Brewers Association releases list of top 50 craft breweries for US in 2010

Ever wonder which of your favorite craft brewers sells more beer than their competitors? Well, wonder no more, fellow craft beer imbibers.

The Brewers Association —  a non-profit trade group that promotes the craft beer industry nationwide — released their annual Top 50 Craft Brewers list Wednesday.

The top three for 2010 are pretty obvious — The Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams), Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and New Belgium Brewing Co.. Coming in at 5th position is the venerable Deschutes Brewery from Bend.

Hurry! A limited supply Double Dagger double deuces for sale at Boise Co-Op

Every now and again the brewmasters of Boise’s outstanding Sockeye Grill & Brewery take the time to hand bottle their delicious libations for home use.

Sometimes, we just can’t get to the brewpub at 3019 N. Cole Road to drink the delicious Sockeye beers created by Josh King and Lance Chavez. Sometimes, you just want to be able to drink a bottle at home, right?

Drink some beer at the Ram tonight and support Lowell Elementary

Ten percent of the bill for everyone who buys a meal or drinks a beer (or does both, the more likely scenario) at the Ram Restaurant & Brewery from 5-to-9 p.m. Wednesday will also be supporting Lowell Elementary School.

Ten percent of the bill for all purchases will be donated to Lowell Elementary, which is located in Boise’s North End near the 28th/State streets neighborhood.

The folks at the Ram (709 E. Park Blvd.) will also have a raffle for a Specialized Fuse BMX-style bike, which was donated by George’s Cycles. Raffle tickets are $1 each and can be purchased at the brewpub until Monday, when the staff will pick a winner.

Budweiser hopes to revive brand — with free beer

In what kind of seems like a desperate move (to me at least) Anheuser-Busch has decided to try to lure back fickle 20-something beer drinkers with that tried and true gimmick — free beer.

As we all know from the classic Warner Bros. cartoon with the singing frog — One Froggy Evening, 1955 — no one can resist the siren call of free beer.

Idaho did medal at GABF - The Ram wins gold in porter

I stand corrected.

In this blog yesterday I wrote that Idaho got shut out medal-wise in the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Well, it turns out that is not true, Boise beer people.

Take pride in the fact that The Ram brewers Kevin Bolen and Jake Schisel won a gold medal in the brown porter category for the Total Disorder Porter. The gold medal was attributed to the Ram in Tacoma, Wash., but the Total Disorder Porter that won gold was actually brewed in Boise.

Idaho shut out at Great American Beer Festival

It looks like I picked a good year to miss the Great American Beer Festival as Idaho breweries were shut out in the medal competition in 2010.

Even can’t-miss prospects like the Ram’s Tail Dragger IPA and a former gold medal winner like Grand Teton Brewing Co.’s Bitch Creek didn’t medal this year.

Lessons learned from this? It’s hard to win a medal, every set of judges is different, and the American craft brewing industry is producing more great beers than ever before. That’s it.

Check out the entire list of GABF medal winners here to see how your favorite breweries did in the 75 different medal categories.

Tour de Fat bikes and beer fest comes to Ann Morrison Park Saturday

While some Boiseans may feel a little “festivaled-out” at this point of the summer, I predict a large crowd in Ann Morrison Park this Saturday for the Tour de FatNew Belgium Brewing’s traveling celebration of bikes and beer.

Seriously — there is no way Boise doesn’t support a festival about bikes and beer. It just isn’t possible. Expect lots of bike enthusiasts — many dressed in goofy costumes — enjoying a variety of biking activities and quenching the corresponding thirst with a barley-malt beverage or two. The festival is free. Beer tokens are $5.

The Tour de Fat really is a total family event, and when New Belgium organizers emphasize that “this is a Bicycle Festival with beer, not the other way around,” they mean it.

Favorite beer story this year - the “Quitness”

When will we finally get those transporter machines from Star Trek working?

I really wanted to beam back to my hometown of Cleveland last weekend to have a pint or two of Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s “Quitness” Ale — a bitter IPA brewed in reference to Uber-traitor LeBron Modell. I mean LeGone James. Oh, I mean King Shames. (I’m here all week! Try the veal!)

Regular readers know that while I am a Boisean through and through, I am also a Cleveland expatriate who loves his C-Town sports teams and Great Lakes Brewing Co. This is also my favorite beer story of the year — and its my blog, so you folks get the whole backstory of the “Quitness.”

Bummer: Oskar Blues beers leaving Idaho

In the worst possible timing for “local beer nuts who love how awesome it is to be able to buy tasty craft beer in cans” demographic, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery is pulling its beer from Idaho and other states with low sales.

That means no more Oscar imperial red, Gubna imperial IPA, Ten-Fidy imperial stout, Mama’s Little Yella Pils pilsner, Old Chub scottish ale, and perhaps worst of all, no Dales Pale Ale to take camping, or fishing, or biking, or any other summer activity you will be doing in Idaho this summer.

This is really sad news. I love craft beer in cans movement, and Oskar Blues is the standard bearer. I have always felt the Dales, a remarkably tasty and aggressive classic Northwest style pale ale, was the beer that let the industry — and consumers — shake the can stigma once and for all.

Beer cans and BPA

Somewhat lost in the American craft beer industry’s embrace of aluminum cans as a vessel to carry precious artisan hop juice to the masses is the baby elephant in the room — the presence of controversial Bisphenol A (BPA) in the liners of the cans.

Any foodstuff (beer, soup, vegetables, pop, gravy, etc ...) that comes in a can these days has an epoxy liner which contains the controversial BPA — a chemical linked by some studies to cancer, infertility and obesity — which leeches into liquids in incredibly tiny amounts.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged there are questions about the impact BPA exposure could have on the human body but has not come to any firm conclusions on what amount of BPA is acceptable before it becomes a health risk.

Most previous studies have determined the amount of BPA assimilated into the human body is so minute that it doesn’t really rate as a health risk for adults — but who knows what will surface as more research is done?

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