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- Written by TheCellarMonk
Summer beer festival season is upon us. From the World Beer Festival to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the Great British Beer Festival to any number of CAMRA events, there is a festival to be had almost every weekend somewhere in the world. Beer festivals are quite a bit of fun, but that fun can be spoiled if you find that you have drank a bit too much. From past experience, this is easy to do. In order to get the most out of attending a festival, while being responsible and not being annoying the following are some steps that you might keep in mind while attending.
1. Make sure that you eat just prior to entering the festival (but give yourself time to get the flavor of the food out of your mouth or you will be tasting food flavored beer), and continue to seek out food for the duration of the festival. Most festival have pre-arranged agreements with (on-site) food vendors that allow for at least one or two low cost food items to be available for purchase from each vendor. Typical beer festival fare of turkey legs, pizza, nachos and different sandwiches will give your stomach a much needed buffer between beer and alcohol absorption. Take time to enjoy your food. This will also help to cleanse your palette between flights of beer.
2. Try to come close to drinking equal parts water and beer. If you have four two ounce servings of beer, try and drink that same amount of water before moving on to another flight of beer. Most festivals provide either bottled water or some other way of obtaining water specifically for this purpose. You will undoubtedly use the restrooms more frequently, but in the end this will keep you from becoming dehydrated and could help reduce the chance of a hangover later on.
- Written by TheCellarMonk
I recently had the opportunity to stop in at Bhramari Brewing Company during a recent visit to Asheville, North Carolina while my daughter worked at a wedding in town.
I would have to say that I quite enjoyed myself. Saturday afternoon, taproom not too busy (but I could see it becoming very busy later in the day). The building itself it quite large and broken into different seating sections. Plenty of seating is available around the taps as well as there being a quite large patio and another section the encompasses another corner of the bulding.
The brewery's beer selection was quite extensive and there were also other alcoholic options (mixed drinks) available. There were two things that caught my eye about the Bhramari taproom though. The first thing that I noticed was that the brewery not only had the standard 5+% beers, but a beer that you don't see very often. Chair, a 3% Belgian Table beer. Table beers have all but vanished and it was nice to see a try at what was made for centuries for common folk. The other thing I found interesting was the ability to order a 'half'. Instead of having to order a full pint of a particular beer, you could order just a half pint (this was not available for all beers). I have been in myriad taprooms in the US in the last 20 years, but could count on two hands how many offered this size choice.
There is a menu available for food choices (I won't recite the whole thing). I'll just say that the Spent Grain Pretzel that I had (with mustard, honey and jalapeno cheese) was very good and I think would go right with a majority of the beers on offer. Service was friendly and quick.
Beers had: Astro Kitty, Blackberry Fluff and a half of Bumblestick
- Written by TheCellarMonk
We've done quite a few interviews with head brewers in the past here, but none quite measure up to our latest. They were all good, but for sheer quirkyness our latest is a cut above. The Comfy Computer Chair of Fame had a hard time holding this brewer down. Fantastic interview nonetheless. Hold onto your hats and get to know our latest interviewee, The Celt Experience head brewer, Mr. Tom Newman. Remind us never to ask any more about "dogwhelks" (you'll understand).
Name(s): Tom, Thomas, Thomas G, George @CeltBrewer
Brewery Name: The Celt Experience ('Celt')
How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
Since 2003 officially
Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft?
No brewing masters, but I've trained in Belgium on Belgian brewing techniques at VLB Berlin in brewing microbiology, and studied microbiology in my science and engineering degrees. I have also been through a Brewlab programme and a Beer Academy 'sommelier' programme. I studied Environmental Pollution Science as my first degree, which included a study on 'the impact of marine pollution on dog whelks', which does not sound that interesting, but actually it is...There is a disorder called 'imposex' which actually causes female dogwhelks to grow a penis through an inducer called TBT. My colleague and close friend Steffane had the painful task of measuring female penis sizes for 6 months...
If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)? When did you move to this location, or have you always been there?
I started home brewing beer and wine in 1989 (at 14 years old) but worked first in the brew industry way back in 1991 at Butcombe brewery in Somerset. At the time they were seen as pioneers as they split from the norm. I had time for that. My job was cleaning out vessels, racking Butcome bitter and cask cleaning. I even cut the late Simon Whitmore's lawn on a few occasions! I became chartered in Water engineering in the mid nineties and worked on process at various cider factories and breweries including bulmers and Guinness in Park Royal. In 2003 I opened my own brewery in Banwell, Somerset with the help of George Thompson (former Mansfield head brewer). This was under the name of Newmans brewery (intentionally) and is where I learnt how to bugger things up, fix things, learn about how bad cheap hops are and generally spend life stressed. The brew plant was 4.5 BBLS. I lost most of my hair during this period... I moved to Yatton in 2005/6 converting an old railway building and designed a 20 BBL brewery. We only stayed there for a few years, but I really started getting to grasp off late hopping and US hops at this stage. In 2007 I move back to my fathers homeland of Caerphilly and decided I was at a level ready to release a cool brand stepping out of 'the old scene', which was when 'The Celt Experience' was launched. I designed and installed a 40 bbl plant with an automated bottling line. Initially we found some organic cascade, first gold and Nz hops which made me believe aromas suited using organic... But we took a U-turn on this in 2009 as it was restricting recipes. In 2009/10 we really started throwing in silly quantities of hops and using different yeasts, which was probably when out name started to really get some recognition outside of Wales. I feel like I am rambling, so I need to move on before I bore myself