A Little Craft Beer Depression

I’m not a sad person. I’m oddly optimistic about many things. At least I think so. That’s why I was shocked that in the midst of yet another incredible craft beer-centric night that I was feeling down. Like high school emo and for no reason whatsoever all I want to do is listen to Dashboard down.

Last weekend I took a yearly roadtrip with some friends up to Rehoboth Beach. We had lunch at Franklins Brewery in Hyattsville, hit up 16 Mile in God knows where Delaware then made our way to Rehoboth for a bottleshare and dinner at Dogfish Head.

Maybe an hour into our night at Dogfish I turned to Doug and stated something to the effect of, “Man, is this it? Is this what this whole beer blogging thing is? Have we reached the top?” I clarified that I know there are many, many, many, many more levels of “beer greatness” (ex: just chilling with Garrett Oliver, brewing with monks) out there but at that moment have I reached the attainable top?

I’m not complaining, not in the slightest. It was one of the best nights/weekends I’ve had in a long time. I am fortunate to live a comfortable life full of best night-worthy events but this one was special. After thinking about it though, I was pretty down. A World Wide Stout and countless random 2oz pours of barleywines helped move my sorrows along quickly yet over a week later it still lingers in the back of my mind.

For what it’s worth at the moment I’m on my third 10%+ porter of the night and my beer-writing muscle has atrophied a bit so I have no idea if this makes any sense to anyone but me and maybe Doug.

For the effort I put into beer and beer blogging and learning about beer, I don’t think my “beer life” could get any better. Seriously. I love the friends I’ve made. I enjoy writing a post here every few weeks. I love the respect for beer that I have. I don’t want to take beer more seriously in terms of a profession for the foreseeable future. What the heck else can I ask for? It’s like things are so good that it’s sad the journey is over and you know there is more to the journey but you don’t have the willpower/time/want at this moment to take the next step down the path.

Maybe it’s a bit of craft beer depression. I don’t know. I don’t know what my next step will be. And I think that’s okay. I’ll just take it glass by glass, bottle by bottle, step by step.

***UPDATE 01.28.15!!***

I think I found the next step of my journey which will hopefully break me out of my little funk. I’m going to start working on a second season of Conversations with Beer Bloggers.

More on that in the coming weeks. Woo!! Let me know who you want to see on Season 2!

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TWIB: New York, Old Kolschs and $1,000 Baseball Tickets

New York City. Home of Brooklyn Brewery, Good Beer and McSorley’s Old Ale House. So why, as a craft beer enthusiast, did I drink a near year-old Kolsch (not on purpose) and a Guinness when I was sitting in essentially a king’s throne at a Yankees game?

$1,000 Baseball Seats

The greatest baseball experience

Continue reading

Buffalo Wing Factory Releases First Beer Today

Buffalo Wing Factory releases Session IPA

Buffalo Wing Factory releases Session IPA

If you are a frequent reader of this site then you know I have a deep affection and history with my friends over at the Buffalo Wing Factory. They’ve been a local staple in the Northern Virginian community for over 20 years and they are releasing their first beer today – Buffalo Wing Factory Session IPA.

BWF Session IPA

5.3% ABV and 25.4 IBUs

The Buffalo Wing Factory, or BWF, is not a brewery so how will did they brew a beer? Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, VA is a partner/contract brewery. That means that they make beer for other breweries or restaurants using their equipment. Locally-owned Crooked Run Brewing and Adroit Theory Brewing both use Beltway to brew larger batches of their beers. It’s still Crooked Run and Adroit Theory’s recipes but they just use Beltway’s industrial-sized equipment. This is what the Buffalo Wing Factory has now done as well.

BWF had a very small pre-release party on Tuesday where I got to try the new addition to their already packed tap lineup. And for all you Session IPA haters out there, it’s not your typical Session IPA. This beer clocks in at 5.3% ABV with 25.4 IBUs. It’s not hoppy to begin with but will finish with a hint of a bite. In comparison, Stone Go To IPA is 4.5% ABV with 65 IBUs and Founders All Day IPA is 4.7% ABV with 42 IBUs. So with the BWF Session IPA you’re going to get less of a bite, more maltiness up front with a sneaky higher ABV. It also has more body than other Session IPAs that I’ve had. A seasoned craft beer drinker should try this one out and see if they like BWF’s take on the style. This is also a good beer for any new craft beer drinker trying to transition into hoppy beers.

Today this beer will be $2 from open to close at 11:00pm at all four locations. Happy Hour is from 4:00-7:00pm where you can get other craft beers starting around $4. After today the BWF Session IPA will be $4 all day, every day. I’m not positive if they’ll be on the menu today but BWF has created two new menu items that use the beer. First is a beer cheese served with garlic bread, which everyone was raving about at the pre-release party. Second is a BBQ sandwich, which has the beer in the sauce if I remember correctly.

Head on out to your nearest Buffalo Wing Factory tonight and try their new Session IPA. I will most likely be at the Ashburn location around 5:00pm. Come say hi to me and make sure to be one of the firsts to check it in on Untappd too.

The Future of Beer

Beer on table

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Last weekend was the annual Northern Virginia Summer BeerFest. For the record, I’ve only been to one of these and wasn’t able to make it to this one due to my cousin’s wedding. But I asked my friend Brad about it and his first comment was, “There were so many ciders.” Then I went off on a tangent of what I see coming up in the next couple years in the craft beverage industry. I thought it would be fun to share with you what I think and get your insights on the matter too.

Note: I have absolutely zero hard facts or statistics to back any of this up. These thoughts are purely from my observation of what I see on the shelves, check-ins on Untappd and read about on Twitter and other blogs.

Pre-2014: All Hail King IPA

I’m calling the period from let’s say January 1st 2012-December 31st 2013 the “rise of the IPA.” Give us more hops! Now all these IPAs have (over)saturated the market and there needed to be a shift.

2014: Diversify Market and Satisfy Market

There are a lot of craft beer rookies out there, and it’s cool if you are one and thank you for your readership. I love that you want to enjoy IPAs. Breweries are pumping out less hoppy and less bodied IPAs in the form of Session IPAs for this growing demographic. It’s like an “IPA Lite” and yes, it will grow the craft beer market despite frustrations from many craft beer veterans hating the style.

If you are a craft beer rookie there are so many great Pale Ales out there for you to cut your teeth on. Start there and build your palate up to IPAs.

Face it, craft beer is still a male-dominated demographic. Most of those males are probably married and in their 30s or 40s. How do you get married men to be able to go events and drop money on “frivolous” things like beer? Make sure their wives are pleased. That’s where ciders come in. Ciders are not a “girls’ drinks” but the market and marketers say so. And as much as my wife enjoys beers she’ll pick a cider over a beer most times. I went to the beer festival mentioned above two years ago and there were two cideries. According to my friend there were at least eight (sorry I don’t feel like researching the exact number. If you were there or know please share in the comments section!). That’s 4x as many cideries in just two years. I’m not shocked by this number. My wife having 16 cider options (two from each cidery) instead of four at a beer fest where I have 100+ beer options will make her more apt to go back next year. More craft beer drinkers, who are majority male, means more ciders.

Back in 2013 I wrote a post about why I do and don’t want more people to like craft beer. I believe there are a few longtime craft beer drinkers that secretly hate the influx of new blood that crowd the brewpubs and make the availability of special beers scarce. This post isn’t about whether the growth is good or not (IMO new drinkers = more breweries = more beer) but about the trends I’m predicting. What is the veteran craft beer drinker to do? Drink something all these new drinkers won’t – Sours.

A few months ago at SAVOR, possibly the greatest beer gathering on earth, there were more Sours than I’ve ever seen in one place. I’d like to think that SAVOR is ahead of the curve when it comes to the craft beer market. Sours have the potential to keep the base happy because it’s such an untapped market. I bet you a local brewpub near you right now is messing with crafting a Sour when they never have had one available before.

2015: More Ciders, Lower ABV and Craft Whiskey

Next year I’m predicting three things will happen. First, we’re going to see more ciders. The ciders from the beer fest will start making their way to the shelves, especially once spring and summer hit next year.

Looking into the crystal ball I see more lower-ABV beers. I’m more hoping for this one than actually think it’ll happen. Why drink three 8.5% ABV IPAs and a glass of water over three hours in order to drive home when you could have six 3.8% beers in the same timeframe? You get to enjoy twice as much beer and the only difference is you may have to find the restroom more often.

Note: This website in no way promotes drinking and driving. Always always always be responsible and get someone else to drive if you have been drinking.

Lastly in the year 2015 I think craft whiskey is going to start infiltrating the craft beer demographic. Why? I’m seeing more blogs feature them, more buzz online, more bottles on bar shelves and more local distilleries. I can also see myself enjoying this so I wouldn’t mind. Whiskey is the one spirit I’ll drink instead of a beer on occasion.

2016: The Rise of Mead

Those pesky craft beer rookies will eventually overrun sours too so where will we turn? Mead. Confession: I’ve never had mead (and I really want to!). This honey-wine will be the last great frontier for craft beer veterans.

The price point will keep all but those who really want it away. From my limited mead knowledge it is so pricy because honey is expensive and it can take years to make. A scarce, tasty, high-priced commodity? Sounds like something a craft beer drinker would enjoy.

Oh and guess what? There was one meadery at the beer fest this year too. Just a hunch that there will be two or three next summer…

Your vision of the future

I gave you my vision of the future and now it’s time to share yours. What do you think the next beer trend will be? Facts, no facts, it doesn’t matter. Share your thoughts below!

Do you know someone who wants a say as to where the craft beer market is headed? Go ahead and send him or her this post and let’s see what they have to say too. We can only change the market by letting our voices be heard.

Steal the Pint at BWF this Friday with Fat Cat Beer Company

BWF Logo

Steal the Pint this Friday February 21st

Have you ever been out drinking a beer at your favorite spot and thought, I’d really like to take home this glass? Either one of two things happened. Option 1: You pulled a Winona Ryder and took the glass blatantly disregarding social etiquette and screwing over your watering hole because glasses aren’t cheap. Option 2: You left the glass because you were civilized and continued to dream about adding to your fledging collection.

Well the Buffalo Wing Factory is giving YOU the chance to put on your klepto shoes this Friday without any of the unfortunate consequences that go along with theft. How? Simple. Come to the Chantilly BWF this Friday and order a beer by Fat Cat Beer Company and you get to take home a custom pint glass.

Fat Cat will be serving all five of their beers. Their IPA will be $6 in 16oz cans and the other four beers will be $4. Glasses and beer are limited though so make sure you show up early. The event runs from 7:00-10:00pm at the bar only.

Hold on, I have one more surprise for you. I can’t promise anything but at the time of this posting, all BWF locations still have a few remaining bottles of Hopslam. Get them while they last!

Lastly, there are 30+ other beers to choose from including Sweet Baby Jesus and a bunch of other local VA, MD and DC beers.

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