munich-gateIn early May I’m taking a beer trip to Munich, Germany. You could say that I’m excited.

In 2006 I spent a day in Munich while traveling in Europe. I almost wish I hadn’t because it was so much fun I didn’t want to leave. It’s been a while, but I’m finally going back.

I want to make sure I do it right though, so I thought I would share with you my plan of attack. I also know that many BillyBrew readers have been to Germany and I’d be an idiot to not tap into that knowledge. I’ll be traveling with my photographer aka Dr. B aka Dad. He’s always wanted to go to Germany and I’m glad we can do this trip before he becomes an old(er) fart.

Here is the gist of the trip:

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Beer barrel cellar roomWood aging isn’t new. It’s what was used to ferment, age, and transport beer before there was anything better, like stainless steel.

But that doesn’t mean breweries aren’t innovating with wood.

Not content with simply “wood-aging” beer, craft breweries are experimenting with new creations made with this ancient technique. We’ll look at some of the different methods that are being used in today’s beers, along with examples.

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Bitch Creek ESB
It doesn’t always take a growler-full when cooking with beer. Sometimes just a dash will do. A small amount of the “secret ingredient” can leave your guests mystified and delighted. What IS that!?

Sriracha anyone?

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5 weeks.Sour beers for the bjcp exam.

That’s how far away the BJCP exam is.

For some background, I’ve been wanting to become a certified beer judge for years now. Last January it was one of my New Years Resolutions to pass the exam; a group of us formed to study for it.

There is a huge demand for the BJCP and not enough resources, so the earliest we could schedule it was March 2013. In hindsight, I’m glad we’ve had over a year to study because it’s a ton to learn and a whole lot of fun.

We’ve been fairly consistent about meeting every two weeks. The study sessions generally go like this:

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My “beer mood” is constantly changing, but one style that I can drink day in and day out is Berliner Weisse. It’s refreshing, tart but not sour, and light enough that you can have multiple multiple multiple pints.

Given my love of matching beer and food, I had to track down the best bites to go with a Berliner.

When finding the right food to pair with a beer, one of the first things I consider is intensity. Berliners are light bodied and generally 3-5% abv, so the food cannot be too powerful. Ribs, rich dessert, or anything smoky will overpower the beer, so you can rule those out. If you think about a beer dinner with multiple courses, you would place the Berliner towards the front, with the appetizer not the entrée.

That’s when it hit me.

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conflictAs home to 168 breweries, the Great American Beer Festival, and some of the best craft beer in the country, you wouldn’t think there would be much for Colorado beer drinkers to be unhappy about. However, we are once again having the annual debate about the “Grocery Bill” which would allow full strength beer to be sold where you buy your food. A quick primer if you’re not familiar with it…

Colorado grocery stores and convenience stores cannot sell beer that is higher than 3.2% alcohol by volume. To get “full strength beer”, you must go to the liquor store.

I moved to Colorado from Virginia in mid-2010 and was unaware of this law. A friend nearly dove in front of me to block me from buying beer at King Soopers. I had no idea it was 3.2% beer.

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2013 Beer Predictions

by Billy Broas

2013-New-YearHappy 2013 beer lovers. Last year I gave my beer predictions for 2012.

Overall I did OK. I was semi-correct that Asheville would not win BeerCity USA for a fourth time in a row. They ended up sharing the title with Grand Rapids. That NC crew is resilient.

Speaking of North Carolina, I was correct about Sierra Nevada opening a brewery there, although that wasn’t exactly a shocker. AB-InBev never did merge with SABMiller. That was my bold prediction, but I’m not going to renew it this year.

So what does 2013 have in store? I asked my newsletter readers this very question. First, my predictions:

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Book Review: Bitter Brew

by Billy Broas

My experience with Anheuser-Busch goes far back and beyond beer. Growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia I was constantly exposed to AB. Many of my friends’ parents worked at the giant factory. Busch Gardens was an annual summer tradition. It may even surprise (or horror) my readers to know that I was once employed by AB. Not in beer, but as a lifeguard at their Water Country USA theme park.

I remember the time that August Busch came for a visit. The entire place went into panic mode. I cleaned the hell out of the bathrooms that day. You would have thought that God himself was coming down for judgement.

That was my first experience with the Busch men and the power they wield. Or should I say, wielded.

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Video of Beer Ice Cream Recipe

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Beer books make a great gift for the beer drinker in your life. There are hundreds of great ones, but for this post I’ll focus on books that were released in the past couple of years because there’s a good chance the person you’re buying for hasn’t read them yet.

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