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50 Impactful Stories from 50 Issues of The Beer Connoisseur

With our 50th issue in the books, we thought now would be a good time to peer backwards into our history and parse out 50 impactful stories from 50 issues of The Beer Connoisseur magazine.

Within this compilation piece, you'll find engaging travel stories from all over the world, fascinating education pieces that answer important questions about beer and brewing, notable profiles of major figures in beer and brewing as well as a bevy of other pieces to slake your intellectual thirst.

We hope you enjoy this stroll down memory lane as much as we did, and we look forward to 50 more issues of all the brew that's fit to drink. Cheers!


A Beer Tour of Belgium

HOLIDAY 2009, ISSUE 1

A Beer Tour of Belgium
by Charles Cook

België. Belgique. Belgium.
By whichever name you call it, be it Dutch, French or English, Belgium is the world’s best beer country. A place the size of Maryland with more than 130 breweries and 600-plus superb beer bars, Belgium is indeed a beer lover’s nirvana. But with so much to choose from, even savvy beer drinkers can be a bit daunted visiting the country. Fear not beer fans, The Beer Connoisseur is here to help. What follows is a road map to Belgium’s beer offerings, an expert guide to the best of what the country has to offer. Put away the guidebook and pour yourself a brew. We have a lot of ground to cover... CONTINUE READING


The Czech Republic: Searching for the Heart of Bohemian Beer

SPRING 2010, ISSUE 2

The Czech Republic: Searching for the Heart of Bohemian Beer
by Evan Rail

Normally, I’d say don’t come to Prague. At least don’t come to the capital of the Czech Republic to find a Bohemian beer paradise. Come to Prague because it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Come here to see 10 centuries of perfectly preserved architecture. Or to gawk at those few beautiful locals who haven’t yet left for modeling careers in Paris. Come here to watch a production of Don Giovanni in the jewel-box Estates Theater, where Mozart himself conducted the opera’s 1787 premiere, or come here to walk on the banks of the Vltava River and stare at the spires of the St. Vitus Cathedral, soaring above the very same castle that inspired Franz Kafka. Come here for any number of reasons, but just don’t come for the beer.

Because even though Prague is the capital of the world’s greatest beer-consuming country, I’ve often said I don’t think it’s the epicenter of Bohemian beer culture. I’ve called the city home since... CONTINUE READING


Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing

SUMMER 2010, ISSUE 3

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing
by Brandon Hernandez

For Vinnie Cilurzo, pushing the envelope is an everyday affair. Widely regarded as the inventor of the Double IPA, the forward-thinking owner and brewmaster at Russian River Brewing Company unleashed this ferocious beer style on the imbibing public in the mid-90’s. Most would have stopped there, but for Cilurzo, introducing the world to the tongue-buckling intensity of over-the-top hops was just the beginning.

In the decade and a half since, he has continued to elevate his status as one of America’s foremost brewing pioneers by using barrels, bacteria, Brettanomyces and a touch of Belgophilia mixed with equal parts brains and guts. His many accomplishments are made all the more impressive by the fact that he has built such a respectable reputation... CONTINUE READING


Thomas Keller's Culinary Empire

FALL 2010, ISSUE 4

Thomas Keller's Culinary Empire
by Brandon Hernandez

Stepping unaware into the dining room of Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant in Yountville, California, one would never guess the intimate six-table space occupies a former steam laundry. The room’s interior, from the kiva-style fireplace to the fresh flowers atop each table, is more evocative of a cozy living room. But it is here, under soft lighting and the watchful eye of an exactingly efficient staff, that foodies of the highest order come from far and wide to sup on morsels from a kitchen regarded by many as the most forward-thinking in the country. This is the French Laundry, where food is art and dinner is a theatrical tour de force... CONTINUE READING


 

Italy's Craft Beer Awakening

HOLIDAY 2010, ISSUE 5

Italy's Craft Beer Awakening
by Zak Avery

If you look at a map of the wine, beer and spirits belts, you’ll see that Italy is almost exclusively designated as a wine country, with only a small region in the north, bordering on Switzerland and Austria, that gains admittance to the beer belt. Relying on this long-held model as a basis to plan your next beer-themed vacation, you might make the mistake of missing Italy altogether – and it would be a grave mistake, because there has been something of a whirlwind revolution happening there.

The global reach of that revolution is partially signaled by the recent opening of a branch of Eataly in New York City, the mammoth food hall imported by the restaurateurs... CONTINUE READING


 

Michael Jackson: The King of Beer Writers

SPRING 2011, ISSUE 6

Michael Jackson: The King of Beer Writers
by Jay Brooks

On the morning of August 30th nearly three and a half years ago, I woke up in my hotel room in Yakima, Wash., a little hungover, having spent the previous two days attending Hop School. With a pounding head making it impossible to sleep, I gave up trying and opened my laptop to check my e-mail. After deleting the usual spam, I saw an unexpected note from a friend and colleague. It was short and to the point. The subject line... CONTINUE READING


 

Intoxicating Bangkok

SUMMER 2011, ISSUE 7

Intoxicating Bangkok
by Ben Keene

In the capitol of Thailand, there’s a new kind of temple in town dedicated to matching traditional dishes with beer and food styles more common to points west.

Since the House of Beers opened its doors, Bangkok has seen the arrival of upscale beer bars and brewpubs with English, Belgian and German themes. Not to be outdone, Thailand’s flagship brewer Boon Rawd is leading a homegrown movement with Est. 33 – a $1 million brewpub.

Would you like a Copper ale made with germinated brown rice to accompany your buffalo wings... CONTINUE READING


 

Innovators Series: Charlie Papazian

FALL 2011, ISSUE 8

Innovators Series: Charlie Papazian
by Dan Rabin

Thousands of beer enthusiasts descend upon downtown Denver each Fall for the Great American Beer Festival, because, 30 years ago, beer-loving guy had the offbeat idea people would pay good money to sample a collection of American-made beers. Fortunately, in addition to the right instincts Charlie Papazian had the savvy and tenacity to make the GABF a reality.

When Charlie Papazian has an idea, big things often follow. With an infectious enthusiasm for beer and beer making, plus the impetus to translate ideas into actions, he has pioneered efforts resulting in profound and even life-changing consequences for scores of beer lovers across the country. Papazian can be credited for launching careers, introducing many thousands to the joys of beer making, and building a foundation upon which a fledgling American craft beer movement could grow and flourish... CONTINUE READING


 

The Influence of Whisky and Wood

HOLIDAY / WINTER 2011-2012, ISSUE 9

The Influence of Whisky and Wood
by Carolyn Smagalski

Although not the first to use oak to impart flavors to beer, a practice that goes back to at least the 19th Century, Innis & Gunn became the first to inspire a line of oak-matured beers that have subsequently become a modern style across the beer landscape.

In the early part of the 20th century, Scottish men commonly drank “half-and-half,” a mix of half beer and half whiskey. Back then, cheap whisky was a nasty drink that could set a roiling fire in the throat, but adulterating it with malty sweetness tempered the heat with palatable results... CONTINUE READING


 

Coming of Age: The Nuances of Cellaring Beer

SPRING 2012, ISSUE 10

Coming of Age: The Nuances of Cellaring Beer
by Owen Ogletree

A somewhat disorganized, novice beer enthusiast discovers a six-pack of pale ale and a four-pack of imperial stout tucked away in the very back of his pantry. Realizing these brews were probably purchased more than two years ago, he decides to crack open a bottle of each on a whim. While the pale ale tastes like dull, stale hops and wet cardboard, the imperial stout offers up surprisingly pleasant, smooth aromas and flavors of chocolate, toffee and dark fruit intermingled with mild sherry notes. Why is that? Cellaring beer is the answer.

How is it that age can be so cruel to one style of beer and so forgiving to another? What environmental factors influence beer aging? What type of experimentation can be done to witness the effects of father time on a variety of brands and styles? Is setting up a cellar to age beer really worth the effort... CONTINUE READING


 

The Farmhouse Brewing Traditions of Lithuania

SUMMER 2012, ISSUE 11

The Farmhouse Brewing Traditions of Lithuania
by Martin Thibault

After driving through empty stretches of flat land lined haphazardly with half-collapsed barns, passing by the odd town or city still surrounded by the concrete vestiges of communist rule, filled with aging populations still carrying strife on their curved backs and scarred foreheads, it is difficult to believe a real farmhouse brewing movement, promoting unpasteurized and unfiltered brews, is alive and well in Lithuania. Yet that is the conclusion one inevitably comes to after visiting many of the country’s quirky beer bars and countryside breweries and sampling its many delectable beers... CONTINUE READING


Up a Notch With Emeril Lagasse

HOLIDAY / WINTER 2012, ISSUE 12

Up a Notch With Emeril Lagasse
by Brandon Hernandez

Like many, my introduction to celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse came via television. As the host of “The Essence of Emeril” and “Emeril Live,” Lagasse inspired scores of viewers to “kick things up a notch” in their own kitchens, myself included.

Before happening across an episode of Lagasse building an authentic New England lobster roll, I’d been a fan of food, but never felt inclined to manipulate ingredients with my own two hands. His trademark enthusiasm for cooking was so infectious it flowed through the TV screen, inoculating me with an insatiable hunger for knowledge and the desire to create my own inventive dishes... CONTINUE READING


Innovators Series: Sam Calagione

SPRING 2013, ISSUE 13

Innovators Series: Sam Calagione
by
Carolyn Smagalski

At Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware, sunlight glistens through a window of the tasting room, spotlighting three decrepit, stainless steel vessels – remnants of the tiny, ten-gallon rack system that Sam Calagione used in 1995 when he opened the “first brewpub in the first state.” Along with Sir Hops-A-Lot, the system lingers as a soft reminder of Sam’s entrepreneurial spirit, one that began “in the naiveté of youth,” he explained.

As a legend among American craft brewers, Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione sets the bar for innovative ways of doing business. From day one, his off-centered mantra helped gain him the following of a rock star, the allegorical bad boy with enormous self-confidence – the ultimate connector, savvy with the media and oozing with appreciation for his off-centered fan base. He is their David among the Goliaths in a world of corporate globalization... CONTINUE READING


 

The Blossoming Of Ji-Biru

FALL 2013, ISSUE 14

The Blossoming Of Ji-Biru
by
Martin Thibault

In Ushiku, an hour outside Tokyo via crowded trains where people are stacked up like slices of fresh fish on a sushi counter, a microbrewer is isolating the yeast found on cherry blossom flowers in order to ferment his yearly Sakura Kobo, or cherry blossom yeast wild ale, part of the country's thriving ji-biru movement.

In Shibu Onsen, a couple miles into the mountains east of Nagano where snow macaques bathe in natural thermal pools, another brewer is walking through his rice, hop and fruit fields, planning the brewing season ahead, inspired by his crop yield.

In Kofu, where the southern point of view is dominated by the elegant giant that is Mount Fuji, yet another brewer is throwing ume plums into his 14 percent ABV barleywine in order to give his wine yeast some extra fodder... CONTINUE READING


Innovators Series: David Blossman of Abita Brewing Co.

SUMMER 2014, ISSUE 15

Innovators Series: David Blossman of Abita Brewing Co.
by
Jonathan Ingram

David Blossman president of Abita Brewing Co. has been on the cutting edge of craft brewing most of his life.

When he won his first medal for homebrewing, Blossman was below the legal drinking age in his home state of Louisiana. By time Blossman was eligible to drink legally, he had become an investor – albeit a one percent owner – in Abita Brewing, the first craft brewery in the Southeast and only the 13th in the U.S. at the time. Now age 46, he is closing in on two decades as president of Abita, the largest craft brewer in the Southeast and among the top 20 by volume on the Brewers Association list... CONTINUE READING


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