I’ve read a lot of articles about the future of craft beer but since I keep getting asked, “Is the craft beer bubble about to burst? Is there a future for craft beer?” here’s my thoughts on the future of craft beer.
Trends come and go but craft beer is here to stay. The “It” folks, you know the ones who have to be part of the latest cool craze, are moving on from craft beer and personally that makes this Gal happy. At the same I know quite a few folks who are just discovering the joy of craft beer and it’s been fun to see their taste and knowledge of beer blossom.
Is craft beer still the new cool kid on the block? Nope, that title now belongs to distilleries. They are popping up left and right just like breweries once did and that is one of the differences you will see as the craft beer world settles fewer breweries opening. Fine by me. We don’t need one on every corner and frankly, far too many have opened that never should have. It will be survival of the fittest. If you brew good beer, take care of your customers, offer reasonable prices and have a sound business plan then you should be ok.
I do, however, feel a shift in the craft beer world has started and will continue…#drinklocal. Folks want to see more local brews on tap at restaurants and beer bars. Yes, folks will still enjoy beer from across the country but see the value in supporting their local breweries. I think the acquisitions of craft breweries by mega corporations like Anheuser-Busch is a factor in the #drinklocal movement. Beer lovers want their local breweries to be successful but not by the big guys taking them over but rather from customer and community support.
However, I also see a return to Belgium beer. I think we are going to be seeing them pop up more on tap list and more craft breweries brewing Belgium styles. Belgium beers were this Gal’s first love so I don’t mind at all.
So to recap craft beer will be sticking around
Some breweries will close
Fewer breweries will be opening
More acquisitions of craft breweries by big corporations
Lots more distilleries popping up
The Return of Belgium Beers
I recently had the pleasure of the attending the Iron Hill Brewery (Mapleshade) Edgy & Veggie: A Vegan Beer Dinnerand it was out of this world delish from start to finish. Since I usually can’t eat most food offerings at beer dinners I tend to skip them. So it’s been many years since this Gal had the pleasure of enjoying a beer dinner. The dinner sold out quickly and many of those in attendance weren’t vegan or vegetarian but enjoyed themselves immensely. Each course was expertly paired by Head Chef Scot Seher & Head Brewer Josh Ervine. Following is the menu. My personal favs the 3rd Course Artichoke “Crab”Cake paired with the Galaxy Quest IPA. The citrus of the beer with the artichoke and spices of the “Crab” Cake was perfect together. Fortunately I had some of the Galaxy Quest left and tried it with the Intermezzo Blood Orange-Parsnip Sorbet which were incredible together and I was told a happy coincidence.
My other fav was the 4th Course Southern Fried Tofu paired with Out of the Gate IPA. The course was solid yummy comfort food at it’s best and the caramel malts from the beer brought out the herbaliciousness of the seitan gravy.
candied meyer lemon, pickled lavender buds,
pistachio paste and cashew milk ricotta
Paired with Phightin’ Phils Pils
shaved vegetable slaw and charred tomato coulis
Paired with Ziggy Star-Bock
Artichoke “Crab” Cake
micro watercress, pesto and white balsamic drizzle
Paired with Galaxy Quest
Blood Orange-Parsnip Sorbet
Southern Fried Tofu
green tomato, black bean puree,
grilled corn-potato puree and sawmill style seitan gravy
Paired with Out the Gate IPA
Harissa Marinated Cauliflower Steak
chickpea couscous, roasted tomato and grilled spring onion chimichurri
Paired with Trubbel with Monks
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
banana chips and macadamia-almond ice cream
Paired with Vanilla Coffee Porter
They also offered a Non-alcoholic dinner option as well which I think is great and I saw several folks who went for this option.
Great beer, fabulous food, wonderful company – overall a fun night out.
I often am asked my what’s my favorite beer, depends on my mood and what I’m eating, what’s my favorite bar, depends on where I am, and what’s my favorite beer event – easy – Band of Brewers without a doubt. Yup, Philly Beer Scene’s Band of Brewers is my all time favorite beer event. It combines two of my favorite things beer and music.
After all music, more specifically the Grateful Dead, is what got me into craft beer. Deadheads would bring beer from their home state on the road with them to sell in the parking lot of Dead shows. At the time it was really one of the few ways to try new beer. It was in the parking lot of Dead show that I first tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Heck at the time I had never even heard of it (let that sink in). It got to the point not only couldn’t you wait for the Dead to tour for the music but also to see what new beer you would have the opportunity to try. So yeah music and beer two of my favorite things.
Band of Brewers was started five years ago by Philly Beer Scene. Different local breweries let their inner Rock Star come out to play and compete against other local breweries for the bragging rights and the chance to bring home the Band of Brewers trophy for 1 year. Each member of the brewery band has to be an employee of the brewery. Last years winners, Stainless Maiden – Broken Goblet, was a take on Iron Maiden but the range of music covered during a show is vast. Anywhere from Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl to Hendrix to Marilyn Manson to Metallica to original music. It’s freaking awesome!
The competition takes place at World Cafe Live in Philly and is only $15 for 4 hours of kick ass entertainment – pay as you go for the beer. During the February show I had the pleasure of enjoying Neshaminy Creek Dank Hill Wheat Double IPA 9% and Forest & Main Tape Neck IPA 5.5%.
The list of brewery participates have grown to the point that this year’s competition has had to be split into 2 rounds. Each band plays 5 songs and provides 2 beers to be on tap at the venue. The first round was in Febraury with Forest & Main, River Horse, Victory, Philadelphia Brewing Co. and Neshaminy Creek competing to move on the finals. Round two will take place June 25 with the Vault, Broken Goblet, Crime & Punishment, Yards, Iron Hill and Troegs going at it. The finals will take place September 24th at The TLA. Personally, I would have loved to see them keep the finals at World Cafe Live. It’s a great space and easy access via transit or by car but not matter where it is I plan on being there.
Just so you understand how much I love this event the 2nd round, June 25, happens to be the same day Dead & Co. are playing in Camden. Of course, this Gal has a ticket for the Dead but you better believe I’m going to make it work and squeeze in Band of Brewers too.
A panel of judges and the audience pick the top three from each round to move onto the finals. Moving on from Round 1 are NCBC, PBC and Forest & Main. Can’t wait for Round 2! Do yourself a solid and get your tickets
Courtesy of Philly Beer Scene – Past winners:
Year 1: Yeast Factory (Yards Brewing Co.)
Year 2: Brewtallica (Philadelphia Brewing Co.)
Year 3: HuemanGroup (Forest & Main)
Year 4: Stainless Maiden (Broken Goblet)
Year 5: TBD
Beer of the Week 2/6 – 2/12
The past week was a close one between New Belgium Brewing Citradelic and Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale. If I had to choose…you know what I don’t have to choose. They were both fun beers that caught me by surprise.
New Belgium Brewing Citradelic 6% – The tangerine is up front and helps to calm down the hops while be ever so refreshing.
Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale 7% – The citrus is not as prominent in this one but still there with hints of pineapple, spices and malt that end with some bitterness from the hops.
I look forward to pairing them with some spicy Thai in the near future.
Beer of the Week 1/30 – 2/5 – This weeks top pick goes to a classic and one of this Gal’s favs Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue). Not only do I love this beer because of the dark fruits, caramel, and malts topped off with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg but also it’s sentimentally a favorite of mine.
This Gal names her fur babies after beer and it all started with my cat/dog Chimay. A dog stuck in a cats body and one of the coolest cats around. Cheers Chimay!
Between tap takeovers and visits to a couple different breweries this Gal had the opportunity to taste an array of wonderful beers this week but the one that stood out to me the most was Spellbound Brewing Palo Santo Porter. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this beer on a few occasions and each and every time it’s outstanding.
Pours a velvety black with a up front chocolate presence and hints of wood, rich malts and a ting of vanilla. (beer to far right)
Beer of the Week for 1/9-1/15.
This week’s Beer of the Week goes to Avery Brewing CompanySalvation. Belgian Strong Pale Ale 9%This gem has been hanging out in my aging cellar but I felt it was time to enjoy it instead of just looking at it.Salvation is truly divine. It’s one of those special beers that’s wonderful on it’s own but can also be paired with an array of foods. Hints of pitted fruits with accents of nutmeg make for a delightful sipping beer.
Runner Up – @AveryBrewingCo Out of Bounds Stout 6.3%. This beer is quickly becoming one of my favorite stouts. I love vanilla, chocolate and coffee stouts but I greatly appreciate that this is purely a stout. Standing on it’s own in rich roasted barely and malty goodness balanced out by hoppy goodness.
There’s quite a few Avery’s in my beer cellar patiently waiting their turn to be enjoyed.
Please join Geeky Beer Gal at UNO’s Hamilton for Drafts & Crafts featuring TROEGS beer. Everyone knows beer makes the holidays better and this year you can enjoy a variety of Troegs beers while shopping for hand crafted items for sale by local vendors at Drafts & Crafts. That’s right you get to enjoy beer and get your shopping done! So make your list, check it twice and get to UNO’s Hamilton Dec. 11. Admission is FREE.
Please contact Geeky Beer Gal at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and vending opportunities.
Please join Beer for Babes & Geeky Beer Gal at Flying Fish Brewery for the Hoppy Holiday Bazaar 2. Everyone knows beer makes the holidays better and this year it can even help make holiday shopping more enjoyable. Enjoy a variety of Flying Fish beers while perusing the many fine craft items for sale by local vendors (all beer related) at the Hoppy Holiday Bazaar. That’s right you get to enjoy beer while getting your shopping done! So check your list for who’s been naughty or nice and get to Flying Fish Brewery December 4. Admission is FREE. Drink local, Shop local!
Please contact me at email@example.com with any questions.
Last I posted was about “My Place” UNO’s Hamilton but this time around I want to talk about “My Other Place” Trenton Road Take Out also known as my go to beer store. For the most part I prefer shopping at Mom & Pop stores as I find the experience to be more pleasant and personable. Mega stores and their mega parking lots can leave this Gal feeling frazzled. One time I decided to do my grocery shopping at a mega grocery store and was handed a map upon entering the store. A MAP! When a map is required to navigate a store I know the place is not for me.
No map is required at Trenton Road Take Out but do allow yourself plenty of time to shop. For a small store they are fully stocked with great beer and you want to make sure to explore each and every shelf. BTW, TRT is the only store this Gal shops at on Black Friday. Yes, they have Black Friday specials and folks line up early for them. They also offer gift certificates which were a big hit with this Gal’s family last Christmas.
The beer selection at TRT is outstanding and it would be very wise to follow them on Facebook since SMAS updates it regularly with new items, arrival days and where to find them in the store. There’s even a Facebook Rack which is where I usually head to first. That is after I get my beer to drink. Yup, they have 6 beers on tap for filling growlers and are also available to enjoy at the store. I love sipping on a great beer while beer shopping it’s so relaxing and enjoyable. The tap list changes frequently, again it’s updated regularly on Facebook and offers a nice variety of styles to choose from. The staff is great about offering sample tastes and they have printout sheets for each beer with ratings and descriptions.
Just because they are small don’t think they don’t get the limited releases. However, unlike some other establishments TRT keeps is very fair and doesn’t price gauge. This is a big deal to this Gal. Once I missed out on making the List, more about the List in a moment, and had to go to a big box store for KBS. I was blown away with how much they jacked up the price per bottle. I get they’re in business to make money but ripping off the customer – well – that just isn’t cool. TRT keeps the prices real and the List policy fair. List Policy per TRT – “List are started on FaceBook for beers that are allocated by my distributors and there is a very limited amount to be had. When I start a list on Facebook for a certain brew, you just have to say in any way you want, that you want to be on the list, I will then like your post to show that I saw it and you are now on the list. Lets say if it is a 2 case allocation of 22 oz bottles and you are in the top 24 you will have a bottle waiting for you, if you are out of the top, you will be put on the backup list and if someone backs out, you then move up the list. Once the beer comes in and the list is posted, you have 2 full weekends to pick it up, unless you ask me for more time. If beers are left after 2 weekends then they will be released to the people on the back up list. On very rare beers that are highly wanted, I will sometimes hold a lottery to see who gets one.” – more than fair! Mike, the owner, is always thinking about his customers.
Mike refers to himself as Evil SMAS but truth be told there’s nothing evil about him. Besides a great sense of humor he has a heart of gold and takes great pride in and is incredibly supportive of the community. He, his staff and customers are big supporters of It’s A Ruff Life Rescue and this Gal is continually blown away for all they do to help the pups.
Personally Mike and the crew at TRT have come through for this Gal more than once helping me to find beers needed for guest appearances on very short notice. On a few occasions he’s stopped what he was doing to go around his store taking pictures of beers and messaging me to see if I could use it or not. It saved me a ton of time and made things so much easier for me. No one is better at customer service than SMAS.
So next time your in need of beer I recommend heading over to Trenton Road Take Out where you’ll be greeted with smile and can enjoy a beer while shopping for beer and there’s a good chance you’ll run into this Gal there.