Archives For Beer Starz

Eventide Tap Handle Just the other day I was at Haley and Nathan’s house and couldn’t help but notice something new. There, in the window sill of their kitchen, was a little clipping of a plant Nathan was trying to have spring roots. Seeing that just further reinforced that it’s little things like this which make our team who we are, and is the reason behind why we do what we do. We absolutely love to make things.

This goes for our brewery, our beer (of course), and even the tap handles which are used to serve our beer. For us, craft isn’t just in the beer or the building, it’s in everything we do. The tap handles are a great example of this, and they were crafted in a collaboration between our head of marketing Mathew Sweezey and many volunteers.

We thought it was so unique to us that we wanted to make sure it was recorded for everyone to see. With that being the case, we made this short film documenting the making of our tap handles. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.

Mat S.

What is better than craft beer on a hot summer day? Craft beer ice cream, of course! Meet Ari, the owner and creative genius behind Frozen Pints. If you haven’t tried their Malted Chocolate Milk Stout or their Peach Lambic ice cream then you don’t know what you are missing. I highly suggest you stop by their booth this Saturday at the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest to snag a sample. If you’ve already grabbed your sample and are anxious to get your hands on a pint or ten check out their website listed below to find a retail location near you. 

Meet Ari

 

When did you become involved with craft beer?

In college it was mostly Natty Light and the Beast, so my real exposure didn’t come until after school.  I still remember the first time I tried great beer though – it was at the German Bierfest at Atlantic Station.  A friend “dragged” me to it, but one sip in and I haven’t looked back since.  I had no idea beer could taste like that!

What started the idea for Frozen Pints?

I came up with the idea about two years ago, and it actually was an accident.  We were having a barbecue, and a friend of mine happened to bring over an ice cream maker.  We’re all craft beer geeks, so of course we had some solid brews around.  One thing led to another, and my buddy actually spilled his beer right next to the machine.  I was drinking one of my favorites at the time, I saw it happen, and it just kind of clicked – why not pour it in and see how it turns out?  The first batch came out pretty tasty, so I picked it up as a hobby.

What criteria are considered when selecting a new craft beer to impart flavor to the ice cream?

Most important is that the beer has a unique, defining flavor to it – and preferably one that really nails the style.  So our Brown Ale Chip not only gets a great roasted hazelnut flavor from the beer, it also has a dry finish and a subtle bitterness that are typical of a classic brown.  We also try to ensure that we have a good variety of flavors, so we usually focus on styles that we haven’t done before.

Where all can the consumer find your product?

We’re in over 100 locations in Atlanta, Macon, and (very recently!) Athens.  Easiest way is to look them up on our website at www.frozenpints.com.

Are there any Georgia Beer laws that have hindered you from producing your product?

There wasn’t anything in the law that specifically said we couldn’t do what we wanted to do, but there wasn’t anything saying that we could do it either.  So we spent about a year and a half working at the federal, state and local levels to figure out how to classify ourselves.  It was probably the most difficult part of getting the business started.  But thankfully we now have an answer – same rules as any standard beer.

What is your favorite craft beer for the summer or your favorite Frozen Pint flavor and why?

Oh man, there are too many to name for favorite summer beers.  I tend to like wheats and wits in the summer.  Monday Night and Cherry Street locally have some great examples, and there’s always the classic Weihenstephaner.  As far as our flavors go, it’s really tough to pick a favorite.  I don’t have kids, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling – there are these things you’ve created and sent out into the world, and they’re all good in their own way.

Where do you think the beer market will be in 5 years and how do you see your product fitting in that market?

The great thing about the craft movement is that it’s really more than a trend, and it’s bigger than just beer.  It’s about people wanting food and drink that are unique, delicious, hand-crafted and community-oriented.  You see it showing up in every category in the grocery store – and liquor store for that matter – and I don’t see it stopping any time soon.  Some people think there’s going to be a ton of consolidation in the craft beer world at some point, and they may be right.  But the underlying movement towards better quality products is only getting larger.  And that couldn’t be better for us – as craft beer grows, so will Frozen Pints.

Who is your beer idol?

I’ve always admired Sam Calagione – the founder of Dogfish Head.  Starting a beer ice cream company means you’re going to be pushing an idea that seems crazy at first, and Sam was a pioneer of new ideas in the beer world.  He used ingredients that no-one had considered before, did what he loved, and ended up with some amazing flavors as a result.  We can only hope to achieve something similar.

What beer would you drink with your last meal?

Without question it’s the beer that’s in our Vanilla Bock…unfortunately, I can’t give it away.  Though I guess if it’s my last meal I can let you in on the secret…

 

Cheers to summer time and delicious ice cream,

Haley

What gets measured, gets improved. This belief holds true in almost every aspect of our lives, and we adhere firmly to measuring and improving ourselves. Because of this we began conducting tasting panels in addition to internal review. These “public” tasting panels have allowed us to get a good read on how our beers compare to currently distributed beers of the same style and have given us feedback we normally would not receive from tasting a single beer. This has helped us dial in the quality and appeal of our existing recipes and has given us further insight into where each beer will fit into the market.

The sheets we use are basic, but very helpful, and because of their helpfulness we have decided to make these available to everyone. Please share any experiences you have with these sheets and/or any ideas for improvement. Cheers!

Survey Score Sheet Example

Cellaring Beer

Mathew Sweezey —  February 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

Since first viewing this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL57CC3LaXQ&feature=related, we have been intrigued by the process of ”cellaring” and were anxious to find out which differences it imparted upon the beer. With that in mind, we slowly fit a few larger beers into our brewing schedule and have committed to allowing them to age. The first was a Strong Scotch ale, which had the distinction of winning the bronze in Final Gravity’s Strong Beer competition, and the next 2 were an Imperial Stout and Belgian Strong ale.

All of these beers are bottle conditioned, and will be cellared for at least 6 months before tasting. The Imp. Stout and the Belgian ale have been sitting for about 4 months now, and carbonation appears to have progressed nicely, if not rather slowly due to the high ABV, so all signs point to these being in prime condition for the upcoming tastings. Once we begin, we will periodically open a fresh bottle and record the results to find what changes are noted, good or bad, as the beer ages, and we look forward to sharing this information with you.

If you have any tips or are currently running a parallel process, please write us with any information you may be privy to as this is our first foray into cellaring and we would like to have an open dialogue with anyone interested in or experienced with the process. Thanks!

Finally, a big shout out to Brick Store Pub for setting this in motion! If you have not been to BSP do yourself a favor and make it happen, you will not be disappointed. Heck, you may even see one of us there.

Cheers!

In the previous post we showed you what our new labels are going to be looking like. From here we are going to now make them official. There are many laws and regulations we need to follow to do so, and they are not always easy to find. So I have posted below the full criteria of your labels, and what you need to have to create a “legal” label for yours. This graphic is from the TTB so it is official, and can be your guide. If you need more information you can find it on their site.

In brewing we talk a lot about efficiency because it is a major contributor in not only the cost of making our beer but also the quality of the beer. It is easy to understand the importance of cost, so I will not carry on about that. What I will touch on is the quality of the beer and how that is achieved through hitting our target efficiencies.

When we start dreaming up a new recipe one of the key factors we have to think about is mash efficiency. So what directly affects our mash efficiency: grist ratio, type of malt or sugar used, mashing process, mash temperature, pH of mash, mash circulation,  sparging, etc. Furthermore, all of these factors indirectly affect other targets for our beer. Let me explain…

Grist Ratio is the ratio of milled grain to water. 1.25 to 1.5 lbs/qts is typical. This is important for a number of reasons. The mash has to have enough water in it so that the enzymes that convert the starch in to sugar has enough room to move freely from place to place. The mash has to be loose enough so that the mash does not turn in to a big lump of sticky mess and get stuck. On the other side, if you use all your target water in the primary mash infusion you will not have enough for sparging out.

The type of malt or sugar used is important because they all vary in how much sugar they will contribute.

The mashing process can have a big effect. It is hard to get anything more than 55% efficiency using a single infusion mash.

Mash Temperature and pH have long winded and complicated reasons for why they are important. I am not going to go any further into it than to say that chemistry is complicated, and biology is worse. Read John Palmer’s How to Brew if you want to get in to the nitty-gritty.

So why am I taking the time to write a blog post? It could be because you all are important to us and we want you to have the knowledge to correct your brewing mistakes. Or maybe because we want to flex our hard earned brew knowledge. But, even if those first two are accurate we still want to expound upon the fact that we have achieved a milestone in our brewing career. We have achieved a 75% mash efficiency while brewing a 10.5% ABV beer.

Yay us!!!

Nathan C.

 

A few days ago Walmart announced in AdAge that they will be now selling more craft beers. They even are going to allow their employees to pick the brands which they want to carry. Now why would this be? Does this mean the end of our beginning? Are we approaching Beer Bubble?

Walmart is the king of cheap, and craft beer is far from cheap. There are now more breweries in the US then ever also. We have over 1700 breweries which is more than we had ever in the history of the US. Does the fact that the largest seller of goods (WalMart), and the biggest number of producers ever,  suggest the early sign of a beer bubble? Is there a market to support all of this beer without the hype of beer hipsters?

To get a better idea at some of these numbers I took a quick look at the European market to compare, and specifically the Belgian market. What I found was very interesting. Reading a report, by European Beer Guide, you can look at historical numbers in Belgium and they  had over 3,000 breweries at the turn of the century. Then over the past hundred years due to war have shrunk down to only 250 breweries. Their beer consumption has gone down by over half from 221 hl per person to 91 hl per person. Despite the shrinking volume of drink consumed per person number, their total beer output is now more than it was with 3,000 breweries. However, this is mostly due to them exporting over 50% of all their beer made.

Looking back at the US we are making more beer now than ever, we hear “Craft Beer” every day, and it seems that everyone is a home brewer. Is this all hype, or is this just America picking back up the bug it had in 1900?

To get a better look at if this is a bubble we will look at the prices for beer. The standard six pack will range you between 6.99 and 12.99 depending on the brand. This is not an extravagant amount. However if you are starting to buy higher ABV beers, or special brews you can easily pay 12.99 for a single beer. Is this out of line with the market, and our view of beer? Not really. If we compare this to the original bubble the “Tulip Bubble” in the 1700′s people were paying upwards of a million dollars for a single tulip bulb. Comparing these two metrics we can see that our beer is still in proportion to its relative value. Most beers which are more expensive are that way due to ingredents, and is a reflection of the actual cost of making the beer.

So the price of our beer is not reflecting a bubble, but is the number of breweries? Overall beer consumption is in decline by 5% according to AdAge in there article. With beer consumption shrinking, and the number of people making beer increasing, it would seem to suggest something is wrong. Unless we are changing our pallets and this is a statement against big corporations and America waking up to the realize we have been fooled by the major beer brands for so long.

Since WalMart sells more stuff than anyone else in the world I would assume they know what they are doing when it comes to opening up shelf space for craft beers. This must mean they are seeing their customers buying less BudLight, and more local beers. This seems to suggest that there is a change in preference and not just a market.

So the price of beer does not suggest a bubble, nor does the number of breweries suggest a true bubble. So it seems that we are not in the bubble just yet. However, 0ver the next few years many of these 1700 breweries will fail, and more will come in their place. If the price of beer, is to increase with out justification, and the number of breweries still increases we might see our “Beer Bubble”. Currently it seems there is a market there to buy the beer we are making, however, with more people making good beer it is going to become very hard to capture a sizable chunk of the market due to the amount of good competition.

 

 

Eventide Octoberfest So to introduce our new Oktoberfest Marzen we had a real Oktoberfest party. It was a blast, and the beer was all gone. A true testament to the quality of this seasonal brew.Check out the facebook fan page for the rest of the photos. Also make sure you are on our mailing list so you can know about the next great party.


 

 

One of the first brews we created on our 10 gal system was a BOB brew (BOB, in wine speak, being all of the leftover wine at the bottom of various barrels which is combined to make something, hopefully, that is greater than the sum of it’s parts). In this case, all of the unused grains and hops were combined to make a celebratory beer (new system!) and that beer became our first attempt at a Strong Scotch Ale (SSA).

I’ll save you the details, for now, but the finished product turned out better than we thought it would. It was actually…delicious. So much so that after giving it a little alone time in the cellar we pulled it back out, tasted it, and decided it would be good to get some public feed back. Enter the Final Gravity Strong Ale Competition. This competition only accepts entries which are 8% abv or higher and, with the SSA being 10% abv, it seemed to marry up as well as 2 things could (the loving union between a man and a woman notwithstanding).

So, here we are. 2 bottles of SSA were dropped off at The Wrecking Bar (cool place, btw) tonight and we will be anxiously awaiting the results in a couple of weeks. Wish us luck!

Prost!

Geoffrey W.

We have been working on a few developments in our go to market beers. One of those is a Dry Irish Stout. We find that the combination of taste, profile, and enjoyment in the Stout makes it one of our favorites. I have always been a huge fan of Guinness so it is just natural that we try to brew our own. The flavor of our Stout is a bit different since we are not trying to re create the wheel. It has a body with slightly more power, but a very smooth finish. Here is a video of our stout on Tap with a Nitro Pour. Enjoy!