers, educating us about the styles and history of beer along the way.

All the videos are on YouTube, but I found it hard to scavenge around finding the bits and pieces, as each episode is broken up into 3 parts. So what I’ve done is assemble the parts together by episode, so you can watch an episode all on one page. Credit for finding the YouTube videos goes to our beer pal Scott over at The Brew Club and credit for the episode titles and plot summaries goes to OVGuide.

Here is the first of the six episodes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have. We’ll be posting new episodes twice weekly for the rest of July.

The Burgundies of Belgium

Plot: The first episode in the series takes us to Belgium for an examination of the wonderful and idiosyncratic beer styles indigenous to that country. We’ll see just how the spontaneously fermented lambic is made, and attend a beer dinner consisting of dishes like filet of cod in a sabayon of Brugse Tripel beer and served with hop shoots and accompanied by Duvel ale. Sound appetizing? Save room for the wild rabbit simmered in Liefman’s Goudenband brown ale with a glass of Rodenbach Grand Cru.

The Burgundies of Belgium Part 1:

The Burgundies of Belgium Part 2:

The Burgundies of Belgium Part 3:

The Beer Hunter Episode 1: The Burgundies of Belgium Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Top US Beer Brand Stats (2010 Update)

By John on July 6, 2011 (2 Comments)

It’s time for our annual update of our Top US Beer Brands, originally posted for 2007. This information comes from the March 2011 issue of Beverage Industry magazine and is for U.S. sales for 2010. The data is based on sales across all beer categories in U.S. supermarket, drug, gas, convenience and mass merchandise outlets (excluding Wal-Mart, club and liquor stores). Here’s the 2010 analysis, along with a comparison to last year’s 2009 results:

Top Craft Beer Brands 2010:

  1. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (unchanged from 2009)
  2. Sam Adams Seasonal (up from #3 in 2009)
  3. Sam Adams Boston Lager (down from #2 in 2009)
  4. New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale (unchanged from 2009)
  5. Shiner Bock (unchanged from 2009)
  6. Sam Adams Variety Pack (up from #7 in 2009)
  7. Widmer Hefeweizen (down from #6 in 2009)
  8. Sierra Nevada Seasonal (up from #9 in 2009)
  9. Sam Adams Light (down from #8 in 2009)
  10. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (not listed in 2009)

The BeerFathers Notes on Top Craft Beer Brands:

  • Craft beer, as a whole, continues a healthy growth pattern. Craft beer category sales were up 14.6% for the year, eclipsing last year’s 12% category growth. Compare that to beer as a whole, which had only a 0.6% increase over 2009. We’re getting there folks.
  • Widmer Hefeweizen and Sam Adams Light were the only two beers on the list that had a decrease in dollar sales from last year.
  • Number 10 on the list, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, had sales growth of 141.2% for the year. Wow. I think IPAs are hitting Americans right in their sweet bitter spot.
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, number one on the list, accounts for about 8% of the total craft beer market sales. Again, wow.
  • The lumping of seasonals together, though understandable, really clutters the list. It goes to show though that taken as a whole, the seasonals thing really works for both Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. You get the benefits of mass market scarcity to stimulate demand, which is kind of a cool thing. Some of our favorite sessionable beers are the seasonals.
  • It’s so good to see Shiner Bock holding strong at #5. I was in Austin, TX recently and had a bucket o’ Shiners and man they sure hit the spot.

Top Imported Beer Brands 2010:

  1. Corona Extra (unchanged from 2009)
  2. Heineken (unchanged from 2009)
  3. Modelo Especial (unchanged from 2009)
  4. Corona Light (up from #5 in 2009)
  5. Tecate (down from #4 in 2009)
  6. Labatt Blue (up from #7 in 2009)
  7. Labatt Blue Light (not listed in 2009)
  8. Dos Equis XX Lager Especial (unchanged from 2009)
  9. Stella Artois Lager (unchanged from 2009)
  10. Heineken Premium Light Lager (down from #6 in 2009)

TheBeerFathers Notes on Top Imported Beer Brands:

  • Newcastle fell off the list from last year at #10, and they were #7 in 2007. That explains their ramp up in advertising lately – their Newcastle commercials are actually quite great. It’s tough to see them drop off because they were by far the highest rated beer from RateBeer.com on the list with an overall 47 out of 100. Hopefully they can make a strong comeback.
  • It’s still surprising to me that Guinness Draught is not on the list. They fell off last year after a #8 ranking in 2007. Shock!
  • Heineken. Still a case study in marketing.
  • Dos Equis continues to hold strong at #8, riding the strength of their still brilliant commercials featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World.
  • The highest rated beer on this list at RateBeer.com is Stella Artois, with an 18 overall. It is a 92 by style though (Euro Trash Lager Pale Lager).

Top Beers by Brand 2010:

  1. Bud Light (unchanged from 2009) – 28.5% market share
  2. Budweiser (unchanged from 2009) – 11.4% market share
  3. Coors Light (unchanged from 2009) – 10.2% market share
  4. Miller Lite (unchanged from 2009) – 9.1% market share
  5. Natural Light (unchanged from 2009) – 6.0% market share
  6. Busch Light (up from #7 in 2009) – 4.0% market share
  7. Busch (up from #8 in 2009) – 3.6% market share
  8. Miller High Life (up from #10 in 2009) – 2.7% market share
  9. Keystone Light (not listed in 2009) – 2.6% market share
  10. Natural Ice (not listed in 2009) – 1.9% market share

The BeerFathers Notes on Top Beers by Brand:

  • Last year, Corona and Heineken were incorrectly listed as domestics, which messed with the integrity of the list. The mistake is corrected now, and I can’t say that the list has integrity at all. But that does explain the movement towards the bottom of the list.
  • Budweiser dipped right below 40% of the market, coming in at 39.9% this year. Still the most dominant beer brand in the world.
  • Anheuser-Busch now owns 55.4% of the US beer market. Up from 53.4% last year and 41.8% in 2007. Behemoth.
  • There’s only 3 separate companies that own the 10 beers on this list, two if you count MillerCoors together.
  • The highest rated beer on the list at RateBeer.com? Only one is not rated a 0 out of 100. Can you guess which one? We couldn’t either. It’s Miller High Life, with a 1 out of 100.
  • That is depressing. Seriously.

Top US Beer Brand Stats (2010 Update) Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Unibroue Ephemere

By John & Dad on May 24, 2011 (1 Comment)

Ephemera is defined as “anything short-lived or lasting only a short time.” Unibroue tries to capture the essence of the word with their line of Ephemere beers that were created to feature a seasonal fruit in a white ale base. We’re reviewing the apple version of Ephemere here today. In addition to apple they’ve worked through cranberry, black currant, peach, and raspberry flavors.

It’s the apple version though, first created in 2002, that is their most popular. So popular, in fact, it has transcended the word “ephmere” by being distributed year round. It’s also the only version they sell in the United States. At the time of this posting black currant was the only other version on the market and it’s only sold in Canada.

Unibroue Ephemere Apple is described on their site as a white ale brewed with apple must. Apple must, in case you didn’t know, is a German variant of cider (don’t feel bad, we didn’t know that either). The bottle actually states “ale brewed with apple juice, coriander and curacao.” Ephemere weighs in at 12 oz with a 5.5% ABV. For our review we used a tulip glass (as recommended) and got a starting beer temperature of 43.9 F.

Our initial pour gave us an average 1 1/4″ fizzy white head the left no head lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was a tremendous amount of carbonation – quite fizzy actually – and the body was fairly clear at first, but clouded up once we got the whole bottle in the glass. The yeast is in there. The color was a very light straw.

For our aromas we got caramel, wheat, floral, light orange, green apple, light banana, light pear and a light vanilla. The green apple dominates and it’s a lot like the smell of opening a green apple Jolly Rancher. Once you get over the Jolly Rancher it starts to resemble a caramel covered apple. It’s one of the most interesting smells we’ve found on a beer.

For our initial flavors we got a moderate sweet and light tart, followed in the finish by a light sweet, very light bitter and moderate tart. For our tastes we got light caramel, light wheat, orange, green apple, coriander, light pepper and light vanilla. The orange notes are in the background but come in similar to what you’d find in a witbier (more of the zest/rind).

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is oily, the tongue hit is front and middle and there’s no body lacing to speak of. On the malt to hop scale it’s fairly well balanced right in the middle – it’s not really malty or hoppy in the traditional sense of the word, thus it’s balanced.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again. Our only no was to wow factor. It’s not a wow, per se, but it’s unique.

Ephemere definitely seems to have more of a granny smith apple base than any other kind of apple and that’s okay with us. Very tart. It’s not an everyday beer by any means, but it could be a rare treat from time to time. It would work quite well in the hot summer months and the ladies might enjoy it year round. It’s quite refreshing.

You might be wondering why we gave it a 5 out of 10 when our bottom line notes and the review in general read so favorably. Well, there wasn’t enough depth and flavor in it for us to give it a higher rating. It’s well-crafted, but just a little too light for our tastes. It would compare quite favorably to a pomme lambic.

Overall it has the textbook Unibroue uniqueness that makes all their beers so great, but we’ll stick with some of their headier offerings.

Unibroue Ephemere Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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Sapporo Reserve

By John & Dad on May 19, 2011 (3 Comments)

For this father and son trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, we’re drinking Sapporo Reserve. Of course we didn’t actually go to Japan to get this beer, and technically this beer didn’t even come to us from Japan. Our cans were actually brewed at the Sapporo Brewery in Ontario, Canada. We’ll call it Japanese in the same sense as your Toyota that’s built in Kentucky. Take off, eh?

Sapporo Reserve is touted on the can as an “all malt beer” though if it was really all malts and didn’t have the yeast, water and hops that literally created and defined a beer we’d probably be quite disappointed when we opened the can and just dried barley fell out. So we’re guessing “all malt” does not mean what they think it means. That or something is lost in translation, like the instructions for putting your bookcase together (“Happily insert slot A with regards to cam B while flange dowel anti-clockwise”).

For our test we poured our 650 mL (22 oz for those not versed in the metric system) can of 5.2% ABV Sapporo happily into a regular British pint glass. We got a starting beer temperature of 45 F.

Our initial pour yielded an average 1 1/2″ frothy white head that left virtually no lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was a medium amount of carbonation to the sparkling clear yellow/gold body of the beer.

Our initial aromas were barley, grain, very light floral, light soap and light corn. We’ll grant them that there are a lot of malt smells in there.

Our initial flavors came in with a light sweet and very light bitter that evolved in the finish to a very light sweet and light to moderate bitter. Our tastes came in with barley, very light lemon, light ginger and light corn. Overall the whole beer is very light on the nose and taste. Crisp and clean for sure, almost to a fault.

The finish length is short to average, the mouthfeel is dry, the tongue hit is front to middle and there’s no body lacing. On our patented malt to hop scale it comes in just a click to the right of balanced on the hoppy side.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable and balance, while getting a no for harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again.

Overall it reminds us of one of our favorite obscure quotes from our all-time favorite Christmas movie A Christmas Story: “This wine’s not bad. It’s not good either.”

Sapporo Reserve is crisp and clean, yes, but so is water. Unlike water though, Sapporo has enough hops to know it’s beer, so that gives it an edge over water. It’s actually fairly hoppy for an “all malt beer” like it touts itself. It would be highly sessionable as long as you don’t let it get too warm.

The best part about the beer? Seriously, it’s got to be the can. The can is an absolute beast of a steel can. You can’t crush it with your hand and if you tried to crush it on your head like real men did in the 1950’s and 60’s you’d quite possibly knock yourself out. Even Agent Gibbs probably couldn’t figure out what did you in after you bludgeoned yourself to death with the mighty steel vessel.

The second best part about the beer? Probably the 22 oz size. A really great, perfect single serving size.

If you’re at a Japanese Steakhouse where they flip the shrimp into your shirt pocket against your wishes, it’s not a bad beer to get. You can feel a lot better about yourself ordering up a Sapporo than a rank American domestic. Is it craft beer? Technically they might make too much of it to fit the definition of craft beer, but we’ll spot you this one.

Sapporo Reserve Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Carlsberg Beer

By John & Dad on May 16, 2011 (5 Comments)

Carlsberg Beer is brewed by the Carlsberg Group in Denmark, which has been brewing up beers since 1847. It’s now the fourth largest brewery in the world and employees over 41,000 people who make around 300 different brands of beer.

The Carlsberg Group actually has a tremendous history of innovation – in 1875 they set up the Carlsberg Laboratory to figure out how to improve the quality of beer. It was here where they figured out how to consistently produce beer (a daunting problem before this time). It started with a revolutionary understanding of the nature yeast and expanded on Louis Pasteur’s findings that yeast are actually living organisms. They discovered that yeast was composed of different kinds of fungi and that the yeast culture could be cultivated. From here they isolated a single yeast cell and developed a pure yeast culture which became the key to consistent, repeatable batches of quality beer. What’s so great is that instead of keeping this method for cultivating pure yeast a secret they shared it with brewmasters all over the world. This Carlsberg yeast is still used in most of the lagers available on the market today.

Additionally they created the first formal fermentation device in the world to break down yeast into alcohol and carbon dioxide, giving us beer with alcohol and carbonation. Fermentation of course happened before this, but mostly consisted of storing beer barrels in caves and letting the magic happen inside. They also invented the pH scale that is used in all of science to measure how acidic or basic a liquid is. Who knew when you were studying the pH scale in science class that it was based on research from a brewery? Beer is all around you my friends.

Carlsberg Beer, the one we’re reviewing here, is their flagship beer and has been brewed since 1904. It’s exported globally all over the world. For our review we used a standard pint glass to hold the contents of the 11.2 oz green bottle that sports a 5% ABV. We got a starting beer temperature of 43.0 F.

The pour yielded an average to large 2″ foamy white head that left a fair amount of head lacing. There’s a soft amount of carbonation and a brilliant gold color that’s clear in the glass. Exactly what you’d expect from a pilsner/pale lager type beer.

Our aromas came in really clean – light hay, light honey, lemon, light yeast and light ginger.

Our initial flavors came in with a moderate sweet and very light bitter that evolved in the finish to a light to moderate sweet and light bitter. Our tastes came in with light honey, lemon, light yeast and light ginger. Overall it’s a very delicate beer on the palate.

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is dry and the tongue hit is in the middle. There’s a fair amount of body lacing left on the glass over the course of drinking it and on our patented malt to hop scale it comes in perfectly balanced.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable and balance. We got a no to harmony, memorable and wow factor. We got a maybe to buy again.

For a green bottle brew, Carlsberg Beer isn’t too bad. It’s got a nice sweet taste that continues to taste good as the temperature gets into the 50s. It’s better cold, but it’s well-crafted and doesn’t completely fall apart as it warms. Our preference would be to do it cold and drink it quick for maximum enjoyment.

Final verdict: It’s got a good profile and could be a good everyday beer for somebody. The BeerFathers probably aren’t their target market though.

Carlsberg Beer Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)

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Abita Jockamo IPA

By John & Dad on May 11, 2011 (No Comments)

We’re overdue for a beer review from our favorite brewery that occupies the same state as Beer Love South Headquarters – Abita Brewing Company (in Louisiana for those not in the know). For this review we’re imbibing the Abita Jockamo IPA.

Great back story for the Jockamo – the name comes from the tribes of Mardi Gras Indians who have marched in New Orleans since the 1800s. The word Jockamo is referenced in the popular New Orleans Mardi Gras song we know as “Iko Iko” that was originally titled “Jock-a-mo.” It’s a wordplay on the lyrics “Jock-a-mo fee-na-ne” that are repeated multiple times during the song. The song has been covered by countless artists, most famously by the Dixie Cups, but also by New Orleans artists like the Neville Brothers and Dr. John, as well as more mainstream artists like Cyndi Lauper, the Grateful Dead and the Dave Matthews Band.

The 12 oz Jockamo IPA bottle weighs in with a solid 6.5% ABV and sports a weighty 52 IBUs. It’s also got 190 calories in it, but we know you don’t care about that. For our review we used a British pint glass and got a starting beer temperature of 50.4 F.

Our initial pour gave us a large 2 1/2″ foamy off-white head that left a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated. There’s a soft amount of carbonation and the beer itself is a sparkling clear – a very clear amber/orange color.

For our aromas we got a light caramel, nutty, citrus, floral, grapefruit, pine, light yeast and a light pineapple. Not overly complex by any means and the aromas are what you’d expect from the Pacific Northwest hops they use (Willamette and Columbus hops).

For our initial flavors we got a light sweet and a light to moderate bitter that evolved in the finish to a very light sweet and a moderate to heavy bitter. You’d expect this in an IPA – a ramp up in the bitterness and a drop in the sweetness as the malt backbone gives way to the hoppy hoppers. For our tastes we got caramel, a light nutty, citrus, floral, grapefruit, pine and light yeast. Again, not overly complex, but clean and simple.

The finish length is average, the mouthfeel is watery and the tongue hit is in the middle. There’s no body lacing to speak of and on the malt to hop scale it comes in 2 clicks to the right of balanced on the hoppy side.

For our bottom line notes we got yes to drinkable, repeatable and balance. We got no for harmony, memorable and wow factor. We’ve done too many IPAs for this one to really pop at us. For buy again we put maybe – it’s a solid beer for sure – but we’re just not hopheads who seek out IPAs.

Overall, the Abita Jockamo IPA is a very well crafted beer. It stays true to where it starts as it warms, easily passing the 60 degree test and not “nastying out” like some beers as they lose their cold. The mark of a quality crafted beer is the ability to survive temperature swings, and this one’s got it. If you’re a hophead you should seek it out – it’s a good IPA with a good ABV that borders on being sessionable. Along with our other Abita favorite Turbodog it’s a part of their year-round lineup, so you know it’s a solid performer.

Abita Jockamo IPA Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)

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