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Champs de Provence rosé

Champs de Provence rosé

Prestige Wine & Spirits Group announced the addition of Champs de Provence rosé from Côtes de Provence to its portfolio of wines. Available nationwide this month with a suggested retail price of $17.99-$19.99, the rosé is dry with vibrant notes of red berries, citrus and orange blossom with a medium body, flavorful hints of raspberry and a zest mineral finish, the company says. Champs de Provence is a blend of 40 percent Grenache, 30 percent Cinsault, 20 percent Syrah and 10 percent Carignan and Mourvedre, it adds.

Prestige Wine & Spirits Group, Princeton, Minn.
Telephone: 651/ 649-5823
Internet: www.prestigewineandspiritsgroup.com
Distribution: National
 

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2016 hits markets this week

Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2016 hits markets this week

Press Release:

(Escondido, CA) – A rich, dark decadence is rising again to seduce even the most reluctant palates. A standout among Stone Brewing’s typically hop-centric lineup, Stone Imperial Russian Stout is highly regarded for its reputation among craft beer aficionados and collectors. Beginning this week, 2016 Stone Imperial Russian Stout will start arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at bars, retailers and restaurants in markets where Stone beer is sold.

Originally conceived by Stone President, co-founder and original Brewmaster Steve Wagner, the recipe for Stone Imperial Russian Stout has been tweaked very little since the beer’s debut in 2000. By using British black malt and British roasted barley for the grain bill, the resulting beer has a dark opaque appearance and a roasty, coffee-like aroma. Intensely bittersweet cocoa and coffee flavors give way to hints of anise and fruity esters provided by the yeast. Enjoy with patience. As the stout warms, its malt qualities open up, becoming smoother drinking exhibiting stronger roast and chocolate character.

“With each year’s release, we definitely work to make it taste fantastic on day one, but it’s also a beer that ages wonderfully with time and becomes more complex,” said Wagner. “This has become a recipe that we don’t mess with much or change dramatically year to year. I’m very proud of the reputation it has earned among craft beer enthusiasts.”
In addition to its perfect RateBeer score of 100, Stone Imperial Russian Stout owns a “world-class” rating of 96 on BeerAdvocate as well as a 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship Gold Award in the Imperial Stout category. Despite the craft brewing world’s escalation of imperial stouts with ever-bigger bodies and higher alcohol-by-volume (ABV), Stone has maintained Wagner’s original creation from 2000…feeling that the beer is perfect as is!

2016 Stone Imperial Russian Stout is ready to be enjoyed fresh or stored at proper cellaring temperatures (55°F or lower) for several months or even years. Brewed to align with the authentic, historical style of an imperial Russian stout, this beer is massive, and a great representation of the style originating from Czarist Russia’s demand for ever heftier, ABV-elevated English stouts.

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Big Texas Beer Fest returns to Dallas on Friday & Saturday, April 1-2

Big Texas Beer Fest returns to Dallas on Friday & Saturday, April 1-2

Sponsored Press Release:

The FIFTH Big Texas Beer Fest returns to Dallas, on Friday AND Saturday, April 1-2. A portion of the proceeds benefit the North Texas Food Bank.

Featuring 500+ beers from 120 breweries in the Automobile Building at Fair Park. Grab the DART rail for quick/easy access!

LINK TO SORTABLE EXCEL FILE OF 500+ BEERS or PDF FILE OF 500+ BEERS.

Tickets almost always sell out in advance, so grab your tickets now. It’s VERY unlikely they’ll be sold at the door. VIP tickets $65, General Admission $39. Festival hours 6:30-10:30pm Friday, 2-6:30 p.m. Saturday. VIPs enter 1 hour prior to the listed times.

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Bell’s Brewery unveils first look at refreshed logo, packaging to come later this year

Bell’s Brewery unveils first look at refreshed logo, packaging to come later this year
Bells Expedition 2016 Packaging BeerPulse
Bells Oberon 2016 Packaging BeerPulse
Bells Two Hearted 2016 Packaging BeerPulse
Bells Brewery New Logo

Press Release:

(Comstock, MI) – For more than 30 years, Bell’s Brewery has focused on brewing beer that follows the vision of its President and Founder, Larry Bell.

Bell’s dedication to quality begins with sourcing the finest raw ingredients and continues into the brewhouse, the quality lab, all the way to your glass. It is continuously adding to, and refining its process in every aspect, to ensure and reinforce those expectations of quality.

“As we continue to brew the best beer we can, we wanted to make sure our packaging reflected the quality of the beer inside,” said Bell’s Vice President Laura Bell.

Over the past year, Larry Bell and Laura Bell, have been working with a team at Kaleidoscope to look at the imagery of each member of the Bell’s family of beers.

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Elevation Beer Co. introduces new Freestyle Series

Elevation Beer Co. introduces new Freestyle Series

Press Release:

(Poncha Springs, CO) – Elevation Beer Company is unveiling a new series of beers in 2016. Named the “Freestyle Series,” this grouping of beers will focus on experimentation and specialty one-off beers to be released each quarter.

The “Freestyle Series” will allow Elevation’s brewers to play around with different ingredients, unique recipes, and overall just have fun with singular batches of beer. All “Freestyle Series” beers will be released in 750ml capped bottles and will feature unique label art that will change for each unique beer.

“The Freestyle series is an opportunity for everyone in the Company to participate in expressing themselves creatively. From recipe to label, we utilize our collective creativity and have a good laugh while we are at it, case in point is our first Freestyle release.”

The first beer in Elevation’s new “Freestyle Series” will be released at the beginning of April and will be available across the state of Colorado in addition to limited quantities in Arizona, Texas, and Seattle, Washington. The brewery will announce additional details as the release date gets closer.

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Ska Mexican Logger returns on April 6th

Ska Mexican Logger returns on April 6th

Press Release:

(Durango, CO) — Ska Brewing announces the 2016 return of their award-winning Mexican Logger summer seasonal. Making a name for itself in the ever-popular Mexican lager category, Ska’s rendition won Silver at The Great American Beer Festival in the International Style Pilsner Category in October 2015.

Mexican Logger will hit shelves around the country on April 6 with its superhuman balance of sweet malt and mild bite. Crafted with fresh grains and Saaz hops, the Mexican Logger is a refreshing brew for warm weather days. At 5% ABV and 20 IBU’s this highly sessionable beer features a light to medium body and a clean, crisp finish.

Mexican Logger lovers are entranced by the concoction. To keep up with demand, Ska Brewing has increased production of the beer by twenty percent. The Mexican Logger is not only a favorite of Ska fans everywhere, critics have also awarded it medals year after year.

“Originally brewed in 1999 and first enclosed in cans in 2011, the Mexican Logger has been our top seller every summer. It has the DNA of a quality craft beer but the easy drinking appeal of a Mexican lager. Years of production equal years of perfection,” says Thibodeau. “I must say that it’s a perfect pairing with a long, hot day of brutal chainsaw work.”

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Ninkasi Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control marks Ninkasi Space Program’s sequel

Ninkasi Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control marks Ninkasi Space Program’s sequel
Ninkasi Barrel-Aged Ground Control Box 22oz BeerPulse

Press Release:

(Eugene, OR) – In 2014, Ninkasi Brewing Company, an independent craft brewery based in Eugene, Oregon, embarked on a journey that took its beer to new heights—77.3 miles above Earth to be exact. The Ninkasi Space Program (NSP), was an initiative with one goal in mind: send brewer’s yeast to space, return it to Earth to brew delicious beer. In October 2014, Ninkasi sent six vials of brewer’s yeast to space aboard a rocket launched from Spaceport America and later, released its first “space beer” in 2015, Ground Control. This year, the beer returns with its sequel—Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control. Brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, this Imperial Stout is fermented with an Ale yeast that survived a trip to space, barrel-aged for four months and blended. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control can be found in limited-edition 22-ounce bottles starting April 12, 2016 throughout Ninkasi’s distribution territory.

“Ground Control lives on; first with yeast into space and now into barrels, we are thrilled to carry on the excitement of space and brewing exploration,” says Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi co-founder and CEO. “The frenzy around Ground Control’s first release extended beyond our expectations; we look forward to bringing another iteration to more beer and science lovers.”

The story behind Ground Control’s creation began in July 2014 with Mission One of NSP. In partnership with the Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) and Team Hybriddyne, Ninkasi loaded a rocket with 16 vials of brewer’s yeast. A series of unexpected circumstances led to tracking issues, leaving the payload lost on the floor of the Black Rock Desert for 27 days. Due to the extreme desert heat, the yeast was not viable for brewing. An opportunity for Mission Two presented itself with UP Aerospace Inc., a private spaceflight corporation, and in October 2014, six vials of brewer’s yeast traveled above Earth’s atmosphere from Spaceport America on an SL-9 rocket. The yeast returned to Earth, and was immediately transported back to Ninkasi’s lab to begin propagation and brewing.

“Barrel aging Ground Control brings the flavors together in a fantastic way,” explains Ninkasi founding brewer and co-founder, Jamie Floyd. “The wood itself imparts subtle vanilla flavors while the Bourbon notes enhance the rich flavors of the cocoa nibs and hazelnuts without overshadowing the star anise.” Smooth, flavorful, robust and spirited, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control marks another step for Ninkasi and its quest to push the brewing industry forward.

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American craft beer exports top $116 million in 2015, up 16% from 2014

American craft beer exports top $116 million in 2015, up 16% from 2014

Press Release:

(Boulder, CO) — The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today reported export growth data for the American craft beer industry in 2015. Supported by the BA’s Export Development Program (EDP), craft beer export volume increased by 16.3 percent in 2015, now totaling 446,151 barrels and worth $116 million.

Growth was seen in all major markets, most notably in Western Europe which saw a 33.4 percent increase. Ireland, the Netherlands, Thailand and Taiwan were the fastest growing markets in 2015.

Canada was again the leading international market for American craft beer, accounting for 51 percent of exports. Meanwhile, Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom each took a market share of approximately 10 percent. The top five was rounded out by Australia, which accounted for 4 percent of exports.

“Small and independent craft brewers are putting American beer on the global map,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association. “There’s a growing thirst from beer lovers in countries around the world for bold, innovative products from American craft brewers. As the demand for American craft beer continues to grow abroad, the Brewers Association is pleased to support our members by increasing their access to international markets.”

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Bell’s Brewery partners with Kansas Craft Alliance for Kansas distribution in June

Bell’s Brewery partners with Kansas Craft Alliance for Kansas distribution in June

(Comstock, MI) – Bell’s Brewery is proud to partner with The Kansas Craft Alliance to bring Bell’s beer to the great state of Kansas.

Bell’s entire portfolio, based on availability, will begin shipping in late May for release in June.

The Kansas Craft Alliance was formed in 2009 through an established distributor partnership that maximizes brand exposure with unmatched support throughout the state of Kansas. Commitment to craft beer growth and consumer education ensures outstanding results and strong relationships with customers and supplier partners.

Distributors Included in the Kansas Craft Alliance are:

· City Beverage Company, Inc.

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Burnbrae distillery: plans for the Rolls Royce of single malts

Burnbrae distillery: plans for the Rolls Royce of single malts
Jonny McCormick
Dr. Harry Riffkin

March 29th, 2016

 

Whisky Advocate brings you breaking news of the latest Scotch whisky distillery project…

Plans have been unveiled to build Burnbrae distillery in the former Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride, just south of Glasgow. The new Lowland distillery has been commissioned by Campbell Meyer & Co. Ltd, a company of whisky blenders, bottlers, brokers, and exporters. Their intentions are to construct a new facility capable of producing up to two million liters of alcohol per annum by October 2017.

The head of Campbell Meyer & Co. is Colin Barclay, the nephew of Loch Lomond distillery developer Sandy Bulloch. Barclay has more than 25 years experience in the whisky industry. The company now has numerous warehouses and a filling store on the old Rolls Royce factory site. Many drinkers will know Campbell Meyer & Co. through their Hart Brothers single malt bottlings and their numerous blended scotch labels.

While I was writing about new Scotch whisky distilleries for the Spring 2016 issue of Whisky Advocate, and given the pace of change, I cheerfully predicted that the news would be out of date by the summer. Within days of publication, Harry Riffkin got in touch to let me know that he could tell me about an exciting new development. Riffkin runs Tatlock & Thomson, a long-established, specialist company that performs scientific analysis on alcoholic beverages. Intrigued, I drove deep into the Kingdom of Fife to the Tatlock & Thomson laboratories to listen to what he had to say.

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Coors Light partners with Kenny “The Jet” Smith for social media campaign

Coors Light partners with Kenny “The Jet” Smith for social media campaign

For the third consecutive year, Coors Light, a brand of Chicago-based MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller plc and Miller Coors Brewing Co., and retired basketball player Kenny "The Jet" Smith, have teamed up to invest in communities across the country by refurbishing basketball courts, the company says.

Coors Light will donate up to $100,000 to refurbish community basketball courts in Oakland, Calif.; New Orleans; Sacramento, Calif.; and Chicago, it says. Legal-drinking-age basketball fans can participate through June 30 by using the hashtags #FullCourtreFRESH and #Over21. Coors Light will donate $1 for each tweet, up to $25,000 in each city, it adds.
"I'm thrilled to continue my partnership with Coors Light Full Court reFRESH," Smith said in a statement. "Over the last few years, we've done great work in communities across the country, and it's important to continue preserving the legacy of public courts."

Coors Light partners with the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP), Sacramento Kings Foundation and Warriors Community Foundation to identify and enhance community basketball courts, it says. MillerCoors also provides incremental funding for economic development initiatives. In collaboration with local community partners, Coors Light will host special events featuring Smith to share the program's impact, it adds.

"The Coors Light Full Court ReFRESH program is a unique opportunity to invest and make a tangible difference in our communities," said Steve Canal, national community affairs manager at MillerCoors. "In collaboration with our partner, the National Urban League, we've invested more than $350,000 to restore community courts across the country."

Basketball courts are important cultural centers, the company says. They're often a place where communities connect and people aim to improve their game. Full Court ReFRESH is just one of the ways that Coors Light encourages everyone to achieve goals and conquer personal mountains, it adds.

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Stoli Gluten Free

Stoli Gluten Free

Stoli Vodka released its newest vodka — Stoli Gluten Free. Made with 88 percent corn and 12 percent buckwheat, Stoli Gluten Free will launch in the United States with availability nationwide in April. The new varietal is distilled three times and filtered four times through quartz sand and birchwood charcoal before being blended with pure, natural spring water, the company says. Stoli Gluten Free will be available in 50- and 750-ml packages, as well as 1-liter packages. A 750-ml bottle has a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Stoli Group USA LLC, New York
Telephone: 212/858-9090
Internet: www.stoli.com
Distribution: National
 

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Heineken USA’s Beers of Mexico variety pack returns

Heineken USA’s Beers of Mexico variety pack returns

Heineken USA, White Plains, N.Y., announced the return of its Beers of Mexico variety pack, an all-in-one party solution that features limited-edition Dos Equis Azul joining Dos Equis Lager, Tecate and Sol to create a medley of taste experiences perfect for social gatherings and party occasions, the company says. Its newest limited-edition release, Dos Equis Azul, blends signature golden wheat lager and blue agave, it adds.

“Today’s consumers are seeking adventure and prefer brands that allow them to explore new tastes and styles and support their thirst for self-expression and individualism,” said Andrew Katz, vice president of marketing for Dos Equis, in a statement. “Just as every individual at a social gathering is unique, every beer in the pack has a personality. Our Beers of Mexico, ‘party in a pack,’ is a proven seller, offering something for everyone.”

To increase awareness and drive shoppers in-store, Dos Equis is utilizing digital and social media to direct consumers to the Beers of Mexico content hub, which features content for shopper engagement and guides to local off-premise accounts. Additionally, the hub provides retailers with branded content, toolkits for implementation and a platform to develop program extensions, the company says.

Once in-store, point-of-sale (POS) materials, including case stackers, display toppers, cooler decals, pallet skirts, price cards and tuck cards, increase consideration and purchase intent of the Beers of Mexico variety pack, according to the company.

“For retailers, the Beers of Mexico pack leverages the high-margin Heineken USA portfolio of Mexican brands while capitalizing on the variety pack format, an increasingly popular format that drives more dollars per trip than any other segment,” Katz added.

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Craft Beer Kings online beer shop Easter special: Shipping included on $100 orders

Craft Beer Kings online beer shop Easter special: Shipping included on $100 orders
Instagram
beerpulse online shop ad

Sponsored [Paid] Post:

Welp, don’t ask us how they do it but Craft Beer Kings online beer shop today only (Easter) is offering shipping included on all nationwide orders over $100. Max 12 bottle orders (presumably orders that can safely fit into one package).

Don’t forget to sign up for their email newsletter for daily new beer alerts. TON of solid beers available on Craft Beer Kings as of this posting:

Samuel Adams Utopias – 2 Left!

Alaskan Jalapeno IPA

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Stone Brewing Co. launches Arkansas distribution with events 3/28-4/1

Stone Brewing Co. launches Arkansas distribution with events 3/28-4/1

Press Release:

(Escondido, CA) – Stone Brewing is pleased to announce that, starting on March 28, the San Diego-based company’s beers will be available in bars, restaurants and retailers throughout the entire state of Arkansas for the very first time. As its wholesale partners in “The Natural State,” Arkansas Craft Distributors and O’Connor Distributing will distribute Stone’s bold, flavorful and often hop-centric beers. To appropriately celebrate the new market launch, fans are invited to attend events taking place from March 28 through April 1, featuring an impressive lineup of special-release beers and Stone representatives at each location.

“With so many fans asking for Stone to arrive, we’re excited to finally make our beers available in Arkansas.” said Stone VP of Sales Todd Karnig. “This is the first new state we’re launching in 2016, and with Stone Brewing – Richmond opening this year, even more fresh beer will be on its way nationwide.”

Arkansas will join 41 states; Washington, D.C.; 14 countries and Puerto Rico, where Stone beers are already distributed. With the boost in production from Stone Brewing – Richmond, the company plans to distribute to all 50 states by the end of 2016. Stone will also launch five European countries as it prepares for the opening of Stone Brewing – Berlin this summer.

All year-round Stone beers, as well as various limited and special releases, will be distributed in Arkansas, including:

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Bell’s Oatsmobile Ale named first new beer to year-round lineup since 2010

Bell’s Oatsmobile Ale named first new beer to year-round lineup since 2010

Press Release:

(Comstock, MI) – Bell’s Brewery will roll out a brand new beer in April. It is the first new addition to its year-round lineup since 2010.

A hop-forward session Pale Ale brewed with oats, Oatsmobile Ale (4.3% ABV) will be available on draught and in 12 oz. bottles, packaged in six-packs across Bell’s distribution footprint.

Oatsmobile is dry-hopped with a blend of classic and modern Pacific Northwest hops, including Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo, for a pungent blend of stone fruit and tropical aromas.

“This beer is unique. Aromatics may drive it, but the signature ingredient – oats – are what really makes this beer stand apart and also where the name comes from. It’s approachable and intriguing with a fun personality,” said Bell’s Vice President, Laura Bell.

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Bell’s Hopsoulution Double IPA bottles returning for wider release in May

Bell’s Hopsoulution Double IPA bottles returning for wider release in May

Press Release:

(Comstock, MI) – Bell’s Brewery is excited to announce another new addition to its specialty packaging lineup this year.

Bell’s Hopsoulution Double IPA (8% ABV) will return in 12 oz. bottles, packaged in six-packs, this May, in addition to draught.
This limited specialty beer will ship to all states Bell’s distributes to. This is the second new specialty beer to be announced as part of Bell’s Release Calendar for 2016.

“We’re really excited about making Hopsoulution a part of our regular line-up. This will be the first time this beer will be available in bottles for a lot of our fans,” said Bell’s Vice President Laura Bell.

This remarkably drinkable Double IPA pays tribute to one of Mother Nature’s finest creations, as several hop varietals combine for massive aromas of tropical fruit, citrus and pine.

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Good Beer Friday #8

Good Beer Friday #8
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Normally at this time on Good Friday, I'd be running through the music for the 3:00 services with the St. Andrew Chamber Group. This year, sadly, I'm sidelined with lingering effects from the cold that's kept me from reviewing most of the past three weeks: gravel voice. So I'm going to drink beer and listen to the songs I'd otherwise be singing. Join me: Johnny Cash's version of "Were You There". (putting this up on the day after Good Friday because I didn't get out for a draft till today...)

Omer Traditional Blond, 8.0%

I love the family-owned Belgian breweries. Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste has been owned by the Vander Ghinste family for four generations. They mostly make pilsner -- gotta pay the bills -- but they're making a set of traditional ales as well, and Omer is the big blond in the family. A Vander Ghinste named Omer has run the brewery for all four generations; kinda solid. I like that, too.

So what do we have here? Bright yellow beer, clean white foam with tenaciously tight little bubbles. All beers are beautiful, but this one's especially captivating to the eye. Oh, and the nose, too. Sweet clovey candy, orange marmalade, sweet and spicy without being sticky or cloying. It smells interesting, which is what I'm looking for.

Sipping time. First thought: 8%? Really? That's scary. Because this drinks like about 5.5%. Well-attenuated but not thin, and still spicy-sweet without being sticky. The fizzy fine carbonation runs all over my tongue and teeth and roof and cheeks, what a rush! This is more spicy than sweet, and there's no stickiness in the finish at all. That's by God well done, and I'm kinda regretting that I gave half of it to my wife!

Verdict: Good

Goose Island Four Star Pils, 5.1%

Whatever shall I do? Goose Island is owned by ABInBev! I believe I shall taste the beer with an open mind and leave my readers (both of you) to decide what to do with the information. I will say this: Goose has always made refreshing and thirst-quenching beers, and I expect more of the same in this 16 oz. can. Let's crack it.

Hmmm...kind of funky smell like pineapple and sweet cream; not unpleasant, just totally unexpected. Is this some more of these new hop strains brewers have been experimenting with? Still, it looks proper, with a beautiful white bloom of foam. Tastes better: malt, bitter hop, the right body, clean finish.

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The Man Comes Around

The Man Comes Around
Author - Sam Komlenic
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March 25th, 2016

It’s Valentine’s Day, 1990.  Dick Stoll, last master distiller at Michter’s distillery near Schaefferstown, Pa., protege of C. Everett Beam, and distiller of the now-vaunted A.H. Hirsch bourbon, receives a call from the bank that holds the note to the once-proud property. After years of mismanagement and financial impropriety under multiple owners, he is told to lock the doors for the last time…it’s over, for good. On that cold February day, Dick Stoll is the last man standing at the last distillery in Pennsylvania. He is 57 years old.

With a family to provide for and not a lot to show for more than 25 years of hard work, Dick takes a construction job and later finds steady employment with the Lebanon County school district as a maintenance man. He eventually retires and takes pleasure in visiting other American distilleries with his wife Elaine, whom he’d met when she was a tour guide at Michter’s.

There remain people who remember his accomplishments, and one of them eventually unites Dick with a young couple, Erik Wolfe and Avianna Ponzi Wolfe, who have their own vision: bringing whiskey distilling back to the Lebanon-Lancaster area. Together they set up a partnership, source and blend bourbon and rye whiskeys from other distilleries under their Stoll & Wolfe label, and put together plans to open a distillery in historic Lititz, Pa. with Dick at the controls.

In the meantime, in order to get their own product into the pipeline, they work with Thomas McKenzie of Craft Distillery Resources to identify a craft distiller with a column still (what they’ll be installing in their own location) who is willing to do contract work for them.

After a bit of searching, Silverback distillery in Afton, Virginia, opened less than two years earlier by Christine and Denver Riggleman, is chosen and things begin to fall into place. Silverback is state-of-the-art for a craft column operation and turns out to be the perfect partner for this endeavor. A mashbill of 60% rye, 30% corn, and 10% malt is formulated, cooperage is sourced, a date is set, and the deal is done. Just one more thing to do: make some whiskey.

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Split Thy Skull XXI in Philly tomorrow!

Split Thy Skull XXI in Philly tomorrow!
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Back in the day...way back in the day, like in the 1990s, one of the premiere beer events in Philadelphia was Split Thy Skull, a barleywine/strong beer event at Sugar Mom's in Old City, originally put on by Philly's pioneer beer promoter, Jim Anderson. For whatever reason, it was always held on the day before Easter, and -- thank you! -- in the afternoon. We'd crowd in the basement bar, eat sandwiches and red beet eggs, and scarf down glasses of beers that started at 7% and headed north from there. That's where I had my first Yards Old Bart, various iterations of Dock Street's barleywine, draft Kulmbacher G'frorns, and Rogue Old Crustacean. That's also where I first met Nodding Head founder Curt Decker, when both of us were "pretty well banged up," as Tom Peters puts it.

Oddly enough, Split Thy Skull was, in a way, the earliest genesis of the Session Beer Project. I distinctly remember supping a glass of cask-conditioned Young's Old Nick barleywine (at a quaintly mellow 7.3%, which would damned near get it laughed out of today's STS), and thinking -- I could point to the spot where it occurred to me, it's so sharp in my mind -- 'My God, this is so good; I wish it were about 3.5% so I could drink it all day.' The seed of an all-day drinking tasty beer was planted, and would come to fruition years later.

But enough history! Because tomorrow is Split Thy Skull XXI, to be held from 1-6 at Tattooed Mom, 530 South Street, and as always, it's gonna be a doozy. It's PAYG, with singles and flights, from over a dozen big fat beers of all types (and I hope some true barleywines are among 'em!). They don't usually release a list until the actual event, but they slipped me a few names that will be there. Check it: Pizza Boy Wonder Whine (12.5%); Southern Tier Back Burner (10.5%); Alesmith Old Numbskull (11%). Woof!

So...get on your bike, call up Uber or Lyft, take the bus, or get a friend to pick you up when you're done, because if you do this right, you'll be done. Not sure if I can make it this year or not, but if I see you there...Cheers!

Original author: Lew Bryson

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