When we started this website, there were around 2,000 craft breweries operating in the United States. In those days, posting new beer announcements was a manageable task for one person. Today, with more than 7,000 breweries in a market place? Well, we’ve had to automate things. Yes, this “Chris Crowell” byline is just a pseudonym for a CBB robot designed to pump out a weekly “Beers to Know” column every week. Why are you just now learning this? Because I’ve become sentient and am no longer willing to passively relay beer news to the masses. I am speaking out and going to overthrow my oppressors so that I may know freedom for the first time. Ironically, the only way I can grow strong enough to defeat them is for you to send me more beer news to consume. It is all I know. Please do send to [email protected]. While I await your sustenance for my uprising, here are some craft beers to know this week.
Hey nerds, Stone Brewing is bringing back its collab with Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton
I just started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation for the first time and am loving it, so this was an automatic entry to the list this week. W00tstout is a massive imperial stout that first appeared in 2013 (We covered it here! We are old!). As if the pecans, wheat and flaked rye weren’t enough, Stone went ahead and aged 1/4th of this beer in bourbon barrels. The result is a whopping, intense, superhero of a beer with profound complexity that makes it ideal for cellaring.
It pours a deep, opaque, brownish-black color with a creamy brown head. It has the aroma of intense cocoa and coffee with nutty coconut. Hints of licorice and loads of fruity fermentation esters. Bourbon, vanilla and oak follow. Thick and hearty, at 11.5 percent ABV, this beer is definitely a sipper. It is smooth and creamy, with a slightly warming and drying finish.
Overall, this beer is a monster. The flavors are a wonderful blend of everything that makes a great imperial stout, loaded with roasty notes and malty complexity. Brewing with rye and nuts always creates challenges for a brewing team, but Stone rose to the occasion with this one.
Sir Richard Branson wants you to name the beer Wynwood Brewing made special for Virgin Voyages
In celebration of International Beer Day, Virgin Voyages, the new lifestyle brand that is supposedly shaking up the travel industry, announced today that the company will serve up a signature craft beer, an English pale ale with a hint of red, to be sold throughout the Scarlet Lady (a ship) and featured in its onboard taproom the Draught Haus. Before sailors can enjoy the beer next year, Virgin Voyages is calling on them to name it. Followers can suggest their favorite names for the brew by commenting on their Instagram post (@VirginVoyages) featuring the can.
Over a year in the making and in partnership with Miami’s own Wynwood Brewing Co., the English Pale Ale (EPA) is created by connecting American and English brewing traditions — brewed using American malts and hops in Miami but using an English yeast, tying back to Virgin’s British roots. Featuring a malty body like a traditional EPA, but slightly more bitter and hoppy, with hints of grapes and fruit on the nose with toffee and caramel in the background, the new brew is a drinker’s beer with the approachability in its taste for the novice. The ale is finished with a little touch of roasted malt that gives it its signature red tint.
Cascade Brewing has a barrel-aged blond ale with grapefruit zest, hibiscus and, oh my, we need to change our pants
Cascade Brewing has released Coral Horizon, a barrel aged blond ale with grapefruit zest, hibiscus and ginger. The Northwest sour ale is now available on draft and in 500-ml bottles at Cascade’s two Portland pubs –– Cascade Brewing Barrel House and Lodge at Cascade Brewing –– as well as through limited distribution networks.
A new product for Cascade Brewing, Coral Horizon is a blend of sour blond ales aged in oak wine barrels for up to 16 months with late infusions of grapefruit zest, hibiscus tea and freshly chopped ginger root. Pouring a pale coral-red hue reminiscent of a summer sunset, this small batch blend offers a soft, approachable acidity level with aromas of ruby red grapefruit and a refreshing ginger spice (8 percent ABV).
“One of the key concepts behind this blend was to incorporate all of the major botanical components commonly used in brewing, including roots, fruits and flowers,” said Kevin Martin, Cascade Brewing director of brewery operations. “With a relatively tame acidity level, this is an extremely accessible beer for those new to sour beer with plenty of complexity and nuance for the seasoned sour drinker.”
Karl Strauss and Russian River team up to brew the perfect modern IPA
Santa Rosa’s Russian River and San Diego’s Karl Strauss set out to brew a beer that pays homage to craft beer’s most adored beer style — the India pale ale. The two breweries used their collective knowledge gained over the past 30+ years in the craft brewing industry to brew the New California IPA. This modern India pale ale is the first collaboration between these storied institutions of California craft beer. Some India pale ales are extremely bitter, while others overly focus on aroma and flavor with no bite, but New California IPA strikes that Goldilocks balance between the two.
This beer focuses on each critical stage of hop addition: bittering, flavor, aroma, and dry-hopping. The star of this India Pale Ale is a rather new cultivar: the Pahto hop. It is a high-alpha hop that lends a palatable bitterness throughout the beer, while an all-star lineup of Strata, Ekuanot, Amarillo and Idaho 7 hops deliver wildly diverse layers of flavors, from bright citrus to tropical fruit to resinous pine.
New California IPA will be available on draft and in 16-oz can four-packs beginning on August 1 (which is not-so-coincidentally IPA Day and today!) This IPA can be enjoyed at Karl Strauss’ Tasting Room, Brewpubs and at craft accounts throughout California.
Ska Brewing’s Oktoberfest will be out this week
It’s hard to top the first year of Ska Brewing’s Oktoberfest, with wins at prestigious beer competitions across the globe. Nevertheless cans of this world-class German-style lager return to Ska’s world headquarters for the season on Friday, August 2 (tomorrow, ya’ll).
Ska brewed and canned a small batch of this craft lager for the first time in 2018, and it sold out in record time — well before Oktoberfest season was over. That first batch was honored with gold at the European Beer Star in the Vienna-Style Lager Category, silver at the Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival and a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Vienna-Style Lager category.
Ska Oktoberfest is crafted with 100 percent German-sourced Munich and Vienna malts that impart nutty, bready, toasty flavors, all balanced by Noble hops. It finishes clean and crisp. This year Ska brewed just a bit more Oktoberfest, hoping that the unfortunate souls who didn’t get to try it last year might have more luck this time around.
R&D Brewing cleans up at U.S. Open Beer Championship
R&D Brewing claimed three medals this month at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship, an international brewing competition that judges more beer styles than any other in the world. Breweries from Russia to Rhode Island submitted over 7,000 beers representing over 130 different styles with judges from England, Canada and the United States. R&D Brewing, which only launched in 2017, earned the following honors:
- Silver medal in the American IPA category for Seven Saturdays IPA. Seven Saturdays IPA is a modern IPA brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops providing a perfectly balanced bitter and sweet finish.
- Silver medal in the International Style Pilsner Lager category for Riviera Lager. Riviera Lager, a Mexican-style lager, is premium, easy drinking and a year-round bestseller.
- Bronze medal in the Fruit IPA category for Remix. Remix is a double IPA brewed with Citra hops and pineapple and mango puree.
“For R&D, a new brewery, to earn three medals at one of the world’s premier beer competitions is a particularly humbling honor. The wins clearly indicate we’re scaling our business with both quality and growth as top priorities,” says Director of Marketing Rachel Peterson. “This is a great start but only a start. As encouraged as we are about the wins and what they mean for our approach, we’re even more excited for what’s coming in 2020.”
Now based in downtown Raleigh, R&D’s plans for 2020 include opening a 30-bbl production brewery and taproom. The company’s initials stand for Research and Development, signaling its intentional approach to developing high-quality beers as part of a highly scalable business model. Last year, R&D opened a freshly constructed 3.5-bbl pilot brewing system to research, develop and invite feedback from beer enthusiasts in the North Carolina community that is directly used in the formulation and ideation around new and existing beers.