weihenstephanOn last year’s beer trip to Munich, one thing I didn’t get to do which I was kinda bummed about was visiting Weihenstephan, the famous Bavarian brewery in Freising, Germany.

Their Hefeweissbier is one of my all-time favorite brews and as the world’s oldest brewery they command enormous respect in the industry.

So when I booked our trip to Italy this year I was pumped to see that we had a 5 hour layover in Munich on the flight back. Interesting….

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Hot dog and craft beerSpring is here…which means baseball season is here…which means there are two questions on my mind:

  1. Will Manny Machado come back from his injury to lead the O’s to the playoffs & eventually a World Series victory, restoring one of the greatest baseball franchises of all-time to its former glory?
  2. What beer pairs best with hot dogs?

(Welcome to the sophisticated inner workings of the mind of Billy Broas)

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Rogue Snickers Beer
Not long ago I was listening to the Jamil Show Pale Ale episode on The Brewing Network.

At one point Jamil went on a tangent (this happens a lot) about a beer blend he tried at the Rogue Ale House that blew his mind. It is a 50/50 mix of Rogue Chocolate Stout and Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

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I’m excited to announce a new book that I had a hand in writing: Craft Beer for the Homebrewer

Last spring I was approached to help out with a homebrewing book and leapt at the offer. I joined a great beer team of Michael Agnew, Denny Conn, Matthew Schaefer, and Jordan Wiklund. The book just came out and yes I’m pretty biased, but I’m sure everyone who buys it will agree that it’s fantastic.

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Something shocking happened right under my nose….craft beer is now a hipster beverage.

I’ve noticed signs for about the past year. It’s usually an overheard remark at a bar or a reference to hipsters in an article about craft beer. Here’s a perfect example from a CNN post called “Why I Drink Good Beer”. Notice the commenter automatically assumes the author must be a hipster:

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And from another news article:

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With 2014 here I feel like getting all big picture with beer. How popular is craft beer in our everyday lexicon? Which words are popular and which ones are unpopular?

For this I turned to the almighty Google Trends. If you’ve never used it, clear your schedule for the next couple of hours. You can get totally lost in it. Google Trends tells you how popular a search term is, which is a good proxy for how popular a term is in everyday life.

First let’s compare “craft beer” to a popular mainstream term just to get a little perspective, say “Duck Dynasty”:

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Westvleteren 12On October 24th, at approximately 8:30pm Mountain Time, I tasted the holy grail – Westvleteren 12.

“Westy 12″ as it’s known by most, is continually near the top of beer rankings, occupying the top seat the majority of the time. But how much of that is due to its scarcity?

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When I study history my eyes glaze over when reading dates. Just reading a date as a number on a page does nothing for me. The two things that are missing are context and visuals. Context tells the larger story of the event: “What else was happening? Was is before this? Was it after that?” Visuals are important because I’m a visual learner. Turning a boring number on a page into something I can see brings it to life.

When I was reading The Audacity of Hops (great book) the familiar glazing-over feeling came back. The story of craft beer in America is a great one. The characters, the tales, the beers. It’s a story every beer drinker should learn.

While reading the book I got the idea to create this interactive American craft beer timeline:

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Sam Adams Facebook

Living in Colorado, you don’t have to convince anyone that good beer can come in a can. When Oskar Blues, Avery, and New Belgium are in your state, you learn this fact at a young age. Even most craft beers drinkers outside of Colorado know that great beers are being put into cans and that’s OK.

But we’re in the minority.

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IPA blind tasting group
A blind tasting is the great equalizer.

Take away the hype, the label, the expectations, and you’re left with what matters most – the flavor. IPAs are perhaps the most hyped beers due to the popularity of the style and America’s “hop mania”.

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