DULUTH — I may not be the first to say it: Happy Holidays everybody. The sentiment is sincere as this is my favorite time of the year. I look forward to enjoying the rare and special releases many breweries make for the winter holidays. I hope to write this article celebrating holiday beers for many years. Each new holiday season provides new beers, new players, new excitement, and of course, some great classics. 2017 has been another banner year of growth in the small brewery segment and the beers continue to improve, delight and evolve.
This week I am going to talk about a style of beer enjoyed by nearly 90 percent of regular beer drinkers: light lager. Just for a little reference, according to the Brewers Association, all-malt—or craft beer, continues to grow quickly in popularity. In 2016, it carried about 12 percent of the US market share in beer. The light lager category includes most of the mass produced macro lagers, light beers, and lighter bodied imported beers sent to the US.
Attending or hosting a beer-themed dinner at a restaurant or at home always makes me excited. The prospect of a special meal prepared with food courses that complement beers which are individually paired with each plate is a truly awesome gastronomic experience. Beer has many components that complement food. It's made with barley, which adds sweetness; hops that provide bitterness to balance the malt sweetness; and yeast that provides bready and fruity flavors. I am often asked how to execute a beer dinner. The most common questions are:
DULUTH — Two of the most enjoyed beverages in the world are certainly beer and coffee. This week, I enlisted help to talk about how to join these two great beverages. I asked coffee expert Eric Faust of Duluth Coffee Co. about the coffee and beer partnership. Here's Faust's take:
DULUTH, Minn. — IPA. Every engaged beer drinker has heard or seen these initials whether it's on a billboard, in ads, or on the beer list at your favorite taproom or bar. IPA stands for India Pale Ale.
DULUTH — As we head into summer, now is a perfect time to talk about the growing popularity of beer tourism. Duluth is a destination for all types of people: campers, history lovers and families — you name it, people are coming up north. Along those lines a new type of tourism has arrived. Enter beer tourism or beercation. Our Twin Ports region has been recognized as a serious national player for beer and breweries. Because of this, more people are coming to enjoy great beer along with the area's natural beauty.
DULUTH — A question I get often is: "How did you get into this business?" In my case the many years ago that I became a professional brewer make that question less relevant for today's fledgling brewers trying to break into the industry. Simply put, I started home brewing at my apartment in San Francisco and read every possible book I could find on brewing. Since I lived in the Bay Area, where craft brewing pretty much started, I was able to work for almost nothing and learn from some of the pioneer brewers that started this industry.
Now that the celebrations of the holiday season are in the rearview mirror, the cold dark nights are a quiet, reflective time for some. For others, this is the time to get outside for some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Whatever you spend the winter doing, strong beers are a great complement to the chilly season.