Guide to Beer In and Around Cary

Guide to Beer In and Around Cary

Growth Potential — How American Brewers are Following Belgian Farm Traditions

Founders Brewing is being sued for racial discrimination. Former employee Tracy Evans says he was fired as a result of an attempt to make a formal complaint to human resources regarding incidents of racist behavior, including employees using racial slurs and the alleged existence of a white guy printer and black guy printer in the Founders office. Evans, who is black, also says he was unfairly looked over for a promotion.

Founders responded by denying a majority of the allegations, including the existence of segregated printers, but it did not deny the racial slurs. Founders acknowledged Evans was one of three employees who applied for two open positions at the company, and that two white coworkers with less experience than him were hired in those positions. However, Founders denied these two coworkers were involved in the terminable incidents Evans alleged, which included one employee crashing his vehicle into a parked car while intoxicated, and the other exposing himself at a party.

And thus, the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival was born. From its first year in 2012, its been one of the best and most memorable experiences a beer drinker can buy a ticket for. I should know; Ive been there the last four years, courtesy of Firestone Walker itself, writing up lists of the best beers I sampled during a festival where the average level of quality is incredibly high. In comparison with the likes of the Great American Beer Festival … well, there really is no comparison, to be honest. Where events like GABF are cosmopolitan and all-encompassing, designed to overwhelm the attendee with the sheer scope of beer present, Firestones festival is all about individual quality of each attendee. The brewery wants you to feel confident walking up to any booth, knowing that any beer present is probably superlative. It may have been a format designed with the visiting brewers in mind, but it proved just as awesome for attendees. Or as Brynildson puts it, If you take care of the brewers, everything else sort of takes care of itself.

How “Invitationals” Supplanted the Traditional Beer Festival :: Drink :: Features :: craft beer :: Paste

The suit was filed Aug. 22 in U.S. District Court in Eastern Michigan. About a month later, Founders was accused on social media of being homophobic after the brewery spoke out against, then revoked, a tweet protesting the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerces endorsement of Bill Schuette, Michicgans Republican candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Schuette, the states current attorney general, previously fought (and failed) to ban same-sex marriage in Michigan.

Meanwhile, the festival is also a recognition of Half Acres growth since it began in Chicago some 11 years ago, around the same time as similarly growing contemporary Revolution Brewing. The two breweries seem symbolically linked, in the sense that they both stepped in to fill the roles of larger, widely available (in the city) Chicago craft brewers after the 2011 acquisition of the beloved Goose Island, which left many Chicago beer geeks disenchanted. Half Acre in particular has expanded greatly in the last two years, building a new northside production brewery and watching what was once a tiny business grow to one with more than 120 employees, making 50,000 barrels per year. As Magliaro observes, were not really that nimble little thing anymore, but thats exactly the point—and the Far & Away festival is intended to hammer that point home, that Half Acre is Chicagos brewery.

Beer is nonpartisan, Founders wrote in a tweet following the latter incident. We love our employees’ passion for equality — and beer. It reflects what we strive for as a company. Were into beer — not political endorsements. We’ll remain members of the @grchamber and support equality in our business & community.

Other craft breweries certainly werent missing out on this new development, or the headlines that the FWIBF was getting. Slowly but surely, you began to see other invitational-style festivals pop up, often hosted by the very same breweries that Firestone had previously set out to gather together. Theres Green City, the hyped event put on by NYCs Other Half Brewing, who I sampled for the first time at FWIBF. Theres the upcoming, inaugural Far & Away festival (more on that in a moment) that Chicagos Half Acre is about to host this weekend, bringing a FWIBF-like format to the heart of the Windy City. Even Stone Brewing Co. hosts an invitational now, and events with similar structures can be found in Atlantas Day of the Juice or Proof Brewing Co.s Florida Tap Invitational. This is likely just scratching the surface—Im sure there are plenty of others that Im missing.

Those are nice thoughts, but somethings not adding up. Homophobia plus racism does not equal equality.

What Evans says is happening with Founders is absolutely unacceptable, as is the companys dalliance with government-endorsed homophobia.

And so, Far & Away is meant to introduce many of those brewers to a city theyve never visited—one that is conveniently now home to several newly award-winning young breweries. In particular, Eris Brewery & Cider House, Corridor Brewery, and Alarmist Brewing in Chicago all just took home medals in the newly created juicy IPA or juicy DIPA categories at GABF, with Alarmist claiming the most sought-after medal of the festival: Gold in hazy/juicy IPA for their flagship Le Jus NEIPA. Brewers will have an opportunity to sample many of those beers at a private Half Acre party, in advance of the festival.

Whether we all want to admit it or not, beer is political. It serves communities, champions civil rights, and prevents global warming. Beer supports LGBTQ causes and provides spaces for those seeking communion of all stripes.

At that point there was just a ton of beer fests all over the place, said a reflective Brynildson, looking back on the landscape from seven years ago. They probably started with the best intentions, but they turned into big drunkfests. Brewers didnt show up to them, which left distributors just pouring all of their partner brewery products. There wasnt any reason to go to most of them, from a brewers perspective. Theyd lost their soul! Just someone saying beer fest sort of made me feel anxious, with a few big exceptions.

There are a lot of eyes on Founders now, including mine. If these issues are not rectified, Founders is going to lose a customer. And Im sure I wont be the only one.

Buffalo Wild Wings doesnt mess around when it comes to craft beer. The chicken-wing-chain-slash-sports-bar is the largest pourer of draft beer in the country and has a three-year sponsor relationship with the Brewers Association (BA). Those who attended the Great American Beer Fest this year might remember its pop-up sports bar.

For attendees, its about the quality of the collection of modern beer, said Magliaro. Its about beer that is on the forefront of what beer is today. If youre a consumer, you have to love that. And for us, its an opportunity to connect the dots regarding our personal relationships. We travel to a whole lot of different breweries and try a whole lot of different beers. We are fans ourselves, and we have this web of friendships and fandoms that we want to highlight.

Now, according to Brewbound, B-Dubbs and the BA are about to take their lovefest to the next level with even more events, such as possibly collaborating on the Craft Brewers Conference, Homebrew Con, and GABF 2019, and possibly higher-end events like Savor and Paired.

The year is 2012, and the craft beer boom is at its zenith, with massive year-over-year growth and money rushing into the sector. Matt Brynildson, the highly respected brewmaster for Paso Robles Firestone Walker Brewing Co., arguably the best regional craft brewery in the country, is approached with an offer from a local organization. They tell him they want to invest in a Firestone Walker beer festival, set in Paso Robles—a celebration of the city and the brewerys success.

The BA cares about fueling the growth of small and independent craft breweries. I get that. I even support it! But big-brand sponsorships and the BAs indie ethos go together like, well, the Golden Arches and the BA Independent Seal.

Arbys bought Buffalo Wild Wings for more than $2 billion last year. Thats more than double what Constellation Brands paid for Ballast Point in 2015.

Jameson, another sponsor that stole the show at GABF this year, is owned by Pernod Ricard, one of the largest liquor companies in the world. Point is, the BA isnt anti-chain, anti-conglomerate, or anti-mass production. Its hardly even anti-Big Beer — ABIs breweries still attend and pour at GABF. In fact, 10 Barrel Brewing was one of the most-medaled breweries in the competition this year.

The San Francisco Brewers Guild goes aboard WWII ship S.S. Jeremiah OBrien for the 15th annual Brews on the Bay this Saturday, October 13. In all, 30 breweries, including Black Hammer, Pedro Point, Sufferfest, Cellarmaker, Armstrong, and the new Hop Oast will be onsite pouring alongside a specially made brew for the occasion made by Kevin Inglin of Ferment.Drink.Repeat. The beer, created in honor of the “past and present” crew of the OBrien in its 75th year. Tickets for the event are up for grabs now.

Getting more eyes on great beer is fantastic. If free chicken and whiskey are involved, even better. But for me, the BAs endorsement of a fast-casual chain worth billions and the worlds best-selling Irish whiskey is awfully curious. Raking in corporate chicken and whiskey money may help the BA throw great festivals for now, but sooner or later, consumers are going to catch on to the fact that big corporate sponsorships and the Independent Seal, #TakeCraftBack campaign, and whatever Big Beer-bashing agenda the BA comes up with next dont really add up.

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), Portland, Ore.-based owner of Hawaiis Kona Brewing and several other brands across the U.S., including Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Omission Brewing, and Square Mile Cider, announced on Wednesday it will acquire three more breweries: Cisco Brewers of Nantucket, Mass.; Appalachian Mountain Brewery of Charlotte, N.C.; and Wynwood Brewing of Miami, Fla.

Russian River Brewing is, after months of planning, spending and building, opening its new Windsor brewhouse to the public on Thursday, October 11. Tours are still a few weeks out, per an Instagram post, but an onsite brewpub will start serving guests this week following a ribbon cutting on Thursday. As co-founder Natalie Cilurzo wrote, “Vinnie (Cilurzo), our whole team and I are very excited to share our new Windsor brewery with you!”

CBA, founded in 2008 and partially owned (31.4 percent) by Anheuser-Busch, had existing partnerships with all three of its new acquisitions.

View this post on Instagram Introducing our new Head Brewer, Phil Cutti, president of the San Francisco Brewers Guild & founder of Headlands Brewing Company! Come meet Phil & Ron of @admiralmaltings next Thursday, October 11th from 4-6pm at China Basin as they chat with @brew.tv ! Well have two Speakeasy & Admiral beers available : 100% Admiral Fest Bier & Hunter Point Fresh IPA Series: Admiral Haze!

Speaking to Brewbound, CBA CEO Andy Thomas summed up the strategy perfectly: This isnt a time to divide and conquer. It is a time to unite and conquer.

And there are yet more Oktoberfests ahead. Albanys Ocean View Brew Works is throwing their Oktoberfest this Sunday, October 14, with a traditional band, bratwurst, and brews. The event is $35 to attend, and that price includes a custom Stein, a brat, “Berliner Weisse pickles,” and two fills of beer.

CBA, by the way, owns beer brands available in 50 states and 30 countries. By solidifying these relationships (read: acquiring them), CBA gets to control more beer brands in more states, and see to it that theyre distributed in a massive network.

A similar model, albeit on a smaller scale, is Canarchy, a craft brewery collective founded in 2015 funded by private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners. Canarchy includes Oskar Blues, which alone is distributing in 50 states and 17 countries; Cigar City, which recently posted 60 percent growth in production volume; along with Three Weavers, Deep Ellum, Perrin, Wasatch, and Squatters. The collective is already among the top 10 craft brewing companies in the U.S., according to the BA.

Out in the 925, the Brewing Network and the city of Concord are throwing their own Oktoberfest event on Friday, October 12. Twenty breweries will be pouring German-style lagers right in Todos Santos Park to benefit Bike Concord. Tickets, which cost $25, include a 0.5 L beer Stein and two pours.

Collective. Alliance. Im seeing a strategic, sustainable trend here. Codependence, not independence, is the future of craft brewing.

View this post on Instagram With that view of #AlcatrazIsland as @21stAmendment serves you?! YES, PLEASE! __RT: Ready for #BrewsontheBay aboard historic @ssjeremiahobrien with #SF brewers serving unlimited pours of their latest, greatest brews? ⛴️ ⚓ brewsonthebay.org – Tickets @evenbrite

Constellation Brands announced that Mallika Monteiro has been promoted to senior vice president and chief growth officer. In her new position, Monteiro will focus on every beverage companys favorite word: innovation.

Monteiro, previously vice president of innovation for Constellations beer division, was responsible for recent launches including Corona Premier, Corona Refresca, Svedka Spiked Seltzer, and Western Standard (that last one is an American premium lager aged in High West Whiskey barrels).

City-side, Magnolia is teaming up with Off the Grid for its first CanToberfest event on Friday, where — you guessed it — there will be cans of Magnolias brews as well as a collab brut saison-style ale beer (with Off the Grid) newly released to guests.

Basically, this woman knows whats trending. Corona is leading the way for Mexican imports, a category that is currently dominating. Whiskey barrel-aged adjunct lager sounds kinda gross, but both barrel-aged beers and lagers are very much in vogue. And we all know the deal with spiked seltzers: Every major beer company is making or acquiring one.

Every Wednesday morning, SFGATE finds the biggest headlines in local (and sometimes national) beer. Check back here weekly for news, events, and information about special releases from your favorite local breweries.

With these innovations du jour under her belt, Im interested to see what Monteiro comes up with next. Hopefully, it wont be another diet beer. Or, at least, not another one with Gold in the title.

Longreads and photographic journeys documenting our ongoing worldwide adventures in beer, food, and travel.

To the outside observer, Scratch Brewing Co. will likely seem more locally rooted—so to speak—than most modern American beer makers. The brewery, based in rural Ava, Illinois, focuses on idiosyncratic ales laced with ingredients foraged from nearby fields and woods. Mushrooms, tree bark, sassafras leaves—name some flora native to southern Illinois and its likely entered Scratchs wood-fired brew kettle, which is more like a magicians cauldron than any antiseptic steel brewing system.


Posted in Cary