Southwest Brewing News April/May 2012 : Page 1
beyond a beer with N a BLE JOURNEY B E C O M E S BECOMES BLE ALE WORKS B INSIDE FRIENDS BEER NETWORKING By Bev Blackwood II ILLUSTRATION BY HANS GRANHEIM Recent years have accelerated that eer is social. It has been the end of change as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter the day pick-me-up among friends and other social media, and co-workers have been increasingly since the beginning adopted as a means to stay of recorded history. in touch with people that What has changed -and share a common interest. changed dramatically -is This is a sharp contrast to the size of the community the “olden days” of e-mail sharing beer. The advent lists, where interaction was of the Internet has changed driven by what appeared what beer we choose to buy, in your inbox. Back then, whom we drink our beers Homebrew Digest, JudgeNet with, and our relationship CODE BY BEV BLACKWOOD II and the AHA’s Tech Talk as a consumer with the breweries making the beer we enjoy. See Networking p. 6 Clockwise from top left: Noble Ale Works grain silo. Co-owner Jerry Kolby with wife Lisa and their three brewery apprentices, (from L-R) Caden, Austin, and Nolan. Noble pint hoisted high. Steve Miles and wife Karolyn at Noble’s anniversary celebration. Photos by David Mulvihill. By David Mulvihill I Event Calendar ...........................2 From the Editor ..........................3 Best of Show ..............................7 Directories & maps ................12-15 Queen of Quaff ......................... 17 State by State News Arkansas .......................8 S/C Texas .................... 19 Oklahoma ......................9 Nevada ........................20 N Mexico/SW TX .......... 10 N Texas ....................... 21 S California ................. 16 C Arizona ....................22 San Diego .................... 17 S Arizona .....................23 Austin ......................... 18 N Arizona ....................23 n an industrial park in Anaheim, Calif., owners Jerry Kolby and Steve Miles, and partner/brewer Tracy Simmons have built Noble Ale Works with blood, sweat, tears, and a bit of brewing magic. Regal Brews and Ideas “We’ll do some barrel-aged and offshoot beers, but our main focus is on getting our core beers out there and showing people what we can do,” shared Jerry Kolby, speaking about Noble’s foundation beers. They represent Noble’s style, elevated flavor profiles with prominent hop backbone. Kolby continued, “Our flagship beer, our red, is unique. Most capable breweries today do a decent IPA, but they don’t necessarily do a good red.” This was a factor in the decision to lead with the hop-forward Alpha Red . According to Miles, Alpha , signifying the first, the beginning, and of course hops, sets the stage for what Noble is about. Capturing the Honda Center account evidences one of the many accomplishments this beer has helped them achieve. Noble Pale Ale , Noble See Noble p. 4
Friends Beer Networking
Beer is social. It has been the end of the day pick-me-up among friends and co-workers since the beginning of recorded history. What has changed - and changed dramatically - is the size of the community sharing beer. The advent of the Internet has changed what beer we choose to buy, whom we drink our beers with, and our relationship as a consumer with the breweries making the beer we enjoy.
Recent years have accelerated that change as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media, have been increasingly adopted as a means to stay in touch with people that share a common interest. This is a sharp contrast to the “olden days” of e-mail lists, where interaction was driven by what appeared in your inbox. Back then, Homebrew Digest, JudgeNet and the AHA’s Tech Talk Were where people exchanged information online. “With the size limitations for daily mailing, there tended to be a natural culling of the discussion and the level of discourse was fairly high,” recalls homebrewer David Harsh. With the migration of these mailing lists to forum-based formats, it’s changed the dynamic. “Forum-based discussion requires a far greater personal investment of time to dig through every post; the design puts higher bandwidth on top of lists,” he observes. “I just don't have the time to dig through these things.”
That doesn’t mean that forum-based discussions are dead my any means. Indeed, nearly every homebrew club with its own Web site has one, in addition to the wide variety of discussions hosted within the AHA’s Web site. A slightly different spin on forums can be found on sites like Reddit. “Reddit's homebrewing forum has lots of good information for all experience levels,” notes Ryan Thomas, a beer judge and homebrewer. “The voting system keeps the ‘me too’s’ out of sight and lets the best information rise to the top.”
More than Homebrew
Allowing the Web community to evaluate and critique content has been applied not just in homebrewing, but also to beer itself. Beer Advocate and RateBeer have carved out a niche by bringing together a community that evaluates and then comments on commercial beers, even sometimes trading examples of hard-to-find regional beers with one another. The advent of smart phones and Wi-Fi access to the Internet enables a beer drinker to not only find places that feature craft beer, but also evaluate their choices before buying. Mobile applications that integrate location services, social media - such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+, etc. - into their features enable real time location of bars, beers and even your friends. “Untappd is a great tool for beer networking,” homebrewer Tyler Nodine remarks. “You can share beers you’ve enjoyed and how you rate them with friends on Untappd, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and where you’re enjoying them by utilizing Foursquare.”
Scott Metzger, owner of Freetail Brewing in San Antonio, Texas finds beer networking to be a new variation on a classic theme. “Social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, haven't really revolutionized the way we communicate with our customers, but rather just taken the same conversations we've been having for years to more modern channels that are more real-time, more efficient, more transparent, and close the physical distance between us.” But Metzger notes that it also requires finesse. “I see other businesses, who [sic] I otherwise respect and enjoy, fail miserably on the social media end because they seem to focus too much on getting any message out there.” He shakes his head, “Because the messages are void of any real content, they are just debris in the social media space.”
If Your Business is Beer
There’s a professional side to beer networks as well, with professional brewer forums on LinkedIn and the Brewers Association, where information is exchanged between brewers on a range of topics. No Label Brewery Co-owner Jennifer Royo observes, “Social media does help us find things that we need, such as equipment or getting information from another brewery going through the same kind of problem.” Ray Daniels, the founder of the Cicerone certified beer server program, has had great success using Twitter in building his program. He states, “We have created, offered and filled a class in a few hours. When you compare that to the old school method of print advertising or mailing out flyers, it literally makes your head spin.” However, achieving that kind of success isn’t as immediate as the medium. Ray notes, “It takes time and attention to build a network. A year or two years to get it to the point of really being useful.” Add to that the ongoing proliferation of technologies and you can have some real issues, as Saint Arnold’s Marketing and Events Manager Lennie Ambrose recalls, “We had to explain what Twitter was in the first newsletter we announced that we’d created an account.” But the immediacy of the medium is sometimes essential. “There is the hashtag for Divine Reserve releases,” he smiles. “It's crazy to watch that develop on Twitter and Facebook and to see people sharing info on where to get our special rare releases.”
It’s Still About the Beer
For all its modern immediacy, the social network still isn’t anything new. Groups form around the same things they always have: a homebrew shop, a homebrew club, a bar, a particular brand of beer. “[What social media provides is a] ‘network effect’ of each person's social group that reinforces preferred brands when a friend asks, ‘What beer should I try at location X?’ or ‘Where should I go for great beer near location Y?’ or ‘Look what I am tasting now and where!’” notes homebrewer Dave Odom. “It has become a significant marketing channel that enables direct relationships and awareness with consumers which bypasses constraints of traditional [media] outlets.” Indeed, that channel continues to widen as sites like beerjobber.Com seek to get craft brewers’ products directly into the hands of the consumers. Ultimately though, beer networking boils down to two things… Beer and people, enjoying one another’s company, be it in person or over the Internet. After all, beer is social.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Friends+Beer+Networking/1035841/107657/article.html.
Noble Journey Becomes Ble Ale Works
In an industrial park in Anaheim, Calif., owners Jerry Kolby and Steve Miles, and partner/brewer Tracy Simmons have built Noble Ale Works with blood, sweat, tears, and a bit of brewing magic.
Regal Brews and Ideas
“We’ll do some barrel-aged and offshoot beers, but our main focus is on getting our core beers out there and showing people what we can do,” shared Jerry Kolby, speaking about Noble’s foundation beers. They represent Noble’s style, Elevated flavor profiles with prominent hop backbone. Kolby continued, “Our flagship beer, our red, is unique. Most capable breweries today do a decent IPA, but they don’t necessarily do a good red.” This was a factor in the decision to lead with the hop-forward Alpha Red. According to Miles, Alpha, signifying the first, the beginning, and of course hops, sets the stage for what Noble is about. Capturing the Honda Center account evidences one of the many accomplishments this beer has helped them achieve. Noble Pale Ale, Noble IPA, Dark Sybian IPA, and specialty beers Knight Changer Imperial Stout and Nobility Imperial IPA complete the lineup. Simmons’ all-malt recipes utilize the best ingredients without filtering, and transfigure his ales into flavor bombs.
Getting the brewery on-line wasn’t without tribulation. Delays occurred due to various regulatory, build-out, and equipment issues. Dale Bros. Brewery assisted by allowing Simmons to brew Noble ales in their Upland brewery. “We were very fortunate that they helped us out and allowed us to brew there,” Kolby stated. The arrangement allowed them to get the tasting room open while work continued on the onsite brewery. “Twice as long and twice as much money…” Kolby continued, speaking in reference to brewery startup. Construction costs increased eightfold over the original plan, attributed to unforeseen costs, but also to upgraded appointments that give the brewery a more appealing feel.
A Grand Team
Kolby’s craft beer introduction began at Newport Beach Brewing Company. A bartender when it first opened, he became part owner and general manager in 1999. NBBC’s brewer, Kirk Roberts, was turning out award-winning beers at the time and Kolby envisioned taking things to the next level: getting a distributor, putting beer in bottles and marketing them. While this initial idea didn’t materialize, it planted inspiration.
Kolby met his business partner, Steve Miles, when Miles was retained to represent NBBC in a city rezoning lawsuit. The two became close friends. Today Miles, an environmental law attorney, homebrewer and craft beer lover, plays a key part from a business operations and legal standpoint, in assuring Noble’s continued growth and success. He recounted, “Jerry and I were always talking about doing a craft brewery… modeling it after what San Diego was doing.” In late 2008, when they decided to make it real, Kolby parted with Newport.
Roberts’ unavailability to accept the role of brewer led to their introduction and ultimate partnering with Tracy Simmons. Kolby related, “I’m blessed to have Tracy. Our palates are almost identical in what we like in beer. And, it blows me away to watch him brew. He makes things simple with the brewing process, but has great attention to detail, process, and sanitation.” He went on to explain how, unlike many brewers who rely heavily on computer control panels, gauges and dials, Simmons constantly monitors from a manual perspective, feeling the lines during transfer to gauge temperature and transfer rates, watching, inspecting, smelling and tasting, to assure correctness.
Expanding the Kingdom
After scouting locations in various municipalities, Miles and Kolby eventually outlined their plan with the Mayor of Anaheim, Curt Pringle. When Pringle showed them a location within walking distance of the Honda Center (home of the Ducks) and Angel Stadium, and offered most everything they were looking for, they found their new home. Kolby recalls the Noble journey as humbling and life changing, “A lot of driving all over the place, but, it’s been fun. The good part about it is getting out there and finding an easy sell… Put any one of our beers on tap and people really go for it!”
Kolby and Miles both feel personalized service goes a long way in building the brand following, and have misgivings about handing off distribution completely. The team is exploring the idea of maintaining current area distribution in-house and expanding into other areas through distributor channels. Plans call for maintaining growth in the Orange County and Los Angeles markets, then expanding to San Diego and points east. Noble Ales already see limited distribution in Nevada and Arizona. Aces & Ales, Las Vegas was their first out-of-state account.
Leading with their philosophy of customers first, Kolby and Miles are taking the time to find customer focused personnel that are a right fit. The crew’s personable friendliness quickly transforms visitors into welcome members of this Noble family.
A Dignified Path
Tracy Simmons’ beer roots go back to his college days. In the early ‘80s, while living in the Denver area, a college friend introduced him to Boulder Beer, Sierra Nevada and homebrewing. Impressed by Boulder Beer, Simmons experienced an epiphany upon tasting Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. “I put it to my lips and it changed my life! As soon as the hops hit my mouth, I said, “What’s that? Let’s go get [more of] that!”” After attending the first ever GABF in 1982, he was hooked on craft beer.
The next leg in his evolution came a few years later after moving to Seattle. Frequenting Redhook’s original brewery, he went from taking the daily tours to helping with tours, graining out and cleaning tanks. This unofficial apprenticeship, coupled with the beers he tasted, further stimulated his fascination with brewing. “I have a reference point in my mind of where I’d like my beers to be. I keep shooting for that. The flavors I remember, sitting on that couch next to the fire at Redhook’s Trollyman Pub, drinking their beer have stuck with me… It’s all about the final product…making phenomenal beer,” Simmons shared. He also recognizes other role models for brewing great beers and building great breweries. Rogue, Sierra Nevada, and Green Flash, and brewers Chuck Silva (Green Flash), John Maier (Rogue), Fal Allen (Redhook, Pike, Anderson Valley), and Dick Cantwell (Elysian) have inspired him.
Simmons started professionally brewing at Skewers Restaurant & Brewery in Costa Mesa, Calif. Bob Brandt, the existing brewer, was preparing to leave and open his own brewpub (Red Car Brewery & Restaurant in Torrance). Simmons recounted his training under Brandt’s tutelage, “I went from being a homebrewer right into a 10-barrel brewery. Luckily, I had 10 batches of beer to try and learn everything I could.” Simmons later moved on to Bayhawk Ales where his skills were honed on a larger scale under the direction of Karl Zappa. Brewing stints at Backstreet, Compass Creek and Omaha Jacks followed, before Simmons took the Noble reins.
Noble Ale Works
Noble is conveniently located north of Katella, just west of the 57 Freeway. From Katella turn NW on East Howell Ave. Take the first right at S Sinclair and wind around to the brewery, which will be on the left.
With regular hours Wednesday through Sunday, Noble is also open before, during and after the games (including Monday and Tuesday) if the Angels or Ducks are in town. Avoid the hassle of stadium parking by going for a beer before the game and walking four minutes to Anaheim Stadium or five minutes to Honda Center.
Twice Scalped: Head Hunter Wins Championship for Second time in Three Years
The monstrously hoppy, aromatic Head Hunter IPA, from North Olmsted, Ohio’s, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, won the coveted crown of Best IPA in America in the Fifth Annual National IPA Challenge. Head Hunter, brewed by Matt Cole and Mike Zoscak, battled its way to the top with 128 other hopefuls to win the crown.
“Awesome!!” texted Head Brewer Matt Cole, when informed of the win.
The National IPA Challenge (NIPAC), held each February and March, is a single elimination bracketed playoff with IPAs from around the country going head-to-head in a randomly placed order to determine which IPA is the better of two. All judges are confirmed hop lovers, with a female judge and a West Coast judge/beer lover occupying each panel of three.
The other three beers that fought their way to the Final Four in the 2012 NIPAC were: Union Jack (Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, Calif.); Flower Power (Ithaca Beer, Ithaca, N.Y.); and Full Sail IPA (Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Ore.). Head Hunter bested Flower Power in the Final Four semi-final round, and then won the championship against Union Jack in the final matchup.
Past winners of the National IPA Challenge are: 2008 - West Coast IPA (Green Flash Brewing, San Diego, Calif.); 2009 - Workhorse IPA (Laurelwood Brewing, Portland, Ore.); 2010 - Head Hunter (Fat Heads Brewery & Saloon, N. Olmsted, Ohio); and 2011 - Triple Play IPA (Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Warren, Vt.).
The next Brewing News bracketed competition is the 2012 Global Warming Open, which determines the most refreshing beer in the world and is held this June and July. For more information on this and future Brewing News competitions, visit brewingnews.com.