World Beer Cup *Gold Winner* In Stores Near You!

Piney River Brewing Company, our beer-making brethren to the north, seated themselves amongst the world’s best at this year’s World Beer Cup, winning a Gold Award for Best American-Style Wheat Beer with their Float Trip Ale. As the beautiful Spring weather brings us outdoors, the timing of this award couldn’t have been better. See below for the full write-up and make sure to pick up some Float Trip for your next float trip or [insert any other outdoor activity here]. If your local package store isn’t currently carrying this beer, kindly ask for it!

Float Trip Ale

 Piney River Brewing Wins Gold at the World Beer Cup®

Bucyrus, Missouri • April 12, 2013—Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, MO claimed a gold award in the 2014 World Beer Cup, a global   beer competition that evaluates beers from around the world and recognizes the most outstanding brewers and their beers.

Gold, silver and bronze awards in the competition’s 94 beer style categories were presented April 11, 2014 during the World Beer Cup award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado.

Piney River Brewing was awarded a gold award in the American-style wheat beer style category for its Float Trip Ale, a wheat-based blonde ale featuring pale wheat and malted barley with balanced, light hop bitterness and a smooth finish.

“We are truly honored to receive this gold award which recognizes our little brewery for brewing the best American-style wheat beer in the world,” Brian Durham, co-founder and head brewer at Piney River Brewing Company, said.

Float Trip Ale has been brewed since the brewery opened its doors in March 2011. In May 2013 the brewery began packaging the beer for distribution in kegs and 16-ounce pint cans. The beer highlights the Ozark experience of “floating” in a canoe, kayak, raft or tube on a Missouri stream.

“Around the world, people of all ages enjoy activities on streams, rivers and lakes, but in the Ozarks we are known for using the term ‘float trip’, which describes what many men, women and children do every year in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways,” Durham said, explaining that the brewery seeks to highlight the Ozarks with its beer.

Durham noted that when he and Joleen, his wife and brewery co-founder, decided to start a craft brewery in the Ozarks, they planned to package their beer in outdoor and river friendly aluminum cans.

“It was only natural that we highlight the quintessential Ozark experience—a float trip—with one of our beers,” Durham said. “Joleen and I love floating, and we developed this beer as something that could be enjoyed all day long while floating or doing anything fun in the Ozarks.”

Piney River Brewing is located on the Durham’s 80-acre farm, operating out of a 70-year old barn. The brewery was founded in 2010 with a 10-gallon brewing system. Today the brewery has a seven-barrel brewhouse which turned out 1,100 barrels of beer in 2013. In addition to draft beer, the brewery cans all of their beer in 16-ounce aluminum cans. The brewery has distribution in Central and Southern Missouri and Arkansas.

Last October, Piney River Brewing received a gold medal for their Old Tom Porter, a brown porter style beer, at the Great American Beer Festival—a national competition.

Dude - Where's the Float Trip?!

Dude – Where’s the Float Trip?!

“We are thrilled to again shine the spotlight on our brewery and the beer that we’re brewing right here in the Ozarks,” Durham said. “To receive the top award for one of our beer styles at national and international competitions within less than one year’s time is a huge recognition for us.”

The Float Trip Ale was brewed by Lucas Clem and Amber Powell, the two full-time brewers at the brewery. Four additional part-time employees also work at the brewery.

“I cannot say enough about our brewery team and their commitment to quality,” Durham said. “Our mission at Piney River Brewing has always been to brew high quality beer that celebrates the Ozarks, and this World Beer Cup gold award for Float Trip is the realization of our brewery’s mission on an international stage.”

World Beer Cup winners were selected by an international panel of 219 beer judges from 31 countries. Regarded as the “Olympics of Beer Competition,” the World Beer Cup saw an impressive field of 4,754 entries from 1,403 breweries in 58 countries.

Presented by the Brewers Association, the World Beer Cup has been held every other year since 1996, to celebrate the art and science of brewing by recognizing outstanding achievement. For more additional information, visit the World Beer Cup website at http://www.worldbeercup.org.

‘MERICA! Beer Edition

Beer Review: Green Flash Palate Wrecker
Style: Ultimate Xtreme Hardcore Maxx Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.5%
Drink if you like: Citrus fruit, pine trees, skydiving without a parachute, slaps to the face, stars n’ stripes

hlkMERICA

TEAM AWESOME TO THE MAX HOP EDITION!

Not too long ago, America entered into a time of “Ultimate Xtremism”. You remember…when seemingly every marketable product and idea suddenly evolved and morphed into labels of “Xtreme”, “XXtreme”, “XXXtreme”, “Maxx”, “Ultimate”, and “Hardcore”. During this literal movement of Ultimate Xtremism, a figurative movement was taking place in kettles and conical fermenters on the West Coast. American-made IPAs took on more and more hops and mutated into a radical form of the original IPA style. This new American IPA even found a home in the BJCP Style Guidelines. Not to be outdone, Imperial IPAs made in the United States took this Xtremism to even new heights.
Enter: Green Flash Palate Wrecker
The Ultimate Xtremism in Palate Wrecker is palpable and the name alone is a prime example of foreshadowing. Labeled a “bitter hop monster” by the brewer, this beer tests at 149 IBUs. No extracts (shortcuts) were used to achieve this level of bitterness. This is attained naturally, with the use of Columbus and Centennial hops during the brewing process.   This is one of the hoppiest bombs you can get your hands on in Arkansas.  Head our warning:  prepare your palate for an all American assault of hops.

SUPER EXTREME EVERYTHING!

SUPER EXTREME EVERYTHING!

Palate Wrecker pours dark orange in color with a slight haze. A soapy head rises above with an aggressive pour. Beautiful lacing builds with each drink. A rich nose of earthy hops, pine resin, grapefruit and other citrus aromas immediately catch you off guard. The taste is multi-leveled and complex with massive grapefruit and pine striking early, followed by layer on layer of sticky earthy hops, tropical fruits, and a decent malt profile to stabilize the back end. This beer is bitter to the Maxx and the flavors linger well beyond the next sip. Wow. Aptly named, this beer elbows its way through your taste buds and plops a seat on your tongue for the rest of the night. What a slap in the face…in a great way!
This beer was made to order for Ultimate Xtremists and Hardcore Hopheads alike. Go forth and wreck palates!

We gave this beer 4.5 Diamonds:
4-half-diamonds

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!  We hope each and every one of you beer geeks enjoy celebrating Irish heritage by drinking beer, speaking in a drunk Irish Priest accent, pinching strangers, drinking more beer, and last but not least, urinating in public.

We will be opening up a special beer treat: the beer we recommended last year!  And by last year, we mean literally, that same beer that has been aging for one year.

Double-Date

Authentic bottle date brag photo ©ArkansasBeerBlog 2014

Aging beer is fun; we’ve written about it here and here.

Double Stout  is well suited for aging.  It is also well suited for drinking fresh.  Many years ago (before green flash was available in Arkansas) I took this beer to a fishing trip.  Biff light drinking fisherman were in every corner, yet they enjoyed trying a beer that was different.   This exact beer won the trip’s coveted Jackie Don award.  If you haven’t heard about Jackie Don, perhaps you’ve heard of Sackie Don, The Bargainer, Furrdog, Furnace, Jeeeeekie, or the world famous Joo Woo Dance.  No?  You haven’t lived my friends.

DoubleYUM

Let’s taste this amazing beer, and see how it compares to the previous article’s fresh tasting notes:

Double stout pours beautifully with a thick, light tan colored head.  Lean and you’ll get a nose of weak coffee, milk chocolate - like a double chocolate milkshake with extra cream, and some very well hidden earthy hops, licorice and hints of cinnamon and brown sugar. Taste follows suite with a wonderful burst of dark bitter chocolate at first, followed by a awesome smoothness featuring ground coffee and more big chocolate notes.  Chocolate that you’d find in something baked – like a chocolate bundt cake covered in chocolate syrup.  It features wonderful chocolate flavor yet still has a delicate dry balance in the back, which pushes this beer to amazing.  Holy cow.  With one year on this beer, we have to push it to 4.5 diamonds!

Happy St. Patty’s day everyone.  Have a wonderful time – imbibe, be merry, urinate when (and where) you need, and don’t drink and drive.  Also do yourself a favor – buy some Green Flash Double Stout.  Drink one or two, and put the rest somewhere in your closet away from light.  You’ll thank me when Saint Patrick’s day rolls around next year.

We gave this beer 4.5 Diamonds:
4-half-diamonds

March is Green Flash Beer Month…’Cause Why Not??

Green-Flash

In the early months of 2013, Arkansas gave a warm welcome to one of the hottest breweries in the United States, Green Flash Brewing Company.   Since that time, we have been flooded with wonderful and award-winning creations by brilliant people from Green Flash.

Based in San Diego, Green Flash Brewing Co. was founded in 2002. It didn’t take them long to etch a name for themselves in one of the most competitive markets in the country, California’s West Coast. Green Flash beers are distinctive in that they provide a cleverly modern twist on traditional styles.

What you may not know about Green Flash Brewing is that they have racked up more trophies, medals, ribbons, and accolades than Michael Phelps, Kim Jong Un, Wilbur from Charlotte’s web, and your kid…combined.

We know a great thing when we see it.  We also know great beer.  That’s why we’d like to dub March “Green Flash Month,” as this beer will taste amazing with any basketball game, spring evening, or casual nude stroll.

We will feature some more reviews of green flash beer, but here are some to get your started:  Hop Head Red, Imperial IPA, Double Stout, West Coast IPA.

Take a stroll through the Green Flash trophy case below:

Palate Wrecker

2011 Michael Jackson Cask Award at British Beer Festival

Bronze at 2012 World Beer Cup

Saison Diego

Bronze at 2011 San Diego County Fair

Trippel Ale

Gold at 2012 Great American Beer Festival

Silver at 2007 Great American Beer Festival

Best of Show at 2007 California State Fair

1st Place at 2007 California State Fair

Gold at 2009 Los Angeles County Fair

Gold at 2012 San Diego County Fair

Barleywine

Silver at 2009 San Diego County Fair

3rd Place at 2009 California State Fair

1st Place at 2007 California State Fair

Bronze at 2010 Los Angeles County Fair

Imperial IPA

1st Place at 2009 California State Fair

Bronze at 2007 Los Angeles County Fair

Hop Head Red

Bronze at 2009 Great American Beer Festival

Silver at 2007 Great American Beer Festival

Gold at 2011 San Diego County Fair

Gold at 2008 World Beer Cup

West Coast IPA

Best of Show at 2008 San Diego County Fair

Gold at 2008 San Diego County Fair

Silver at 2007 San Diego County Fair

1st Place at 2008 California State Fair

3rd Place at 2005 California State Fair

Gold at 2007 Los Angeles County Fair

Bronze at 2010 Bistro IPA Festival

Gold at 2005 Bistro IPA Festival

Champion at 2008 National IPA Challenge

Double Stout

Silver at 2010 World Beer Cup

1st Place at 2009 California State Fair

1st Place at 2008 California State Fair

Silver at 2009 Los Angeles County Fair

Bronze at 2012 San Diego County Fair

Le Freak

3rd Place at 2010 California State Fair

2nd Place at 2008 California State Fair

Gold at 2009 Los Angeles County Fair

Best of Show at 2010 Oregon Brewer’s Festival

Bronze at 2012 World Beer Cup

Gold at 2012 Great American Beer Festival

Rayon Vert

Bronze at 2012 San Diego County Fair

Grand Cru

3rd Place at 2010 California State Fair

3rd Place at 2009 California State Fair

Silver at 2010 Los Angeles County Fair

We are so fortunate to have these great beers available in our state. Do yourself and your taste buds a favor and seek out these medal-winning, palate-pleasing, American-made beers. Ask for these beers at your friendly, neighborhood beer joint.

Arkansas Spotlight: 28 Springs

This week we feature a special guest writer Chris Butler from Siloam Springs AR.  He is kicking off a special “Arkansas Spotlight” series, featuring local establishments, breweries, watering holes and even hole-in-the-walls.

26-1There is something special in Siloam Springs. A gentrification of Main Street is alive and well.  People are investing time and money and energy and dreams into this renewal. The heart of this renewal is 28 Springs. A former car dealership and vacant building sets on the corner of the downtown crossroads; now a shining example of how to make a casual upscale, reasonably priced venture work in a small community. With award winning Chef Miles James at the menu helm, the food is simple and elegant, with the appearance of fine dining at a price that won’t break the bank.

It would be easy to reason then that if 28 Springs is the heart of Siloam Springs, then the magnificent elevated bar is the heartbeat. With an extensive cocktail menu, spirits galore, a robust wine selection and a beer list that is tops in the region, this horseshoe shaped bar is the place to be most evenings. There is casual seating surrounding it, and a stage above it, where on any Tuesday or Thursday you can can catch local live music, such as the bluegrass and harmonies of Sons of Otis Malone. The decor hearkens back to the roots of Siloam, with black and white pictures of the town from the turn of the century and a sense of the old car dealership garage doors, all done in a modern, sleek look, and wrapped in a curved wall of windows.

26-3As I walk in to meet with bar manager Casey, I opt for a seat at the lovely, lacquered bar. There I am confronted by 16 taps boasting new local beer such as Ozark Pale Ale and Cream Stout, and Core ESB. Alongside these Northwest Arkansas brews are giants of the industry like Old Rasputin and Guinness. There’s even those upstarts from Oklahoma who’ve set the beer world afire. That’s the direction I decide to go, ordering a Prairie Artisan Ales Birra while I wait for my meeting. Its a nice little session ale coming in at 4.5% ABV. Tart and dry, the wine yeast seems to change its flavor every time I enjoy one.
Grabbing a bar menu, I run through it, looking for updates since my last visit…all of three days ago. There are over 100 craft bottles here, of all varieties and hailing from all over the world. It is quite an impressive and heart-melting sight for a beer geek.

Just then, Casey comes around the corner. We’re already buddies, and this is no formal exercise; we’re here to talk beer. A smile and a handshake later, and I’m outlining just what is going on. Casey is a thoughtful guy. A transplant from Minnesota, he came here for school, and save a couple years in England for a job at an NPO, this is his home. In his own words, he comes from ‘dry stock’ and didn’t even drink beer until post college. For him, his journey started from coffee, the progression from there to a Boulevard Bully Porter as his first beer seems natural and fitting then. Like many of us who truly loved their first craft beer, he took the ‘beer nerd’ path and became passionate about all things beer. He quickly began home brewing, learning to ‘unpack the flavors’ in beer, growing in knowledge. He then moved to England and further pushed the passion, which in turn influenced his brewing, expanded his palate, widened his beer horizons and solidified his passion for all things beer.

I ask Casey; “How can the average person, the occasional beer drinker, the person who drinks macro and light, look at this impressive menu and not be overwhelmed? How has that impacted, affected sales, and further, has their been a need for education of staff to help with suggestions?” Smiling and taking a drink of his water (poor guy is on duty) Casey nods. He responds that “This concept was a challenge and it still is and will be. That is the enjoyment- pushing the envelope, expanding perception.”  He explains how he has seen the macro drinker “Transition to a craft Pilsner, such as Scrimshaw from North Coast, and then (open to a little more flavor) to a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and so on.”  He continues by saying that the staff has been educated towards which beers or beer styles with go with which meals best, both for contrast and complimentary pairings. Some of the more enthusiastic staff have begun learning outside of work, coming back with beer to share and questions to ask. Casey points out that he takes his role in Siloam very seriously, as 28′s ambassador to a town with a not so close relationship with alcohol. Only last year did Benton County go wet, and Siloam was assuredly one of the hold outs. Yet, business here is thriving. The bar too, with its monthly food and drink pairings, stays busy. Casey attributes this to his very English sensibilities, not rewarding over consumption but encouraging exploration. All seven–yes, seven–different beer glasses are featured, keeping in line with this thought, alongside consistent pours, high ABV coming in a proper glass, and a smaller pour.

26-2When 28 opened, there was an adjustment period.  There was a reluctance by many to support a bar. By many others, they felt they didn’t fit at a ‘fancy’ place. These are complaints from the community I personally heard repeatedly. But the patience and concept has been rewarded. Its working. I ask Casey if it would’ve worked 5 years ago? Why didn’t it work when Chef James tried several years ago at James at the Mill. As Casey pauses to continue his answer, I decide to order a second beer, and get a half pint of the local gem, Ozark Beer Company Pale Ale. Bright and crisp, refreshing and aromatic; it hits the spot after the bone dry Birra. Casey decides “The concept itself in Siloam would not have worked. For many reasons, including the licensing, the culture, the mindset. In my nearly eight years here, I have seen a culture shift, and lessening of the strict tone. I think that James at the Mill is geared towards wine, and they do that so well, but they had no one to really push beer and be knowledgeable about it. I can see that. Too many people think fine dining must equal wine. Only recently, with this boom of the last twenty years are people beginning to consider beer as more than a tailgating drink.”

We chat about the boom for a minute, both agreeing that its scope and arc are pretty crazy. And fairly unsustainable. In time we’ll see closings, and mergers, and buyouts. That said we also agree that the boom is transitioning more people towards quality beer, as opposed to quantity of beer. This new passion for beer amongst the legion of drinkers, is filtering down to a new generation of people who enjoy beer. Newly legal people are choosing two or three craft beers instead of a case of macro imitation pilsner. As we wind up our chat we talk about what is coming in the months and weeks ahead for 28 Springs. Casey says that the average keg turnover is around two weeks, though they’ve kicked some sooner, and some hang around longer. He mentions that they have a Gose beer coming soon, which is an excitingly rare style of sour, salt and spice.  He also mentions that Prairie Bomb! is coming on as soon as the Old Rasputin moves on. This is really exciting.

It won’t be long until Casey takes his homebrewing skills, his keen eye, and all his ideas and opens his own place. You can just feel it talking with him. For now, however, he is pouring it all into 28 Springs’ bar. All that passion for beer, for sharing it, talking about it, and growing it is evident when you step into 28. Its a warm and comfortable and relaxed. A feeling not unlike a village pub. Except that this place sits square in the middle of downtown Siloam Springs, not some rolling English hills. I, for one, am very thankful for that.

Chris Butler became a beer nerd as soon as he could afford to. Cursed with a taste for fine ales from the first sip, only a college budget kept him down. Years later, having moved from Texas to Arkansas, he realized how rare a quality beer is and how difficult it can be to acquire. Traveling and trading extensively, Chris now is on a mission to find and enjoy the best beverages that brewmasters are making. With the support of his family, he is tackling the craft beer world one, sometimes, two bottles at a time.
You can read Chris’s blog here:  http://astonesthrowandacenturyago.blogspot.com/

Beers of Belgium

Just a friendly reminder to all the beer geeks in the Arkansas River Valley – The UAFS “Beers of Belgium” class is tomorrow night!  If you have any questions about this class, like how to enroll and locations, JUST CLICK RIGHT HERE.

bbglass

Some of the beers featured will be:

St Bernardus ABT 12
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Saison Dupont
Scaldis Noel
Leffe Blond
Scaldis Triple Belgian Special
Scaldis Peche Mel
Stella Atrois
Scaldis Prestige Oak Aged
Hoegaarden White Ale
Avec Les Bon Vouex
Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze
Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Kriek

As well as totally awesome information about Belgian beer history and the people who bring you Belgian beer, like Vanberg & Dewulf!

Photos -n- Beer -n- Food -n- Beer

Our good friends over at Eat Arkansas are having a photo contest…. Check out the photo contest post by clicking here.

So your favorite Arkansas beer bloggers were thinking about this here shin-dig.   I’m sure there will be many photos of JUST food, right?  But what is really missing?  Beer, that is correct.  High five!

What is food’s greatest companion?  Beer.  What’s beer’s greatest companion?  Food.  So let’s collaborate our beer geek powers together and flood Eat Arkansas with photos of craft beer and food!  They won’t know what hit ‘em!

Here’s a good start:

Yes, this just happened.

Yes, this just happened.

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