Brew News: High Gravity Beers and Protest Beers

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Brew News: High Gravity Beers and Protest Beers

Rocky Top gets big beers, San Diego gets a beer of the week, Denver brews a protest beer, an Australian PM chugs beer and monks in France are getting boozy. Read on for the full details in this week’s beer news roundup.

Tennessee: Let them drink high-gravity beer!

As of January 1, craft beer enthusiasts in Tennessee will have more options when it comes to finding beers over 6.2% ABV. Previously, brewers were able to brew high-gravity beers but needed a special license and could only sell the beer on premises. The new law allows for beers in grocery and convenience stores of up to 10.1% ABV. Tennessee Brew Works in Nashville has already added a “high gravity” section to the beer menu on their website offering 1927 IPA and Tripel Star. According to Volunteer State brewers, the move will be a game-changer. “There are a lot more ingredients you can use now, you can make bigger, richer and bolder beers,” Brandon Jones of Embrace the Funk told NewsChannel 5. “It opens up a world of creativity that we didn’t have before.” While the lightening of ABV restrictions on Tennessee brewers is certainly a move in the right direction, the 10.1% cap still lags behind neighboring states such as Alabama (13.9%), North Carolina (15%) and Georgia (14%).


San Diego: Beer of the week

Cult favorite Mikkeller Brewing has announced that the San Diego outpost will be releasing at least one new small-batch beer each week in 2017. The first three will be released in cans and bottles on Thursday, January 12 at noon in the San Diego taproom. Each subsequent beer will be released on a Saturday starting January 21. The first three releases will be: Fruit Face, a Berliner style Weisse beer brewed with raspberries and coffee; Beer Geek Brunch, an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with coffee, aged in bourbon barrels; and Uklar IPA.

“This is a perfect way for San Diegans to experience the exploratory and adventurous approach we use at Mikkeller to create unique and exciting craft beers,” said Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. “With more frequent, small brews we’re able to play with ingredients and invent a large variety of beers. And we can’t wait for craft beer drinkers to try some of the beer styles we have never made available in the United States before. It’s going to be a creative and fun year for the Mikkeller team and our fans who enjoy challenging conventional beer thoughts and styles.”

In other Mikkeller news, the Danish brewer is teaming with singer Rick Astley to create a “fruity pilsner lager.”


Denver: Grab this, Trump…

Reactions to recent election results have taken on many forms, some scary, some hilarious and some downright bizarre. In Denver, they’re doing what they do best: brewing beer. A group of female brewers in the Mile High City gathered at Goldspot Brewing Company to create Makin Noise: a Pussy Riot Beer. The crew will brew the high-gravity imperial saison aged on strawberry purée at four other Colorado breweries and release the protest beer on January 20. The group released a statement concerning the plan in a private Facebook group that was published by Westword: “We felt it necessary to take action and decided to use our art to make our voices heard. We are coming out in support of those most at risk in our community and doing what we can to stand together as a united voice against hate and intolerance. This beer works to combat the hate and oppression while also lending support and solidarity to the fight for equality. We believe in this beautiful community, and we feel it is necessary to work together to protect it. We believe in an America that celebrates its diversity, an America that protects and supports anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, religious views or immigration status. We condemn the hate that has always existed against marginalized groups, and we will not stand for the new strong wave hitting our country.” A portion of the proceeds will go toward charitable causes.


Australia: Chug for your country

You’ve probably heard the tale of Bill Clinton “not inhaling” during his time at University College, Oxford. The bar that incident supposedly went down in was called the Turf Tavern. What you may not know is that future Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a Guinness World Record at the same establishment by downing a yard of ale (2 ½ imperial pints or 1.4 litres) in 11 seconds. Hawke has stayed in practice, apparently, and his skills were on display during a recent cricket match between Australia and Pakistan. Now 87-years-old and the country’s oldest living former Prime Minister, Hawke was shown on the jumbotron and promptly downed—or “sculled” as they say Down Under—the entire contents of his glass much to the thrill of the cheering crowd. Hawke has a history of chugging for God and country, twice sculling beers at past sporting event.


France: God said, “let there be beer”

Though there is a long tradition of monks brewing beer, of the 11 authentic Trappist breweries in the world, none are located in France where the order originated. However, the Abbey of Saint-Wandrille in Normandy, dating to 649, has recently revived the tradition of beer-brewing Benedictines. As a rule, monks must work with their hands and this particular order has in the past produced beeswax furniture polish and acted as a copying business. It wasn’t until 2014 that they toyed with the idea of making beer. After a crash course in brewing at a monastery on the Isle of White, they took out a loan to buy the necessary equipment. They released a version of the beer in August 2016 before bringing to market the final product in December. So far they have sold near 25,000 pint bottles of the beer at their abbey shop. The beer is slightly bitter, comes in around 6.5% ABV and is reminiscent of an English ale thanks to the use of four UK hop varieties.


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