IMG_2393This is the twenty-eighth episode of the Blind Tiger Podcast, recorded on May 12th, 2014.  In this episode Mike, Jesse, and I gathered in our studio to resurrect our favorite segment Slummin’ It.  Mike and I decided rather than embracing the snobbiest of craft beer we would highlight the lowest of the low.  Well, actually the cheapest of the cheap anyway.  We decided that Beer vs Beer would be a battle of non-craft beer 40s.

We also spent time debating the Brewers Association rule change that removes adjunct restrictions which makes Yuengling’s beers officially craft beer.

We discuss that the explosion of craft beer seems to have leapt ahead of farmers capacity to grow hops leading to many breweries feeling the pressure (and the price) of being able to secure the hops they need to make their beer and the consequences of this hop shortage.

And we wash out our mouths from the taste of cheap American malt liquor with a rare beer selection from Italy.  While it may not be known for its craft beer scene Italy has had at least two major waves of craft beer and is starting to make a name for itself.  So don’t miss out.

Out introductory question this week was: If you could create a new drinking game in involving 40s (like Edward 40shands) what would it be and what is its name?

Show Notes:

Beer News:

  • Local Pub Celebrates American Craft Beer Week
  • Brewers Art Renames Ozzy Beer
  • Beer Demand Leading to Hop Shortage
  • Craft Beer Blitz - Molson CEO Blames Canadian Hockey for down sales
  • Sixpoint’s Apollo returns to bars/cans
  • Ballast Point releases Even Keel Session IPA
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers releases Blind Tiger IIPA

Point / Counterpoint: Adjunct Craft Beer?

The Brewers Association holds the official definition of what is craft beer.  Those in the industry as supposed to abide by the Brewers Associations definition when advertising their beers.  The association, as we have discussed before, has three main pillars about what defines craft beer; small, independent, and traditional.  Under the umbrella of traditional is the rule that a brewery cannot make more than fifty percent of its beer, as well as its “flagship” beer, from ingredients other than barley malt.  Colloquially these beers are known as adjunct beers and are generally considered to be divergence from tradition.  Ingredients such as corn, rice, and sugar are often added to the beer at mass market breweries to keep ABV levels higher at a lower price using this adjunct as cheaper replacements to the more expensive barley.  The Brewers Association has decided to amend their definition to remove this adjunct restriction from craft beer when means that Yuengling & Sons Inc is now officially a craft beer.  Their flagship adjunct American lagers will be considered craft beer.

This has many brewers and craft beer fans up in arms at a definition change that seems to be more political than principled.  Many are arguing that this change was to include Yuengling & Sons strictly to lend Yuengling’s weight and budget to fighting unfair legislation or legitimize craft beer in necessary circles.  The downside being that the new definition “water downs” the definition to include beer considered unworthy of the craft beer title, despite Yuengling being a wildly popular and highly sought after beer.

Beer vs Beer:

Rob’s Choice:Colt 45 Double Malt

Mike’s Choice:Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager

Rare Beer Snob: Italian Craft Beer Addition:

Craft beer is exploding in America.  Article after article after article has been published extolling the market success that is craft beer.  Enough ink has been spilt on paper on the subject of new breweries, expanded capacity, exploding portfolios, and increased market share.  While America is experiencing a craft beer resurgence that borders of craft beer Renaissance there are other countries around the world that are also seeing explosive growth in craft beer.

It may come as a surprise that Italy has been experiencing its own craft brewing growth.  The Italian style of craft beer is hard to define as craft beer in Italy is at most fifteen years old.  Yet despite a lack of history the beer being produced is not to be ignored.  The bottle we are going to share today is an Italian Special Blonde Ale called Stone R by Birrificio Bruton.  Brewery Bruton is located in the city of Lucca which is near Italy’s western coast.  It opened in 2006 as part of Italy’s second craft beer wave.

Brewery Bruton specializes in unpasteurized, unfiltered beers that contain no preservatives to maximize the flavor from brewery to glass.  This unique blonde ale is 7.5% ABV and only 120 cases were delivered to the United States in all of 2013.  I’m excited to try a sample of Italy’s craft beer revolution so let’s pop the bottle and see what we think.

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