Sunday, December 2, 2012
Good Dog is not shy about their love for animals. Tonight from 7pm till close 10 percent of all their sales and 100% of money generated by raffle sales will go to The Morris Animal Shelter of Philadelphia . If their stellar food menu and amazing beer selection were not enticing enough they are featuring Good Fish, a beer brewed just for Good Dog by Flying Fish, games, raffles and tons of prizes. Full draft list, courtesy of Philly Tap Finder can be viewed here . Some highlights include Half Acre's Alpenglow , Troegs' Scratch 80 , and Weyerbacher's X Ray. Come Join us and I hope to see lots of you out tonight. Good dog is located at 224 South 15th Street in Philadelphia, PA.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
During Starfish Production's 2012 Philadelphia Craft Beer Festival. I had a chance to interview Innis and Gunn's founder, mastermind, and brewer, Dougal Sharp. His award winning Scottish craft beer brewery has been gaining lots of fans and superlatives since it's inception in 2003.I grabbed an Innis and Gunn Rum Cask had a few words with the man who is making some of the most innovative and tasty beers on the planet.
Trey: Congrats on your success, you have achieved quite a lot in a short time. I was shocked to learn your brewery is less than ten years old and formed by accident!
Dougal: I was working at my Dad's brewery in Edinburgh at the time. We were contacted by a distillery, William and Grant to make a beer for them to impart beer flavor into whiskey. So we brewed them a special beer with a real sweet and malty character. After a month or so , they began to to store the beer in bourbon barrels. They added whiskey to the barrels and were pleased with the results. This was back in 2002, they began to order thousands and thousands of barrels of beer. They only regarded beer as a byproduct of making beer. The workers, this could only have happened in Scotland, were not keen to throwing beer away began to say it's too good to throw away. We put the beer on a tasting panel and everyone rated the beer as a 9 out of 9. We spent twelve months doing market research, we were originally going to call it something way different than what it is now. My father said to me , you should call it the middle name of your and your brother's, Innis and Gunn. After some market research we decided to launch the company as Innis and Gunn.
Trey: Oak is so vital to the wine and liquor community. Are you shocked to see barrel aging in beer to be a relatively new phenomenon?
Dougal : Well, yes and no. Yes, well looking back at this now, using bourbon barrels seems obvious. Oak was originally used in barrels of transporting the beer. The key thing is to use bourbon barrels. We have used rum barrels and even Irish Whiskey barrels, and there are still others to try. The thing about barrel aging is that it implies a whole new layer of complexity and flavors to the beers beers. We believe that oak helps us achieve balance. Our approach to making beer is to be balanced. If you think about great wines and spirits that are revered, they are balanced. I think that oak aging is the best way to integrate alcohol into the drink, in our case, beer.
Trey: Just to clarify, are all Innis and Gunn Beers are barrel aged?
Dougal : Yes, correct. We are experimenting all the time. What the key to our product is is flavor. There is a lot of different barrels, with different flavors. It's all about barrel aging for the US.
Trey: I was very pleased to hear about all the success and awards of your Rum Cask beer, so it's safe to say you aren't opposed to working with any barrel.
Dougal: No, there is no point in limiting yourself. It's worth trying everything at least once. We have discovered different ways to achieve different flavors.
Trey: I was happy to learn that your flagship beer, Innis and Gunn Original is now available in kegs. You must be excited.
Dougal: Oh Yes, we thought long and hard about it. I was reluctant to do it too soon. What I wanted to was focus building a business on bottles. What we know is that when people try Innis and Gunn for the first time, they have never had anything like it before. The most important thing is flavor. But we were getting asked by lots of customers for draft beer. For us it's less about volume, and more about awareness.
Trey: The beer community is surprisingly homogenous. Collaboration beers are the rage. Are you opposed to any collaboration projects?
Dougal: We have not done and yet, but we certainly aren't adversed to them.
Trey: I have not been able to find any info on which distillery your barrels, come from, is the source a secret?
Dougal: We have a policy of never naming the company that supplies our barrels. Which is fun , because a lot of people like to speculate. I like to sit and listen to people guess.
Trey: Are you surprised at the popularity of food and beer parings?
Dougal: What I am surprised about is that it took this long. As an industry beer has had it's ass kicked by the wine industry for 500 years. Some people think that wine is the only beverage that food can be matched with. Why restrict yourself? Beer does not go with every food, but it does go with some foods, just as wine does not go with all foods, but some foods.
Trey: I saw there was a cooking class featuring Innis and Gunn that had to add another class due to demand.
Dougal: The thing about matching food is just the natural evolution of craft beer. Beer and steak go well together, but how many people have actually tried it? They are lovely together. The fun is in trying. There is no fun in not trying.
Trey : Sales of been escalating by year for your brewery, some of your beers have a lengthy maturation process, do you have a hard time keeping up with demand?
Dougal: No. We have to be thinking quite far ahead.
Trey: Your brewery is now available for sale in 10 countries and 17 states, what is next in the horizon?
Dougal: Continuing to focus. We have doubled our work force. That is all about being able to focus on our existing market. Our consumers are the most important in our lives. As a business we want to get even better at relating to our customers. They are the people we want to focus on.
Trey : Canned beer is becoming far more expected than I expected, where do you stand on canned beer?
Dougal: We are watching it closely. We really want to see what happens in the US first. We are watching and learning.
Trey: Thanks for your time. Congrats, on your success and I looking forward to greater availability of your beer, both nationally and locally.
Dougal: Thank you.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Are you a Pennsylvania resident? Occasionally partake in a libation? Then you have probably noticed that Pennsylvania's Blue Laws are less than stellar. Our friends at Philly Beer Scene are hosting a debate between beer writer/blogger Lew Bryson and Pennsylvania Senator Chuck McIlhinney. Yards Founder Tom Kehoe will be on hand to monitor the debate/forum.
Open to the public, this progressive and informative event will be held on Thursday February 9th from 7:00 pm till 10:00 pm at the Yards Brewery in Philadephia in their tasting room. Their address is 901 N Delaware Ave Philadelphia, PA 19123. The bar will stay open late to accommodate this important event.
In addition to being a forum/debate between Bryson and McIlhinney, there will also be time to voice your opinions and present questions to theses two gentleman. Check out the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's webpage to brush up on the laws and to help make your questions as pertinent as possible. If you chose to attend, please be respectful of Yards and everyone else present. Many thanks to Yards and Philly Beer Scene for making such a unique event possible.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Indianapolis's Sun King Brewery is far ahead of the curve. They currently can three of their beers in 16 0z cans! I have long been an advocate of canned beer. Aside from using less packaging than bottles, protecting the beer from light, and being easier to ship and store 16 oz cans also contain more beer than their sand derived glass friends.
I enjoyed immensely enjoyed all the beers I have sampled from Sun King. As pictured(left to right), Osiris Pale Ale, Sunlight Cream Ale, and Wee Mac Scottish Ale.
Osiris Pale Ale is a beer to appease hop enthusiasts. This dry hopped 5.6% ABV pale ale weighs in at 50 IBU's and is brewed with American Hops. Osiris is perfect for tailgating on a nice warm day. Craftcans.com named Osiris one of their favorite pale ale's of 2011 and describes Osiris as "on the high end of the hop scale for pale ales and both are amazing."
Sun King's Sunlight Cream Ale is true to it's name. This easy drinking cream ale is a great session beer. This tasty low gravity beer is outfitted at 5.3% ABV and 20 IBU's. This all malt beer is finished with American hops and a cool fermentation and is accruing quite the loyal fan base. Sunlight Cream Ale was awarded the Silver Medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup in the Golden or Blonde Ale Category.
Sun King's third canned offering is perfect for colder weather. Fermented at a cooler temperature to mimic the Scottish Climate. This smooth and malty beer comes in at 5.3% ABV and 23 IBU's. Wee Mac pours a wonderful dark copper color and has rich hazlelnut notes and toffee undertones. Cans of Wee Mac conveniently fit in the pockets of your kilt.
Currently available only in Indiana, Sun King is making waves in the craft beer scene. Craftcans.com recognized Sun King as one of innovative breweries of 2011. In addition to their 3 canned beers , Sun King has some draft only beers. Check out their webpage, visit them next time you are in Indianapolis and let them know you appreciate their hard work and quality libations. Hopefully an expansion is possible in the near future.