Southwest Brewing News April/May 2014 : Page 1
By Bev Blackwood II nce upon a time, attending a sporting event meant that a beer lover was condemned to sipping an American light lager of some kind while watching the game. However, the meteoric rise of microbreweries has seen an unprecedented influx of local beer into a wide range of sporting venues. More Than Schlitz and Giggles Regardless of the sport, at the major league level, the micros on tap tend to be the biggest players in the local market. Saint Arnold By Alex Graham See Stadiums p. 3 D From the Editor .................................. 2 NIPAC Challenge Crowns Winners .........5 Event Calendar ....................................4 Homebrew Beer Stylist .........................6 Directories & Maps .........................12-15 Nevada ..........................8 Arkansas .......................9 New Mexico ................. 10 Oklahoma .....................11 S/C/E Texas ................. 16 Austin ......................... 18 N/W Texas ................... 19 Northern Arizona ........ 20 Southern Arizona ........ 20 Central Arizona ........... 21 Southern California .....22 San Diego ....................23 owntown Las Vegas is a special place that is like no other. The world famous Fremont Street is the original Vegas and was the first paved road in town to accommodate gambling establishments even before gaming was legal. As time moved on the number of lights increased, the glitter and the glam flourished but this area became overshadowed by Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as the Las Vegas Strip. As downtown has seen its ups and downs, it is currently at an all time high. With heavy investing by Zappos founder, Tony See Triple 7 p. 5
Stadiums Sporting Craft Beer
Bev Blackwood II
Once upon a time, attending a sporting event meant that a beer lover was condemned to sipping an American light lager of some kind while watching the game. However, the meteoric rise of microbreweries has seen an unprecedented influx of local beer into a wide range of sporting venues.
More Than Schlitz and Giggles
Regardless of the sport, at the major league level, the micros on tap tend to be the biggest players in the local market. Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston has grown from a pair of kiosks at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston to the left field bar area now named for the brewery. Up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, Rahr & Sons beers can be found at Rangers Stadium as well as at the Fort Worth Cats’ minor league stadium just north of downtown. SanTan and Four Peaks Brewing in Arizona can be found during spring training in the Phoenix area, and SanTan also makes the big leagues, being poured at University of Phoenix Stadium, Sun Devil Stadium and US Airways Center. Out west in San Diego, Petco Park jumped on the craft beer bandwagon years ago, and now features taps from Alesmith, Ballast Point, Coronado, Green Flash, Karl Strauss, Lightning, Lost Abbey, Manzanita, Mission, Pizza Port, Stone, and other notable craft beers from around California and the country. Petco even enhances their local flair with a Craft Beers of San Diego concession exclusively featuring local craft beer. Up in Los Angeles, Anaheim Stadium, home to the Angels has been a more of a challenge to get into, although Hangar 24 and Bootleggers beer can be found on tap.
Craft Beer’s a Hit
If you want to get truly local, the action isn’t in the major league stadiums, it’s in the minors. As small breweries establish themselves, they ally with their local teams to get into venues where craft beer has never been served…until now. Kokernot Field in Alpine, Texas is a baseball stadium built in 1947 and is home to a professional baseball team, the Alpine Cowboys. Steve Anderson, owner of Big Bend Brewing Company states, “We sell quite a bit at the Cowboy games. Last season we sold two of our brands on draught, the Terlingua Gold and the Big Bend Hefeweizen. This year we hope to sell all five of our brands in cans at the stadium.” Similarly, Goliad Brewing Company in Goliad, Texas will sell its beer on draught in Riverside Stadium, home of the Victoria Generals baseball team in Victoria, Texas. Being the local brewing boys opened doors for them. Mark Nichols, sales and marketing representative for Goliad remarks, “We are very fortunate to have been adopted by the south Texas communities and organizations as their first local brewery. The community is taking great pride in us, as we are with them.” Being the first beer brewed in Fort Bend County opened the taps at Sugarland’s Constellation Field, home to the Sugarland Skeeters, to Fort Bend Brewing Company. Unique among beer offerings in New Mexico are the Albuquerque Isotopes (triple A farm club for the Dodgers) beers, Slammin’ Amber and Triple A Blonde, which have proven popular enough to make the jump from the ballpark to local store shelves.
Go For the Game, Stay For the Beer
Of course if a beer doesn’t sell, it won’t remain on tap, whether it is local or not. While a craft beer fills a market niche in a stadium’s lineup, more isn’t necessarily better from the stadium’s point of view. “We don't want too much inventory tied up in the same type of offering,” notes Alison Birdwell, a district manager for Aramark Sports and Entertainment. “We'd rather offer one and then another to meet our choice and variety change-up needs.” Offering something new and different at a stadium is more about marketing than encouraging craft beer exploration. She adds, “A stadium is not a place where the average fan is going to start experimenting with new brands and flavors.” Indeed, a beer at the ballpark is an enhancement to the experience, rather than a reason to attend. It’s all about making a special occasion even more memorable. Big Bend’s Steve Anderson notes it’s really not about the beer. “I am not exactly sure if being at [Kokernot Field] changes people’s perception of our beer, but there certainly is a romance in sitting in this historic stadium with our friends and neighbors on a warm summer evening and watching a baseball game while drinking a local brew,” he muses. So get out and root, root, root for the home team, and if you’re not enjoying a craft beer while you’re there, it’s a shame.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Stadiums+Sporting+Craft+Beer/1678785/203857/article.html.
Gambling On Triple 7 Brewery Is A Sure Bet
Downtown Las Vegas is a special place that is like no other. The world famous Fremont Street is the original Vegas and was the first paved road in town to accommodate gambling establishments even before gaming was legal. As time moved on the number of lights increased, the glitter and the glam flourished but this area became overshadowed by Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as the Las Vegas Strip. As downtown has seen its ups and downs, it is currently at an all time high. With heavy investing by Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh, a visionary revitalization of downtown Las Vegas is happening and one thing that’s definitely a safe bet is the Triple 7 Brewery inside Main Street Station.
Originally opened in 1991 by Bob Snow, Main Street Station only lasted a year before closing its doors. The themed casino was known for its unique antiques: a piece of the Berlin Wall in the men's restroom, chandeliers from the Coca-Cola building and Figaro Opera House, to name a few. The Boyd Gaming Group purchased the property in 1993 and reopened in 1996 with the new owners maintaining the Victorian-style theme and keeping the antiques, but with the change of building a microbrewery with a full-service restaurant. Proving to be successful by winning numerous awards, the owners realized that their risk of starting a brewery was paying its rewards. With a couple of changes in Triple 7's brewmaster position in 2013, they realized that it was time to up the ante.
Kenjiro Tomita accepted the position as brewmaster seven months ago taking a gamble on himself due to low experience time in a commercial brewing setting. Tomita graduated with a Bachelors of Biomedical Science and decided the career options were not what his heart desired. Coming from a homebrew background with a desire to work in the commercial brewing world, Tomita enrolled in the Master Brewer program at the well-recognized UC Davis. To complete the program, a series of internships had to be completed and Tomita had the opportunity to intern at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon as well as Hangar 24 in Redlands, California. His final internship ended up at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida for six months where he focused on packaging and cellaring. Tomita now looking back realizes that this was an incredible opportunity for him to showcase his beers and could not be happier moving to Vegas to do so.
Good Beer + Good Food = Good Bet
Triple 7 consistently produces five year-round beers with High Roller Gold being its flagship beer. High Roller Gold is a 5% wheat beer that keeps the thirst quenched for the many tourists and hotel guests dealing with the high summer temperatures. Royal Red Lager is 4.5% Vienna-style lager with distinctive toasted qualities and subtle spiciness deriving from the Noble hops. Marker Pale Ale is a 5.6% pale ale serving up fresh American hops with a clean bitterness and citrus and pine flavors. Double Down Hefeweizen is the more traditional Bavarian-style hefeweizen producing the refreshing banana and cloves characteristics you would expect from this 5% beer. Blackchip Porter is the dark beer of the group providing complex maltiness of chocolate and toffee but with a sessionable 4.3% ABV. Tomita also explained that he had a series of beers planned for their Brewmaster's Special with the current Hop to the High Heavens being on tap as an American wheat ale that had been aggressively hopped with Crystal and Amarillo. In the near future you will find VIPA, standing for variable India pale ale, meaning that the hop bill will be constantly changing. Tomita shared, "I have a VIPA that is fermenting right now that I have included Galaxy, Amarillo and Waimea, with the combination of those hops making it range in the 100+ IBUs and having an 11% ABV. I really like the Galaxy and Amarillo with the fruity and citrus characteristics that are real bright and balancing it out with Waimea for the more pungent and piney flavors.''
Triple 7 has a very diverse food menu ranging from pot stickers to pizza to St. Louisstyle ribs. By maximizing their square footage utilization they installed a sushi bar that directly overlooks the fermentation tanks. Tomita gave his recommendations to the sushi, smothered potato chips, wings and burgers as a must try.
Gamble is Paying Off
Veteran bartender, Shane Suganuma, has been with the company for 15 years and said, "I am starting to see more locals coming in. Fremont has always been a heavy tourist area with the locals staying clear of the area but with the major changes taking place, the locals are hanging out more downtown." Suganuma has also noticed the major changes in craft beer with more people drinking IPAs and asking intelligent beer questions about the products they produce.
Triple 7 currently offers no packaging other than growler fills and does not distribute outside Main Street Station. Triple 7 does offer its beers throughout the casino and did an impressive 1,075 barrels of beer at its location last year. Tomita has a very promising future at Triple 7 and looks forward to the 2014 year by letting his beers shine like the lights of Fremont Street. For downtown Las Vegas, your money on the table will have a much better return at Triple 7 Brewery.