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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Epic Beer Festival Tasting Glass pictureThe Epic Beer Festival came to Denver this past weekend. Although this is its first year, the organizers have put on festivals in Denver in the past. They outgrew those and needed something more “epic”.

Epic started in San Diego. Denver is the second city to get it, with Philadelphia and Dallas up next.

I thought it was a great combination of a lot of breweries and a not-too-large crowd. The massive Colorado Convention Center is a great place for a festival. It had enough room that the breweries weren’t right on top of each other and there was plenty of space around the outside for you to step out of the crowds for a breather.

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Beer Candied Bacon

by Billy Broas

Beer Candied Bacon Recipe


I had never heard those three words put together. My brain can’t perform that type of mental feat. When I first heard about it on this CraftBeer.com article it blew my mind. I had to try it.

The all important question was, “What beer to use?”

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Alcohol FreeI did the unthinkable – I went 30 days without drinking beer.

Not only that, I went 30 days without drinking any alcohol at all.

You may pick your jaw back up off the floor now.

So why did I do it? It’s something I’ve been planning for a while.

I was trying to think of the last time I went 30 days booze-free. I honestly can’t remember (bad sign). Let’s just called it a decade and cut it off there.

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The results are in. I took the BJCP on March 2nd and my score was emailed on June 3rd.

The score: 80


That’s a relief. I was really hoping for at least an 80 because that is the score needed to qualify for National ranking.

Now I’ll tell you all about the exam in case I can help some BJCP hopefuls out there prepare. First, here is the exam feedback sheet I received with my score:

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LetsPour Review

by Billy Broas

Let's Pour LogoWhat do you do when you want a beer that isn’t sold in your area?

Simple question, not such an easy answer.

A few options are beer of the month clubs, beer trades, online retailers, and beer travel.

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Drinking Beer in Bamberg

by Billy Broas

View from Michaelsberg into Bamberg GermanyAs a side trip of my beer adventure in Munich I headed up to Bamberg. If you’re in Munich, seriously consider the trip. It’s a bit of a hike but totally worth it. Bamberg is tiny: only 21 square miles with a population of 70,000. NFL stadiums hold more than that. Yet this quiet Bavarian town is home to an astonishing nine breweries.

Munich is a laid back city in itself but Bamberg is even more so. The rivers that run though it seem to have a calming effect. The architecture is beautiful and there are seven hills dotted with churches and castles.

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Drinking Beer in Munich

by Billy Broas

New City Hall MunichI’m back from Munich, and the trip was incredible. Dr B. (my Dad) and I spent 6 days exploring Munich, Bamberg, and other parts of Bavaria. Let me fill you in on the best part of the trip: the beer.

My thoughts on the Munich beer scene

Beer is part of daily life in Munich. It’s more ingrained into the DNA of M√ľncheners than it is in Americans. At your meal, you get a beer. On the train, you get a beer. When you’re just hanging out, you get a beer. And they don’t get out of control, either. You won’t find much overt drunkenness (outside of festivals, of course).

There aren’t the same stigmas that we have about drinking beer, especially when it comes to women. Everyone drinks beer. I even saw numerous occasions at beer gardens where parents would pass their glass to their little kids for a few sips. Looking around it was obvious that we were the only ones who thought it was strange.

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False Advertising
When something is hot, everybody wants to ride its coattails.

Craft beer was up 15% in 2012, while the beer industry as a whole was up only 1%. Craft beer is hot, and marketers want a piece of it.

There are two recent examples of the term “craft beer” being abused.

The first was at Yankee Stadium this year when the baseball season began. See the picture below.

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Aecht SchlenkerlaAs I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m headed to Munich in May.

Part of my brutal training regimen is drinking a ton of German beer. We’re planning on spending one or two days of the trip in Bamberg, which is about 140 miles north of Munich. It’s home to the Rauchbier style of beer, or “smoke beer”. No liquid smoke in these though. This is the reaaaal deal. They produced it via the authentic practice of smoking the malt during the kilning process.

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