The Year in Craft Beer - Top 10 Craft Beer Trends of 2011

31 December 2011

Every year on December 31st we count down everything from the top-100 Music Videos to the 25 most shocking moments caught on camera….so I started thinking, “why not craft beer?”  While we all know that everything from Beyonce to Beiber will grab first place on MTV’s countdown, and that Dick Clarke will have us glued to the crystal ball in Times Square at midnight, I thought we might all enjoy a quick peek back at the stories and events that shaped craft beer locally & nationally in 2011…and no worries…I’ll keep it brief so you’re done reading before Dick drops the ball.

10.  Head EAST Young Man…
We followed along as some of the largest small craft breweries on the west coast started hunting down east coast locations.  The New Belgium Fat Tire bicycle went missing on the label, and as it turns out it was because they rode it to the east coast in search of a new multi-million dollar brewing facility.  Will it be Philly, Muskegon or Asheville NC (like everyone else)…and when will they distribute to PA?  Only 2012 will tell.

Weeks before the New Belgium search began, Sierra Nevada made big news with their announcement that Ken Grossman was seeking a location for a $4-million East Coast Brewing Facility.  Again we watched as cities and states were ruled in and ruled out….would it be Alcoa TN or Asheville, NC?  Only Ken’s hairdresser knows for sure.

And finally we watch more and more craft breweries expand their footprint to the east, most notably & recently…Kona Brewing expanding into PA….good news for those of us on the east coast.

9. Buy Me…

Certainly the granddaddy of all buyouts in 2011 was the battle that raged between SAB-Miller & Foster’s over the hostile and not so hostile buy out of Foster’s.  Granted this didn’t compare to the $52-billion InBev/Anheuser-Busch deal in 2008, but it was no chump change at just over $10 Billion.

And who could forget the March 2011 buyout of Goose Island Beer by Anheuser-Busch for $40-million (followed by the Greg Hall urination departure.)  Quite a contrast in buy-outs and I suspect there are more to come in 2012.

8. Litigation Not Collaboration…
It was interesting to see what we as craft beer lover consider “one big happy family,” have some family spats in 2011.  Sadly, I think we forget that craft beer is and needs to be a business first and foremost, and a family perhaps a close 2nd.

Our local breweries were not immune as we saw Troegs file a cease & desist letter with Fegley’s Brew Works  over the use of the Elf on Rude Elf’s Reserve (because of it’s similarities to their Mad Elf.)  Fortunately after trading press releases, & much editorializing, the case was resolved in early Dec.

Not to be outdone, Boston Beer sued Anchor brewing over a former employee, Flying Dog sued the state of Michigan over the name Raging Bitch, and even Bell’s Brewery sent a letter of cease & desist to Northern Brewer over the use of the Three Hearted Ale name…All too reminiscent of the Monster v Vermonster battle from 2009 that actually helped put Rock Art on the map.  Thankfully in the end the brewing family moves forward and on to what we’d all rather see them spending their energy on….brewing great beer.

7. Moving on Up…
In a never ending juggle, we saw some pretty major moves made by some of our local and not so local brew masters.  Most notably was our very own Terry Hawbaker leaving Bullfrog Brewing in Williamsport, PA for the big city & bright lights (that’s a farmers Cabinet joke), of the Farmer’s cabinet in Philadelphia.  Rumored at first to be called “The Grain Exchange” or “The Grainery",” it turns out Terry now spends most of is time in Alexandria, VA brewing for the Farmers Cabinet at the former Shenandoah Brewery.

Locally we also saw our pal Bart Rippel leave the Riverhouse Brewpub, Leo Bongiorno leave Shawnee Craft, and Guy Hagner move on from Berwick Brewing to land at the new Susquehanna Brewing.   Nationally we saw Joe Mohrfeld leaving Odell Brewing and even the more recent move by Pizza Port’s multi-GABF award winning Jeff Bagby to the a new startup.

6. Share and Share Alike…

This may deserve to be higher than Number 6, but it’s been very entertaining to watch the craft beer market share continue to rise, up 15% by dollar sales in just the first half of 2011, and up 14% by volume, the craft beer juggernaut continues to march forward.  We’ll have the final 2011 numbers in a few weeks, and I suspect the trend will increase even more.

Quite frankly the craft beer growth has been phenomenal, but don’t think the big guys haven’t noticed….watch as the trend for macro breweries building out (or buying) craft beer line-ups continues in 2012.

5.  Lawmakers dive into the beer…
It’s always amazing to see how lawmakers continue to be involved with alcohol…now you can certainly fill in your own drunken senator joke here, but 2011 was an amazing year for state legislatures putting their hands into the beer biz.  Most notably, especially for those of us in PA, is the ongoing (never ending) debate to privatize or not privatize the state’s beer, wine & liquor sales.  This debate raged in 2011 and I’m sad to say I’m doubtful we’ll see an end any time soon.

Also worth mentioning is the Jester King v Texas (No More Beer in Texas) story, the Wisconsin Three-Tier debate and even the $3.75 million dollar incentives offered up to Sierra Nevada in Asheville, NC.

Sad to say, but I suspect the more our lawmakers realize the income potential, the more they will embrace laws that help the small craft breweries; unfortunately I suspect that embrace will also include one hand in their pockets.

4. STOP…Collaborate and Listen….
If 2011 is to be remembered for it’s legislation and litigation

, let us be sure to bathe in the warm glow of the 2011 collaboration beers we saw hitting the streets.  From an east-coast / west-coast standpoint, I have to admit I loved seeing our pals Mitch Steele and John Trogner get together with Kevin Shepard & Jason Fields to brew Stone/Troegs Cherry Chocolate Stout.  This to me was like witnessing Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin getting together for a live concert in my back yard.  The beer was wonderful and the connection Troegs & Stone made will live on I’m sure.

I will admit that unless Mitch isn’t coming clean on this one, he and Stone Brewing managed to collaborate on a beer in 2011 with everyone but perhaps Justin Beiber.  From the Alchemist to Portsmouth, the list is long and also includes Stone co-brews with Ninkasi, Fat Heads, Bear Republic, Pizza Port, Green Flash, Victory, Dogfish Head, 21st Amendment, Firestone Walker, Elysian, The Bruery, Kona and even Ishii…and yes I’m sure I missed a few.

Other non-Stone co-brews in 2011 included Troegs/Fatheads test batch, the upcoming Farmers Cabinet /Stillwater Artisanal Wabash Cannonball, Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada Life & Limb, Terrapin/Shmaltz Reunion, Project Venus and WAY too many others to even list.

It’s been a year for combining talents, creating new beer styles, making connections and just plain having fun brewing, and I for one hope that trend continues in 2012.

image3. MMMMMHop & Other Assorted Sillies…. 
What top 10 list would be complete without including the Silly Beer Stories of 2011.  Who could forget that the band Hanson decided to create a beer called MmmHop, or that singer Adele finds North American beer unacceptable?  Who would want to forget that in addition to the internet, most of the free world, and likely portions of Mars, Google now owns a beer called Urkontinent (Brewed with DFH).

Honorable mentions certainly go to Tim Tebow TeBrew & Tsingtao/Miami Heat…..BUT Perhaps my favorite of the year would have to be the story of Boner Beer Founders suing CFO Wang over the miss-use of funds from Van der Bonerbosch.  Just read that headline to yourself three or four times…it has “win” written all over it.

2. Stand back while I expand….
I’ve personally been amazed at all of the stories of craft beer expansion going on in 2011.  There are way too many to mention but we should highlight, Lion Brewery’s expansion, Bell’s Brewery, The Bruery expansion, Lagunitas new brewhouse disaster, Allagash expansion, Sly Fox’s expansion, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Sweetwater, DuClaw…even our very own Yuengling expanded.  This is definitely not an all-inclusive list and there and hundreds of other breweries and millions of other dollars being invested in the name of increased brewing capacity in the small craft beer market.  What better testimony as to what great craft beer “stuff” we can expect in 2012.

1. Check out My New Brewery!
It was an amazing year for new craft breweries opening their doors in 2011.  Not since the early 1900’s in pre-prohibition days has the US seen so many craft & regional breweries, and it’s been an amazing ride watching them all open.

We’ve watched some small breweries get their start in 2011 like Purple Healer, Marley's, Turkey Hill, South County, Riverhouse, Boxcar Brewing Millbock Brewing, Helltown, Yorkholo, Full Pint, Prism, Beaver Brewing, 3 Guys & a Beer’d, Dingle Brewing, Hijinx Brewing,  Liquid Hero, Neshaminy Creek, Swashbuckler…and WAY to many others to even mention.

So what stands out most in 2011?  I’ll admit my local-bias up front, but most notable for me are three:  First it is hard to ignore just how amazing the new Troegs Hershey facility is.  What we have affectionately named “T2” is quite frankly amazing, and with few exceptions, T2 has to be one of the most well designed craft breweries I’ve had the pleasure to visit.  Perhaps it’s the 100bbl Braukon brewhouse, the dedicated Scratch Beer system, the well organized & exposed stainless steel pipes, or just the massive wooden bar & family style table…whatever the case T2 will rock your craft-brewing-world.  In case you missed the T2-boat here, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Part 4 or Part 5 of my visit!

I’m also excited to mention the soon-to-be-open Susquehanna Brewing Co in Pittston, PA.  We brought you first news of Susquehanna back in Feb., news of Jaime Jurado signing on as Operating Partner & Master Brewer, and even news of Guy Hagner joining the team…and while the doors are not officially open, I suspect we’ll see their new 50bbl Braukon system pumping out beer very soon.

On the opposite end of the financial scale, it’s been an amazing ride watching Mark Lehman and Chris Miller from Breaker Brewing work their butts off to open their new brewing facility & brewpub on Northampton St in Wilkes-Barre Twp.  These guys have been amazing in their resourcefulness and amazing in their sheer persistence to build out their brewery.  It’s been and continues to be a massive undertaking for two guys to build a brewery one nail at a time, but I’m very happy to report that with the help of family members and friends, I’m confident we’ll all sit and raise a pint at their new facility in 2012.

Should Old Acquaintance NOT Be Forgot
2011 has been quite a year, and quite a ride for me personally. has seen incredible growth, and the WILK Friday BeerBuzz with my radio family and guests, continues to be an amazing experience.  What beer story will stand out most for me in 2011?  Quite simply, it would have to be the people.  I’ve had a chance to meet many of you in 2011, most over a beer (and perhaps some over a few beers,) but what sticks in my head most is the passion and the energy you all share for craft beer.  In the end, 2011 will be a year of of great craft beer and great craft beer stories, but mostly a story of great people.  We started this adventure back in 2007 with one goal in mind, and as we say adieu to 2011, I promise most of all in 2012 that I will continue my promise to “bring good beers and good people together…”  Cheers 2011!


Farmers Cabinet Opening NEW Brewery & City’s Largest Beer Hall (85+ taps) on Spring Garden St. in Philly

No this isn’t the original announcement we posted back when the Farmer’s Cabinet opened at 113 Walnut St in Philly….THIS is new.  The owners of the Farmer’s Cabinet will be opening a new facility at 600 Spring Garden Rd in a 3-Story former bank building.  Looks like our pal Terry Hawbaker MAY be getting that brewery in Philadelphia that he was looking for (no word on what, if anything this means for the Alexandria, VA facility Terry is currently brewing in.) 

Plans for the new building include not only a third floor brewery & distillery (targeted for a Fall 2012 opening), but a 1st floor beer hall featuring 85+ beers on tap and 30-foot ceilings.  No word on the new name, but it looks like the beer hall portion of the building will be open in a few months, and with easy access from Rt 95 & the Schuylkill Exp, it should be a great destination for non-Philly beer lovers too….so stay tuned.


Kona Brewing Co To Distribute in PA (Longboard, Fire Rock, Koko)

imageWe’ve always enjoyed Kona Brewing beers, and I can still remember the first Fire Rock Pale Ale a friend brought home for us to enjoy, but Hawaii has always been a little out of reach.  Jump forward to 2011, mix in the Craft Brewers Alliance (Kona, Widmer, Redhook) and the fact that some Kona beers are now packaged in cans, and you have a great prescription to bring Kona Beers to PA, NJ & DE.  Beginning in about 2-weeks (Jan 12, 2012) Kona will begin distributing Longboard Island Lager, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Koko Brown (the 1st beer in their Aloha Series) in the lovely state of PA.

For the full press release:


Mikkeller / Grass Roots - Wheat is the New Hops IPA

You’ve heard that pink is the new black, but I’ll bet you haven’t heard it in beer terms…so this morning Mikkeller is bringing us Wheat is the New Hops IPA (11.2oz bottles).  Brewed & bottled @ De Proef by Mikkeller & Grass Roots, this “new” IPA uses wheat malt in addition to barley (no real shocker there), but with a little twist this brew uses Brett yeast to get to the 6% ABV. 


Dogfish Head 120-Min IPA DRAFT Hits NEPA

imageWe saw a number of cases/bottles hit NEPA a few months ago and now it looks like the kegs have finally caught up and are arriving at our local bars.  I’ve had a few people reporting in and I even had a glass myself last night and it is BIG.  I’ll keep updating this list as more people report but while it lasts Dogfish Head 120-Min IPA DRAFT can be found at:

Elmer Sudds, Wilkes-Barre, PA
AuRants, Duryea PA
Arena Bar & Grill Wilkes-Barre, PA (4PM Tapping 12/31)


Stone Double Dry-Hopped Cali-Belgique IPA

imageHere’s one of those kegs that you just have to publish in the name of “amazing creative on-off beers that we’re not likely to see outside of Escondido, CA.”  Up today is Double Dry-Hopped Cali-Belgique IPA (6.9% ABV).  Buy your tickets or pack your car now and head to Cali to try this one…


WILK Friday BeerBuzz–30 Dec 2011 Philadelphia Brewing Co PA Pale Ale w/John Rehm–The Video

30 December 2011


WILK Friday BeerBuzz–30 Dec 2011 Philadelphia Brewing Co PA Pale Ale with John Rehm

WILKFridayBeerbuzz2XmasThe holidays are always a special time, and the craft beer industry is no different.  We toast our friends and family, we share our beverages, and in a holiday tradition, we always try to think locally, buy locally and drink locally.  We’ve supported our local breweries over the last few weeks with Penn Brewery, Breaker Brewing Co and this week I wanted to end the year on that same note.

wilkToday we chose Philadelphia Brewing Co Pennsylvania Pale Ale as our beer of the week.  Pennsylvania Pale Ale, or as many call it PA Pale Ale or even PPA is a great easy drinking LOCAL Pale Ale.  This great American Pale Ale is brewed just down the pike in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.  Philadelphia Brewing Co is in a brewery that dates back to 1885 (Weisbrod & Hess Oriental brewing) and it was re-opened in 2001 by Bill & Nancy Barton.  One of the things I really love about Philly Brewing Co is their commitment to supporting the local community.  From their support of local farming to brew Harvest from the Hood, to their support of XPN radio with their Broadcaster Brown, PBC is a local brewery, heavily involved with their local community…and I think that speaks well of any brewery.

It was very exciting to have Chief Brewer John Rehm join us to sample PA Pale Ale.  John gave us some great insight about what goes into brewing this citrusy-hopped pale ale, and also explained how it gets that wonderfully balanced flavor.  John also talked about how the brewery was designed to be environmentally friendly and even how PBC has been recognized and being one of the top 5 sustainable breweries.

Be sure to check out Philadelphia Brewing Co Pennsylvania Pale Ale (or as I like to call it Philly Brewing PPA) for yourself.  This is a great Pale Ale and one that is brewed locally.


to John Rehm from Philadelphia Brewing Co, Nancy, John & Joe for yet another fun Friday. 

The Friday BeerBuzz…bringing good beers and good people together.

As always you can check out the video on-line at the WILK Friday BeerBuzz page by clicking HERE.


Oskar Blues - Deviant Dale’s IPA

I brought you a peek at the Oskar Blues label mock-up for Deviant Dale’s IPA, and after seeing it win a Silver @ GABF 2011 in the American-style IPA category, it’s no surprise to see it finally hitting the streets as what appears to be a regular in their lineup.  Deviant Dale’s will be packaged in kegs & 16oz cans and come in at 8% ABV.  The can is brown and the logo at the top says “Let’s sling a little Mud, girl sippin’ on a tall-boy.” and I really love that “RAD” is in capital letters in the word ColoRADo on the label…and at 8% BV I think this one sounds RAD.  This beer hits the shelves in March 2012!


Flying Fish - Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale w/Honey Arriving March 12th


Here’s your first peek at the 8th release in the Flying Fish limited Exit Series of beers based on exits of the NJ Turnpike.  Up today we have Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale (Belgian-style beer brewed with chestnuts.)  Exit 8 is actually the Monroe Township / Highstown Exit so the big 8.3% ABV & 750ml bottle is probably appropriate.  The label indicates that Exit 8 is a prime agricultural area in NJ and this beer was brewed to celebrate that tradition as well as the chestnut itself.  Exit 8 uses Mt Rainier, Chinook, Fuggles & Columbus hops to balance out the malty nutty flavors of this “hybrid Belgian-style brown ale.”
Update 1/4/2012:  Looks like they added the word “Honey” to the label.

Update 3/9/2012:  Press release from Flying Fish…

Bottles finally arrived and we’re shipping to our wholesalers so this beer should be hitting stores in the next week or 2.

This long-delayed eighth stop on our multi-year trip to explore New Jersey though its beer and culture brings us to, coincidentally, Exit 8 and celebrates what puts the “Garden” in Garden State.

Did you know that New Jersey has more than 9,800 farms covering 790,000 acres? We’re in the top four nationally in blueberries, cranberries, spinach, peaches, bell peppers and head lettuce produced. Not bad for the most densely populate state. To celebrate Exit 8, one of our big farming areas, we’ve brewed a beer that uses a lost local ingredient chestnuts – and a popular current one-two varieties of local honey.

This full-bodied hybrid Belgian-style brown ale brings forward a nutty character from the chestnuts, accented by the flavors of honey, roasted barley and oat flakes There’s a nice spiciness from the Mt. Rainier hops while the Chinooks add a touch of pine. Fuggles and Columbus round out the hop profile.

Exit 8 pairs perfectly with hearty foods like roast pork, sausages or a nice aged gouda.


Appalachian Brewing Co 2012 Specialty Release Dates

image2012 Specialty Beer Release Dates

January | Zoigl Star Lager | Releasing January 6, 2012
February | Outta Focus 2XIPA | Previewing January 31, 2012 | Releasing February 3, 2012
March | Celtic Knot Red Ale | Previewing February 28, 2012 | Releasing March 2, 2012
April | Pennypacker Porter | Previewing April 3, 2012 | Releasing April 6, 2012
May | Anniversary Maibock | Previewing May 1, 2012 | Releasing May 4, 2012
June | Hinterland Hefe Weizen | Previewing June 5, 2012 | Releasing June 8, 2012
Special | Major Hops | Releasing June 21, 2012
July | Dom Blonde Kolsch | Previewing July 3, 2012 | Releasing July 6, 2012
August | Kipona Fest | Previewing July 31, 2012 | Releasing August 3, 2012
September | Peregrine Pilsner | Previewing September 4, 2012 | Releasing September 7, 2012
September | Hinterland Hefe Weizen | Previewing September 13, 2012 | Releasing September 16, 2012
October | Batch No. 666 | Previewing October 2, 2012 | Releasing October 5, 2012
November | Grinnin' Grizzly Spiced Ale | Previewing October 30, 2012 | Releasing November 2, 2012
Special | Mad Cameron Belgian Wit | Releasing November 15, 2012
December | Volks Weizenbock | Previewing November 27, 2012 | Releasing November 30, 2012

2012 Bottled Specialty Release
February | Outta Focus 2XIPA - 22 oz | Releasing Jan. 27, 2012
March | Susquehanna Stout 12/Espresso Stout 22 oz | Releasing March 2, 2012
May | Anniversary Maibock - 22 oz | Releasing April 27, 2012
August | Kipona Fest - 12 oz | Releasing July 27, 2012
October | Batch No. 666 - 22 oz | Releasing September 28, 2012
November | Grinnin' Grizzly Spiced Ale - 12 oz | Releasing October 26, 2012
December | Volks Weizenbock - 22 oz | Releasing November 23, 2012


Widmer–Series 924 Marionberry Hibiscus Gose

imageHere’s a funny  label coming out of Widmer Brothers called Marionberry Hibiscus Gose…ale brewed with coriander & with marionberries & hibiscus added.  Yes there is such a thing as Marionberries and no it doesn’t have anything to do with former mayor Marion Barry.image  Look for this in 12oz bottles & kegs so far and the ABV will be 5.5%.


Lagunitas - Waldo’s Special Ale


It’s not much to look at, but here’s a new keg package from Lagunitas called Waldo’s Special Ale.  It looks to be a “seasonal limited release” but no details beyond that so far.  Tis beer was previously released as Waldo’s 420 & Waldo’s Special Ale which were both a 9.2% ABV Double IPA, so that is likely what it is.


12-Days of Barleywine With Yards Brewery in Philly

29 December 2011

imageI just heard from my pal Steve Mashington @ Yard’s Brewery and I’m excited to announce that Yards Brewery will be holding the 12-days of Barleywine & local Philly establishment starting New Years Eve (12/31).  Details from Steve:

Philadelphia, PA — On the 1st day of barleywine, my true love gave to me….11 more days of barleywine!  That’s the theme for Yards Brewing Company in 2012 as they get things started with a bang.  In late 2009 a few Yards employees came up with the incredibly terrible, awesome idea of releasing their English-style Barleywine, Olde Bartholomew, with 10 days of cask-conditioned firkins.  Despite better judgment, the gents pulled it off and had a rousing good time with local beer fans.  Elbows were bent, memories were made and the Hulmeville Inn won another stupid bet. 

Flash forward to late 2011 and the Yards folks are at again.  Sticking with the theme of terrible, awesome ideas they have elected to stretch it out to 12 days.  That’s right, 12 days of cask-conditioned Olde Bartholomew.  What better way to kick off the new year and resolutions?  Why not make a resolution that you will enjoy?  Have a glass of barleywine. 

Starting December 31, 2012 at the Dawson Street Pub in Manayunk, Yards founder Tom Kehoe will be on hand to tap the 1st firkin of Olde Bartholomew from the 2011 batch.  Going back to his routes (Dawson St. also tapped the first keg of Yards in 1995) is always a thrill for Kehoe.  “We first crafted Olde Bartholomew back in 1996.  It’s exciting to revive this beer and I could not think of a better place to start things off than Dawson Street.”, says Kehoe. 

From there the wild ride jumps to South Philly in time for the annual Mummers parade where the crew takes their wares to the Devils Den.  With a fireplace and a glass of barleywine, you can prep for the parade as you recover from your New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Each day the Yards crew will hit one of the venerable establishments listed below.  There will be special beers at each location, including a few surprises (there may still be some 2009 Olde Bartholomew somewhere…) and possibly even Olde Bart himself may make an appearance.  Stop by and say hi to Tom and the guys as they embark on yet another terrible awesome adventure. 

12/31/11 – Dawson St. Pub, Manayunk –7pm

1/1/12 – Devils Den, Philadelphia – 1pmish

1/2/12 – Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia – All day

1/3/12 – Watkins Drinkery, Philadelphia – 7pm

1/4/12 – Standard Tap, Philadelphia – 6pm

1/5/12 – Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville – 7pm

1/6/12 – Good Dog Bar – Philadelphia – 7pm

1/7/12 – Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant, Philadelphia – 4pm

1/8/12 – Varga Bar, Philadelphia – 5pm

1/9/12 – Kite and Key, Philadelphia – 7pm

1/10/12 – Drafting Room, Exton – 7pm

1/11/12 – Barcade, Philadelphia – 6pm


Dogfish Head - Positive Contact Cider-Beer Hybrid Deltron 3030 Coming May 2012–Dan The Automator UPDATE

imageDogfish Head Brewery announced today that they are releasing a limited-release brewpub-exclusive keg-only beer called Positive Contact.  This 8% ABV brew is a cider/beer hybrid that is loosely based on a Belgian Wit-style and come in in at a sweet 19 IBU.  Sam & Ben from Eatly brewed this beer using 200 lbs. of hand-pressed Organic Fuji Apple Cider, Cilantro & dried cayenne pepper.  This unique list of ingredients is complimented by a  with a 50% Wheat 50% Barley grain bill with just a small portion of Slow Roasted Farrow grain from Anson Mills.  As if all of this was not enough, Sam added in a new hop strain called Calypso and fermented it with Belgian Wit yeast.  Positive Contact was tapped on 12/26 and will not be sold in growlers.

(Milton, DE) – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Deltron 3030′s Dan the Automator have teamed up to create Positive Contact, a hybrid of beer and cider based on Dan’s favorite ingredients and Dogfish Head’s innovative brewing practices.

Deltron 3030 is an adventurous hip-hop collaboration between Dan and Del the Funkee Homosapien. Deltron’s self-titled debut album, released in 2000, was an instant classic and is included on many hip-hop best-of lists. It got an 8/10 rating on NME, which called it “a crazed sci-fi journey to Planet B.S. that takes myriad detours around the galaxy. The most purely enjoyable hip-hop album of 2000.”

Over a decade in the making, the new Deltron 3030 album is set to drop this spring, and Positive Contact was brewed to celebrate the release.

Named after a key track on the first album, Positive Contact is a 9% ABV hybrid of beer and cider brewed with wood-pressed Fuji apples, roasted farro, a handful of cayenne peppers and a late dose of fresh cilantro. This sweet-and-sour Belgian-ish brew is a light straw color with fruity, cider-like notes. The cayenne and alcohol give it a warming finish.

The beer will be released in a dynamic box set of six 750-ml champagne bottles, with a 10-inch vinyl EP of four new Deltron 3030 remixes created exclusively for this project, and a list of Deltron 3030-inspired recipes from a small group of renowned chefs (see below). Invite some friends over, rock the album, drink the beer and whip up a multi-course meal. It’s a house party in a box.

Positive Contact box sets will be released in May throughout Dogfish Head’s distribution network, in accordance with local and state laws. Stay tuned.

Update 3/6/2012 via MtvHive:

As the world learned last month, Deltron beer is here! Teaming up with the brewmasters at Dogfish Head, Deltron’s producer extraordinaire Dan the Automator has hand-crafted a cider ale, appropriately named “Positive Contact,” that will be packaged with a lavish reissue of the Deltron 3030 album in May that’s being pitched as “a house party in a box.” Deltron 3030 and a satisfied palate? Sign us up. So ahead of the imminent futuristic hip-hop imbibing sessions, Hive caught up with Automator about the origins of the Deltron beer, the direction of the now completed and long awaited second Deltron album (called Deltron Event II, due out this summer), and a rundown of the Deltron cast’s favorite brews.

How did the opportunity to create a Deltron beer come about?

The guy who owns Dogfish Head is a fan of music and the music we do and has previously done editions with the Miles Davis estate and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. We have certain connections in the same circle, and I deal with a lot of food people, and we thought it’d be really fun to do something to commemorate the record.

So were you very hands-on in creating the flavor of the beer?

Absolutely. Sam Calagione [Dogfish's founder] has the restaurant he shares with Mario Batali in New York inside Eataly — they have a brew pub or like, a brew station there. So we went in there and experimented with a bunch of various ingredients. First they emailed and asked me about the kind of beers I like, the flavors I like, which grains, vegetables and herbs I like. So then Sam brought a supply of that stuff to New York and did a series of muddling together flavors; it’s more like infusing beer with flavors. Then we took the successful ideas and he combined them like an expert beer maker does.

The press release is touting the Deltron beer as being “brewed with wood-pressed Fuji apples, roasted farro, a handful of cayenne peppers and a late dose of fresh cilantro.” Which ingredients were the least successful tasting though?

There was a few! Anything with onions in it didn’t work very well! We tried nutmeg which just didn’t work for what we wanted. We went through about 30 or 40 ingredients and it was generally more a case of finding out what did work. We thought jalapeño would work well but cayenne worked better and the farro came out of left field. The thing with the flavors is one flavor can over encompass all the others. It’s very scientific and everything has to blend. Farro was the dark horse; it didn’t really do much as far as tasting but it did help overall. And surprisingly saffron did not work very well.

It’s described as a cider ale. Is it really sweet?

Yes, it’s a cider ale, but it’
s not specifically sweet. We started out with an ale but really liked the Fuji apple flavor, so that leaned it a little towards the cider ale side.

Is Deltron’s beer better than Miles Davis or Eddie Vedder’s beer?

Of course!

What beer would the other characters in the Deltron project drink?

First of all, Del likes fermented ale and on this [new] record he speaks about it, so that’s him. As far as Kid Koala, he’s from Canada so I’m gonna go with Molson even though I don’t know any better.

What about some of the other artists who appeared on Deltron 3030?
How about Prince Paul?

Well he’s not a drinker, so we’re gonna have to go with the Kaliber, a non-alcoholic beer.

Damon Albarn?

h, Damon! I find him to be most close to a brandy man, so brandy is apple, so a cider ale might be a good bet for him.

And Sean Lennon?

Sean, you know, having a little bit of Japanese lineage and vibe, I’m gonna go with the Hitachino, a white ale.

What other rappers do you think would come up with a great bespoke beer?

I would say this: Down south there’s a lot of good soul food and BBQ going on and that just seems akin to what you’d have a good beer with, so someone from that region. Andre 3000 is down there but he might be more of a health nut so I’m not sure what he’d come up with. But Big Boi? I’m sure he’d enjoy a good beer with his BBQ. The New Yorkers are a little more artisinal, but down South the heat and the weather matches well with the beer.

What food pairs well with the Deltron beer then?

Actually, part of this release package is going to be a bunch of my chef friends making recipes for my beer. They’re still coming in, so I don’t have them all in front of me, but David Chang, who has Momofuko, he brought in a chicken recipe, and Mario Batali brought in some ricotta and zucchini floret kinda things to go with the beer.

Is the new Deltron album finished?

We are missing two real small bits, but other than that, yes.

How does it differ from the first one?

It’s better. It’s a push forwards. The sounds grew, but a lot of the same people are on the record. I’m really excited about it, actually. Deltron’s kind of a labor of love, because it’s not going for that number one spot. It’s about making a really cool record and I think we’ve gotten there.

Can you reveal the guest artists on the new album?

I can but it just takes away all the fun, doesn’t it? You know, I think I’m not going to …but I think people will be pleasantly surprised.

As far at the Deltron story goes, does the new Deltron album pick up from where the first one left off?

Deltron essentially starts in the year 3030, and this one picks up about ten years later. Politically speaking, there’s certain parallels between what goes on in today’s society and what goes on there — it’s a little bit of a mirror. The world is a little different there but it’s going through a similar time with similar issues.


Allagash - New 240bbl Fermenters Have Arrived

imageimageJust thought you’d all want a peek at the installation of Allagash Brewing’s new 240bbl fermenters being craned & Welded into place today.  This is a portion of the significant expansion Allagash is undergoing, and I’ll be excited to see the results.


Iron Hill Chestnut Hill First Pour Jan 4th @ 4PM

imageThe first ceremonial pour at the new Iron Hill Chestnut Hill Location (8400 Germantown Ave) will take place at 4PM on Jan 4th, 2012, with the new location being open to the public at 5PM.  More details from Iron Hill:


Bell’s Hopslam 2012 Release Dates UPDATE!

28 December 2011

imageLooks like Larry Bell & the guys at Bell’s have finally announced the release dates for Hopslam 2012…and it looks like they will be a little later than normal.  Look for Draft on Jan 25th and Bottles on Feb 8th.  Full details from Bells and be sure to see the additional 12/30 update below from Larry Bell (Click on “Read More”) :


Spoetzl / Shiner Ruby Redbird Now in 24oz Bottles (Oktoberfest Too!)

Shiner Ruby Redbird was one of my favorite new summer brews that past year, (and one of my most popular posts) so it’s exciting to see our pal Jimmy Mauric (Master brewer @ Shiner) releasing Ruby Redbird AND Oktoberfest in 24oz bottles for 2012.  Cheers Jimmy!


WILK Friday BeerBuzz–30 Dec 2011 The Teaser

WILKFridayBeerbuzz2XmasWe had a fun and festive pre-Christmas show last week, and it was lots of fun welcoming Andy Rich, Head Brewer from Penn Brewery, on to the show to help us sample St. Nikolaus Bock.  This is a wonderfully malty seasonal lager that will be a perfect beer to toast in the holiday season with family & friends….so be sure to get out and try some for yourself.

So what will we be sampling this week? Hint: The name of the beer includes the name of the brewery of a recent Friday BeerBuzz guest, and of course it’s another local brewery & brew master!

Tune in at 8:30AM and see what beer we sample on the Friday BeerBuzz on WILK…bringing good beers and good people together. (103.1FM or


Samuel Adams - B’Austin Ale


Here’s another interesting new keg label coming from Jim Koch & the guys @ Boston Beer called B’Austin Ale.  No details on this one yet so stay tuned.


White Birch - Apprentice Series AKU & Extra Special Bitter

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Here are two more new brews coming out of White Birch Brewing in Hooksett, NH.  Up first is another apprentice Series beer called AKU.  This “California Common Inspired Ale” was brewed by Geoff Burgess.  AKU stands for All Kinds United in this German Lager American Ale hybrid (5.4% ANB 22oz 1200 Bottles).  Up next is Extra Special Bitter, White Birch’s play on a traditional English ESB (5.2% ABV, 22oz, 1200 bottles)


Miller Lite - Punch Top Can

Here’s one of the innovations Tom Long eluded to in the WSJ article…much like the Grip Can, this new Punch Top Can allows you to pop the traditional opening in the can and also use a key or similar object to punch a second tab opening to allow air into the can for a smoother pour.  Look for this new Punch Top to extend beyond this 12oz can.


Goose Island–Lolita, Bourbon County Stout & Gavin & John’s Old Town Yard

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Two new keg labels tonight for tow BIG beers  from Goose Island Brewing…..Lolita (Ale aged with raspberries & aged in wine barrels—9% ABV) & Bourbon County Stout (Stout aged in bourbon barrels—14.5% ABV).  I’ve also added in another Goose Island label approved today called Gavin & John’s Old Town Yard.



Anheuser Busch / Budweiser Major League Baseball 12oz Cans

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Here are the first four from a series of new 12oz cans coming out of Anheuser Busch / Budweiser to commemorate Major League Baseball teams.  Up today are the New York Yankees, 50th Anniversary New York Mets, All Star Game Kansas City Royals & San Diego Padres….
Update 12/28:  Label approvals today for Major League Baseball, the Twins, Oakland A’s, Miami, St Louis (2011 World Series Champions), Cubs, Texas, Angels, Astros, Rays & Phillies.  (most designs seems to also have two versions.  One stating “Brewed & canned by…” and the other saying “Beer 5% ABV…”)


Coors - Third Shift Marzen Amber Ale

imageShould be interesting to see what plans MillerCoors has for this keg label for Coors Third Shift Marzen Amber Ale…stay tuned for details


Midnight Sun - Kodiak Brown Ale CANS

Midnight Sun Brewing has always been one of my favorite stops in Anchorage, AK so it’s exciting to see Kodiak Brown Ale (5% ABV 24 IBU) being packaged in 12oz cans.  Stay tuned for more and more can releases from Midnight Sun as they continue on their “We CAN Be Green” labels.


Haandbryggeriet - ‘Dark Force Reserva


Here’s another interesting label from Haandbryggeriet called Dark Force Reserva.  This new Double Imperial Wheat Stout aged in Oak Barrels will be package din 750ml bottles and come in at 9% ABV.


Boston Beer Considering New & Better Cans With Thicker Linings for Samuel Adams

27 December 2011

imageYes that’s just MY silly mock-up, but after speaking with Jim Koch a few weeks ago on the Friday BeerBuzz, one of the topics that interested us the most was the potential for Boston Beer to follow suit with many other brewers and put Samuel Adams in a can.  Jim has long been somewhat of an opponent of canning Sam Adams because of the subtleties in hop flavor that he considers at risk, and because of concerns over BPA in the liners.  For these reasons Jim has decided to wait out the development of better can liners.

Now comes word from a Washington Post article that Jim Koch & Boston Beer may actually be working to develop a better liner for canned beer:

”Even Boston Beer, maker of Samuel Adams, is working with several manufacturers to develop cans for its products, according to its president, Jim Koch, who used to be firmly in the anti-can camp. “There will come a day,” he says, “when I will feel comfortable putting Sam Adams in a can.”

For Boston Beer’s Koch, the main problem with cans is how they affect beer’s taste. Although many brewers disagree with him, he believes that tiny tears in can linings frequently lead to metallic notes and that the plastic linings suck up delicate hop aromas. “The cans tend to absorb the floral character of the hop and, to me, dumb the hop down,” he says. In developing cans for Samuel Adams, he adds, he hopes to create thicker, denser linings that address those problems.”


Win a Bottle of Rare Mikkeller Royal Rye Wine


Troegs - Scratch # 55 DIPA TODAY 11AM!

imageToday at 11AM Troegs released Scratch # 55.  It’s a Double IPA that will be available in bottles/cases, draft & growlers at the brewery.


WILK Friday BeerBuzz

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