From the HopPress: March Madness, NIPAC Style

From the HopPress: March Madness, NIPAC Style

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, March 26th.

It’s that time of the year when men’s (and women’s) fancies turn to thoughts of Spring and all of the attention and excitement that can bring. I’m talking about basketball, of course… what were you thinking? The NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing and I have to admit, while my final pick is still in the running, my “bracket” is a little worse for wear at this point. Another sign of the season is a tournament of a different sort run by the Brewing News magazine; an intense competition between 128 IPA-style beers, called NIPAC – National IPA Competition – to see who would be this year’s best IPA beer.

The judges for this event are all brewers and beer connoisseurs, from all over the US, which meet during the tournament to grade each IPA pairing. These judges are organized in panels of 3 and are served the pair of beers to be judged without knowing what the beers are (blind tasting). Within the 3-member panel, the majority vote determines which of the beers in the judged pair wins. I don’t have any idea who you have to know (or?) to get to be one of these judges, but as a professed and acknowledged hop head, I would want/need/love to be a part of the judging for this event (hint, hint)!

Read more…

From the HopPress: March Madness, NIPAC Style

From the HopPress: Beers of the Full Moon

From the HopPress: Beers of the Full Moon

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, March 19th.

Today, March 19th, the earth’s only moon will reach its closest point to earth (221,565 miles) in nearly 19 years. For those of you lucky enough to be able to see it, this so called “supermoon” will be, according to NASA, about 18% bigger and 30% brighter than the average full moon that we are all accustomed to seeing each month. The moon travels in an elliptical orbit about the earth and each month has both a maximum distance from the earth (it’s apogee) and a minimum distance (it’s perigee). Tonight’s full moon coincides with the closest perigee of the 19-year long full moon cycle… and it is going to look spectacularly like nearly every other full moon you have ever seen. Sorry to get your hopes up…

Enough with the science lesson as the real question to be answered here today is whether or not full moons, not to mention the unusual full moon this month, can contribute to better beer? There is much folk lore about the supposed benefit and detriment of full moons; such as the benefit of planting or harvesting of crops or the supposed rise in crime or mental illness (lunacy?) that may occur during these events. Why not suppose that this lunar cycle can affect the beer as it is being brewed?

Read more…

From the HopPress: Beers of the Full Moon

From the HopPress: Made in Vermont – The Deep South

From the HopPress: Made in Vermont - The Deep South

My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, March 5th.

This is the last article in my 4-part series on the 21 breweries that can be found within the borders of this very small state. This final chapter of the series will focus on the southern most portion of the state. Both the people population and the breweries are spread farther apart in this region than in the other 3 regions that we have discussed so far, but that takes nothing away from the availability of their beer to the rest of us. In fact, two of the breweries in this southern region are among the largest in the state and have their beer distributed state-wide as well as outside of the state’s boundaries.

The three previous articles in the series, in the order that they appeared, are:

Read more…

From the HopPress: Made in Vermont - The Deep South