A look at the ‘super-alcoholic’ beer market

Founders' KBS

Founders’ amazing KBS

Look closely at the shelves of any better beer store and you’ll notice some monsters lurking. No, I don’t mean skunky beers or the latest fruit-flavored offerings posting as craft beers but brewed by the big boys, I’m talking about beers that fall into the “wine and above” level of strength.

These monsters, and I’ll define them as beers above 10 percent ABV for the sake of this column, are breeding and rising from the depths like Godzilla and his foes. They can also be destructive to drivers who take them too lightly. These beers are best when shared with friends and loved ones, not so much for chugging at the bar and getting behind the wheel. Continue reading

Contract brewing: good for the brewer, good for the brewery

Go to any liquor store with a decent beer selection and you’ll find enough “bombers” (22-ounce bottles) to start a war. This proliferation of beers is due, at least in part, to the rise of contract brewing, or brewing your beer at someone else’s brewery.

This relationship is mutually beneficial — it helps the physical brewery’s bottom line while allowing a new brewer to get a foot in the door for a much lower initial cost. By contracting, startups can avoid the often multi-million dollar investment that comes with building a brewery. Lower entry costs means more breweries, which means more selection, which means more hoppy goodness for all. Continue reading

Style profile: Stouts, powerful and pungent, aren’t for the faint of heart

Black as midnight in the Irish countryside on a moonless, cloudy night while you’re wearing sunglasses, stouts are to beer what a fine French roast coffee is to tea. Dark, powerful and pungent, the aroma and appearance of stouts often belie a smooth drinkability that typically puts at least one stout near the top of any beer connoisseur’s favorite brews list. Continue reading

Autumn beers and their malty goodness

It’s late-August and the fall beers have arrived in force. Until recently, autumn offerings focused almost exclusively on rich, amber, malty brews based on the traditional German Oktoberfest style. Nowadays, fall beers feature enough pumpkin ales that attempting to try all of them might actually lead to seeing Schroder’s Great Pumpkin. Continue reading

Pairing beer and food

With breweries and beer choices multiplying like yeast cells in wort (beer before yeast transforms the sugary water into BEER), people are giving real thought to how to best pair beer with food.

When the only brews available were choices of light lagers, pairing beer with food was simple – either beer worked with the food or it didn’t. Those light beers do pair well with some foods because their crisp, refreshing, palate-cleansing nature washes away fats in, say, pizza or a burger, but their ideal food partners were limited. Continue reading