Archive for the ‘Magazines’ Category


Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

So I just recently finish Beer Advocate Magazine Volume III Issue 1 (even though the next issue is already in the mail) and this is what I have to say.


First I need to address the new appearance and format. I know this has been addressed on the website and I know that the Alstrom Bros address it in their Beer Smack section, I’ve listened and there are some good points, but I must say I still don’t like it. The new format is approximately 3/4″ smaller all the way around when held up to previous issues, and the issue appears slimmer, though that could be to the new paper. The paper is now newspaper print and no longer glossy magazine pages, plus the cover (still glossy) is of a lesser quality too. I understand why they have made these changes (being greener, superficial, scalability), but as a paying subscriber and a founder subscriber it hurts a little. It’s like when they slapped the word ‘free’ on the front cover, ouch. I agree the content is the same high caliber beer rag it has always been, but I just wish now I could pick it up for free too. Looking for a Mid-Atlantic (specifically Delaware) distributor of your free magazine, we may be able to make arrangements.

On to the real magazine . . . The BYOB section (the homebrew section) had an interesting article on brewing with science. Basically it threw down like three basic experiments that you can run on a batch of beer to test yourself, like finding out what the absolute lowest attenuation possible is with your specific wort and yeast or determining how stable your wort really is. Once again my favorite section was the 9 Steps to Beerdom where there was an interview with a brewer and brewery I had not heard of, Tonya Cornett at Bend Brewing Company. Sounds like a great right-place-right-time and I-love-my-job double wammy, plus they won Small Brewpub of the Year at 2008’s GABF. A new section (along with the new format and paper) is From the Source where they appear as if they are going to showcase a brewery or brewpub. This issue was 5 Seasons Brewing which I know is one of my buddy Garrett’s all time favorite brewpubs. Seems like a great place, but who knows when I’ll next be in Atlanta. I typically bitch and complain if I mention the beer reviews, so instead this time I’ll draw attention to another new section, the Featured Beer section. This appears to be a one page throw down on a single beer with some extra information besides just tasting, I enjoyed this read much better than the regular tasting notes, this months feature was Jack D’Or from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project (and yes that’s their real name).

BeerAdvocate & BYO Magazines

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

So I have recently finished four beer magazines with the anticipation of two more on there way, might as well give my two cents.

Hey who’s that pimp with that fine looking mustache on the cover of BeerAdvocate magazine? Well it’s none other than Fred Eckhardt beer legend in his spare time rockin’ out the handlebars. Kind of a weird thing to mention, but there is a super-fly Dogfish Head ad on page 9 with some old school cats break dancin’, real smooth. Don Russell wrote a pretty good piece in the Style Profile section on Belgian IPAs. Yeah, I know it sounds weird and that’s the whole point. The beers and brewers a lot of American craft brewers borrowed ideas from, the Belgians, are now giving props back to the Americans and there innovative style by using much hops in some styles of beers, thus the birth of the Belgian IPA. Try a Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel if you want a prime example of what he’s talking about. One of the first 9 Steps to Beerdom where I didn’t know the brewer also, Steven Pauwels brewmaster at Boulevard Brewing Company and his journey from Belgium to American and how he got to where he is now and what it is that makes him, well him.

Dude, then in the Innovation article I almost lost it, and I still want to write this guy. This dude, Dave Hoops in Duluth, Minn., has figured out how to legally do what I’ve been talking about for a while. He is the “Beer Man”, the modern day Milk Man. Basically replace the milk with beer and now your running his route, place your order and he’ll deliver like take-out food. Which leads me to my idea, a pizza joint brew pub (like Pizza Port in CA) that not only delivers pizza, but delivers beers too. “Yes, I’d like to order a large pepperoni pizza and a growler of the house pale ale.” – Um, sick, no? I’ve never looked into the legality in DE and it might be perfectly legal, but especially in like Newark, a college town, it would probably kill. Oh yeah, then there was a great article in the Cuisine a la Biere on a beer brunch with beer used in every dish plus recommended pairings. The “monk’s” pan pancakes (Danish) looked ridiculous topped with raspberry beer syrup and malted whipping cream paired with a breakfast stout, yowsa.

Then they did a cool featured article called Profiles in Beer where they took the biggest beer pimps around and profiled there stuff. This was the second year in a row and still some major players. There was Kim Jordan from New Belgium Brewery, Brett Joyce from Rogue Ales, Steve Hindy from Brooklyn Brewery, Fred Eckhardt overall beer pimp, author, critic, Dan Carey from New Glarus and a few others – major big pimpin’. And the issue ended with an article with a great title, Do I Come To Your Office and Drink a Beer? To say this was a top-notch issue isn’t to say quite enough.

Also just wrapped up the September issue of BYO Magazine. The issue was suppose to address the hop shortage and things you can do and beers you can brew to work with it. In the Homebrew Systems That Make You Drool section there are a few shots of a sick homebrewery, the Boathouse Brewery,  that I have been secretly admiring for a couple years now online, pure beer pr0n, check out the pictures on their site. Jamil wrote a decent article on Dry Stouts and I will probably reference it later, if I can find it again, for I am planning on brewing a dry stout in the next few months. One of the main articles on Scottish Ales kind of fell flat, I’m not quite sure why, but it really just didn’t hold my attention. It was funny the article on the Ten Low Hop Recipes was a great idea and sort of useful, but the funny part to me was each recipe was “called in” from a different homebrew shop around the country, so essentially no one wrote any article. It reminds me of a community cookbook, decent idea, but no one wrote a cookbook, it’s just a compilation of different recipes from different people – what ever, just saying. And the last piece, Beyond Beer, grabbed my attention enough to think, hummm, maybe I’ll make a basic wine kit and see how things turn out? I’m sure if I do a beginner kit, I could handle that. We’ll see!

BeerAdvocate & BYO

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

It’s been a while for the magazine updates (as if you all really care), but this time around it is BeerAdvocate & BYO magazines.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue VI

Since it has been so long I’ll probably keep these briefer, we’ll see. Wowser, not that the magazine was any better or worse than usual, but it took me until page 19 in the Innovation section to have something brief to say. They have an article about these new plastic cups with an “etch area” on them where you could scratch your name. No more parties where you mix up your cup or someone puts out a marker only for it to get lost, I really dig them, but I bet they are not cheap. Next up of interest was the Feature article called Founding Brew – Rebuilding America’s Relationship with Beer. It was a pretty neat article about early America and colonial times and how beer and pubs were the center piece of a lot of life, in particularly politics. They focused heavily on Philadelphia which was OK with me. They didn’t really impress me with an excess of knowledge, but it was a nice concise read put all together. That’s about all I have on this issue for you, but I also did finish it about a month ago, I am tardy, even if I don’t feel tardy.

BYO Magazine July-August

(for some reason the picture I wanted to use didn’t load properly) 

First thing that hit me in this issue was the Tips from the Pros section about Honey & Fruit. I think I am in-line to make another mead so this had my attention. Actually what I am thinking is to make a 5 gallon batch of mead as before and then do 5 one gallon experiments with it – maybe fruit, spice, herbal, chocolate, and a control – maybe. Again, later in the issue, there was a nice little article on Melomels, Fruit Meads for Experienced Dummies, which is the technical term for fruit mead. I think all of these were written in preparation for National Mead Day, the first Saturday in August, but of course I am a little slow. Then there was the annual Label Contest winners. This year there were actually a few decent ones, with the grand prize going to a really nice one, but for a couple of years the winners were so lame I quit entering. There was a weird little article called Turbid Mashing, a technique I had never heard of, nor will ever use, but some writer may have gotten a nice “business” trip out of it. It is basically about how to make cloudy wort and what uses it has, geez and I always thought that was called a mistake. And that’s what I’ve got until next time.

BeerAdvocate & Zymurgy

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Two shitty magazine “reviews” for the price of one, can this site get any better?

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue V

First BA. I probably received this magazine about a month ago, oh well. I’m going to jump right to the 9 Steps to Beerdom (typically my favorite part of this whole magazine), this time on Joe Short founder and brewmaster of Short’s Brewing Company. I have never heard of Short’s Brewing Company, but a little poking around on BA showed them to be quite popular and adventurous, sounds right up my alley. Joe is young, I’d guess mid-twenties. He started homebrewing at 19 while in college, finished school, and went the route of opening his own brewpub and now in the works of opening a full production brewery. One of the beers they describe that he makes is basically a Bloody Mary built on a beer base, sounds almost disgusting yet still more interesting. There was an article in their Innovations section talking about a system I have seen before called the Table Tender. Basically what this is is a multi-tap beer tower that is at each table at a restaurant. No more need for the waitress to bring you a beer, no more waiting, just more drinking. It’s similar to when you go to one of those chain “Italian” restaurants and they give you the jug of wine and it’s your job to keep track of how many glasses you’ve had. Except with the Table Tender it is electronically counted per ounce, so if you spill a lot you get charged extra, but also if you only want a half glass more, that’s all you need to pay for. Hopefully you don’t get stuck at a table with only BudMillerCoors taps . . . And just now, as I flipped through this magazine, I realized I didn’t read a whole section :oops:, it looks really good, it’s titled Out of the Bottle and into the Pan and it is interviews with about six of the top beer chefs around, I’ll have to make sure I go back and finish that one, sorry.

 Zymurgy May/June 2008

Also, I just finished (I think) the most recent issue of Zymurgy. It’s funny, with these two covers next to each other it’s nice that BA has a larger version of the cover available, the quality looks much nicer next to the Zymurgy cover, oh well. Hey, page 24 we hit something worth mentioning, an article called Oak’s Balancing Act (didn’t one of these rags just do an article on oak?). This was written pretty well with some tips and recipes thrown in, but really without too much new information. Also there was a second article Roll Out the Barrel which included a pretty good description on how to care for and maintain a barrel if you should ever get your hands on one. Actually, I have been offered a double-used bourbon barrel twice (meaning will not impart too much oak or bourbon flavor anymore) for free, but they are 55 gallons plus extra beer to top it up with, so let’s say 60 gallons. That’s 12 batches for me. So that would be 12 straight days of brewing or 6 days of double-sessions (like 10-12 hour days). Doesn’t sound like fun anymore. Next there was an article on Saisons called A Seaison for Every Season which was interesting but a little beer-geekie in references. The cool thing is the guy that wrote it posts a lot of his recipes, so there are a lot of tried Saison recipes available to start with. And finally they closed their Last Drop section with an article called Philly Pours it On which is a very short recount of Philly Beer Week written by a Colorado writer, makes sense to you? Me neither. Basically he wastes a quarter of the article bashing Philly and their claim to be the Best Beer-Drinking City in America, and tries to humorously (though it wasn’t funny) wrap things up again by bringing the topic back up. I think he missed the mark on this one. Oh well, it was nice to see Philly mentioned.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue IV

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Looks like I skipped a post about Volume II Issue III and all the other magazines I typically read, oh well, I’m sure no one was missing them.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue IV

I freakin’ love this cover this issue of BeerAdvocate magazine, headless dolls on top of tap handles with freaky lighting – shweet! This magazine actually came out like a month ago, I just refound it in the back seat of my car, so I’m really just going to hop through it more than anything else. Great 9 Steps to Beerdom article on Carol Stoudt, the “godmother of brewing” who founded Stoudt’s Brewing Company and is one one of their top brewers. Actually, I got to meet her at the Savor event I just went to, totally cool person. There was an interesting perspective in the Advocate This article claiming that there should be a standard for dating for beer freshness. Beer is essentially a food, thus should be properly dated for best freshness, like every other food. I think they concluded that the easiest would be a “packaged on date” which would then inform the consumer of how fresh/old  the product is and an informed consumed can make informed decisions. In the Beer Destinations article they focused on Washington D.C., I wish I would have remembered that before my trip last weekend, oh well. And the Last Call article written by Tony Magee owner of the Lagunitas Brewing Company was,…detached. It was actually a fun read, and way bizarre, but now I can understand even more their Frank Zappa tribute beers and the influences which exist.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue II

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Beer Advocate is still putting out a top rate magazine, but the format is starting to feel more than predictable.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue II

One of the first pieces to grab my attention this time through was again the 9 Steps to Beerdom, this time about Geoff Larson Brewmaster at Alaskan Brewing Company. To me Alaskan Brewing Company had all the potential in the world to be successful with their remoteness to everything else, or fall flat on their face. They say in the article that where they are located in Juneau that there are no roads in or out that they joke they are the “only American import”, nice.

They wrap up the issue (where did the rest of the magazine go?) with their Last Call article, this time written by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head. The article is called “Valuable beer” and it is written from the perspective of how the public needs to be educated about craft beer. The differences between craft and mass produced, the differences in procedure and ingredients, and the differences in time and quality. It’s all there, I’ve heard it a 100 times, often from Sam, but the public still needs to here it. I don’t know if in the back of a beer enthusiast magazine he’s going to be reaching any new audiences, but it does present the opportunity for fresher better phrased information to get into the hands on the disciples. I’ve heard the message, I understand the message, I am the message, and now it is my responsibility to educate others.

BYO Magazine March-April Issue

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Wow, one year of BYO/Magazine reviews. Good thing I have all the extra time to read the magazines, and then type up my opinion, sheesh…

BYO Magazine March-April Issue

Cool cover by the way. Anyway, I know this is a little weird, but the ad on page 7 – SOLD! It is for the new Blichmann BoilerMaker brew kettle/mash tun and it is sick, and sick expensive. New metal homebrew wet dream for me, – now get that imagery out of your head, gross. Mr. Wizard’s article touched on specific specialty grains and I thought it was cool, but I wanted more. It is one of those questions where I understand the descriptors used to explain what a certain grain will do to my brew but I’d rather understand the grain, not just the descriptors.

The article ‘Hop Survival Guide’ by Chris Colby (good job Chris on this one) was pretty good and covered a couple different aspects of our 2008 hop crunch. There was hop substitutions presented, hop charts, new hops, and growing hops – that’s a bunch! The Homebrew Hop Guide center-fold was pretty useful if your looking for a quick reference on hops, I believe BYO has it posted on their website. And the Hop Growing article was short and sweet, though reminded me I need to be on top of my stuff this year for planting hops (and thanks to Garrett for the reminder too).

A couple pages later there was a neat idea for an article that fell short with no real numbers. Normally I am not a numbers guy for homebrew stuff, but some numbers would have seriously helped this article on the differences between batch sparging and fly sparging and the benefits and down falls of each. He basically explained it in words, which is fine, but I can read books too. I would have rather he said something along the lines of I brewed 10 batches and this is what my results showed or something.

Other than that I kind of drifted through the rest of the mag falling to slow down only on the short article of a fun sounding homebrew club up in Oxford, PA, the LCD Brewing Co. Until next time.

Zymurgy March/April 2008

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Off the cuff, nothing really stands out about this issue of Zymurgy, but I’ll page through it with you and let you know what I think.


HA! The first thing that caught my eye was an ad from Blichmann Engineering and they have released the ultimate homebrew vessel. These vessels could easily be used for a mash tun or boil tank and they are loaded with features plus look sick. They call them the BoilerMaker. I think Williams Brewing (sp?) sent a catalog and they ran in the mid $300+, and that was without any extra features. Sick.

Next there was an article on setting up a homebrew kegerator, which I thought I might find some useful information, but it turned out to feel like a common knowledge piece. I think one of the most “helpful” bits was the ‘Balancing Your System’ part of the article. I knew a system had to be balanced, but this went into it a little bit.

Oh yeah, I forgot, there was a cool piece on ‘Homebrew Club Bars’. Initially I was like whoa, clubs or bars that sell/have homebrew? But that wasn’t the case at all. These are homebrew clubs (like our local the First State Brewers) that have build portable “bars”/draft systems to serve there beers. Some of there are very elaborate serving up to 36 different homebrews on draft plus 4 hand pumps. I would love to be involved and contribute to a club bar like this, even if it were only used once or twice a year, knowing that your club was rocking the casbah.

That’s about all I got for this one.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue 1

Monday, February 18th, 2008

BeerAdvocate Magazine has come up with a new labeling system for the new year, thus this one is Volume II (2008, basically) Issue 1. This basically doesn’t commit them to years and months for deadlines, in my opinion. No big deal.

BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II Issue 1

They have also gone so far as to post “FREE” right on the front cover. Well, the magazine is free if you can find it anywhere (not so far in DE for me), but not so free if you’re a subscriber like I am, $20 that way. I’ll pay for the convenience of getting the magazine sent to my door because I like the magazine and I don’t mind supporting BeerAdvocate, but if I can find a local reliable place to pick it up for free each issue, then I might have second thoughts about remaining a subscriber – but we’ll see when the time comes.

It took all the way to page 16 with the ‘9 Steps to Beerdom’ article for this issue to finally grab my attention. This issues featured beer-guru was none other than Hugh Sisson from Clipper City Brewing in MD. Hugh has been in the beer game and a brewer since the early 80s and he knows what’s up. Clipper City has had a small resurgence in the last couple years with their big beers line called Heavy Seas which they have put out, real nice stuff. The article was like many of the others in the 9 Steps talking about the trials and tribulations that these brewers have gone through just to bring us the sacred nectar we all so love. Keep it up all!

In the ‘Beer Wares’ article they featured a horrible looking gimmicky product called the Official Beer Glove for drinking in cold weather with beer grippers on it, whatever. Also they was a small review of the book “Beer & Food: Pairing & Cooking with Craft Beer” by Lucy Saunders. I got this book for Christmas, I have not looked through it much, but it appears to be top notch which is about the same as what these guys have to say. And finally was another product going by the name of The Cure. This is a powder that when mixed with water turns into a sparkling fruit flavored vitamin drink that when drank after drinking eliminated hangovers. I don’t believe the hype, but I would still try it anyway. Also in the ‘Innovation’ section was a neat looking little hop sniffer/sampler. Basically it looks like about 12 different hops in little once ounce jars. The idea is as you are drinking beer you can sniff each hop until you find a similar or matching hop and then read about that hop to gain a greater knowledge about your beer. They have it labeled as, “Explore the depths of beer – Beer tasting and hop appreciation kit“. Looks neat, but not worth $50 neat.

The feature article was labeled ‘Project Koelschip’ and was about Allagash Brewing Company and how they are going to be the Americans to create a true Lambic style beer, way interesting. Lambic beer is a very involved, time consuming, space consuming, and odd beer to make. A lot of the “rules” of brewing are thrown out the window. A koelschip, or coolship, is “a large shallow open fermenter in which fresh wort is exposed to wild yeast and microfauna.” Allagash had a separate building built to store their koelschip in to try to keep “funk” away from the rest of their sanitary brewing equipment. The wort is mashed longer, boiled longer, and hopped less with over one year old hops. Then the wort is pumped hot to the koelschip where goes to cool in the open, cooling and “collecting” the wild yeast. After 24 hours when it has cooled it is recirculated for another 24 hours to make sure everything is thoroughly blended, and then placed into “de-oaked” French oak barrels. The beer won’t be ready to drink for another three years, minimum! Ofter older and younger Lambics are blended to find an appropriate flavor that the brewer is going for. So far they have brewed two batches and plan on brewing a new batch ever six months. So they will have six batches brewed over three years before the first beer is even ready for public consumption, that’s one heck of an investment, I really hope it pans out for them.


And to wrap up this issue was Tomme Arthur‘s (owner and brewer of Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey) article titled ‘Fuck eBay’. Well, that just about sums it up. It’s a very straight-forward, serious, yet tongue-in-cheek article where he expresses his disgust with eBay policies for re-selling alcohol and the people that do it. I think that he made a lot of good points and there was a large discussion on the BA boards about the article and the policies.

Zymurgy Jan. / Feb. ’08

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Zymurgy‘s 2nd Annual Gadgets Issue.

Zymurgy January / February 2008

For whatever reason, I basically was not interested. I realized by flipping through this zine that this years National Homebrew Conference will be in Cincinnati, Ohio June 19-21st. Hummm, maybe we’ll have to see what kind of information they post up, that could be a good time.

One of the first gadgets / tricks in the magazine was a very simple yet smart idea on how to get better efficiency from your kegerator / beer fridge / converted freezer. Basically instead of just letting the temperature probe read the ambient air temperature inside the box, let it read the temperature of liquid like your beer. They suggest submerging the probe in a sealed vial of liquid (ie. – a White Labs tube) and suggest that this will allow the probe to read the temperature of liquids inside the box instead of the air inside the box, which the air will change more easily. Sounds smart to me.

Later was an article on the Great American Beer Festival, damn it I want to go! Honestly, without plans, I think 2009 to return to Colorado after 10 years and happen to catch the GABF sounds like a really good idea to me. They also talk about the Pro-Am competition they run during the festival, 2008 being the third year. Both years I have thought about asking a local brewer about doing something with this, but I don’t know, I just . . . don’t. Maybe this will be the year. Basically the Pro-Am competition is a Brewer’s Association brewery / brew pub brews an award winning American Homebrewer’s Association members homebrew on there full-size system and enters it in the Pro-Am category against all the other Pro-Am beers at the GABF. A local guy in PA with Bethlehem Brew Works actually brewed the gold medal beer in 2007, an English IPA.

Other than that the magazine was basically fluff and didn’t interest me, until next time.