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Holiday/Winter 2011-2012, Issue 9

Holiday / Winter 2011-2011, Issue 9

When winter arrives, the days grow shorter and clouds roll in more often. As the shortage of light influences the mood of the season, we’re turning to… darker beers.

Whether in the friendly confines of Fairfax, Va., where our reviews are usually conducted, or in sunny San Diego, where BC convened a special tasting to salute that city’s boom in craft brewing, our experts have been tasting and reporting on many a porter and stout.

It’s a tribute to beer’s seemingly infinite possibilities that so many different and truly engaging brews have emerged from these fundamental styles. A nod also goes out to the craft segment, which never seems to run out of enticing new ingredients, recipes and methods.

In all, our experts have judged a total of 17 beers, including a couple winter warmers like barleywine and some hoppy San Diego specials, because that’s what we do best. Seek out some of the finest beers available and provide the details on what makes them desirable, really desirable or “just gotta find one.”

In this latter vein, our Beers of the Year once again identify those worth making an extra effort to get acquainted with. Ace writer Bob Townsend starts with the scores from our Beer Reviews and then takes you into the stories behind the select seven beers that earned “World Class” status over the course of the last four issues.

As we celebrate BC’s second anniversary, almost all of our tasting efforts have been directed by Charlie Gow. Returning to his home town of San Diego from his current abode in Fairfax, in this issue our beer judge in residence has ventured into “Beer Travels With Charlie.” We think our readers will further recognize the passion, knowledge and skill Charlie brings to Beer Connoisseur.

Visiting San Diego was also an opportunity to call on Brandon Hernandez, one of our hardest working and most insightful contributors. Brandon helped judge the San Diego beers and highlighted the gastronomic delights of his home town.

Speaking of “gotta find one,” BC has turned its eye toward the beer distribution question.  Craft is here to stay – downturns like the mid-1990’s are a thing of the past – but how the industry goes forward to serve its customers remains a dynamic story due to, of all things, increasing demand. In reporting on this story, it became clear to me the landscape is shifting due to the emergence of national and regional craft brewers – as well as the purchase of craft brands by the major brewers.

Before craft’s ascendance, there were imports that helped promote the idea beers could be flavorful and diverse in style. In this issue, we introduce the European Report with an eye toward a sharper focus on the countries forming the cradle of beer. This special section includes the news, the new brews and the people and breweries behind imports found on the shelves and in the tap lines. We thank the importers who are participating and trust that the readers will find the additional insights and information from some of the best beer writers in the world useful.

Our other regular departments are also on tap, delving into such stories as beer cocktails; a visit to one of the stars of the brewing scene in the Midwest; what’s new and different in the fabulous restaurant world of New York; and two unique beer styles of the winter season.

In all, we’re packing more beers into our second anniversary edition than any previous issue of your favorite beer magazine.

Here’s to growth and good beer!

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