Southwest Brewing News August/September 2010 : Page 1

M By Darren Conner Most beer fans have attended a beer festival at least once in their lives. It’s what beer lov-ers dream of -getting a souvenir glass that people keep fi lling with great beer, meeting the brewers, and hanging out with other people who love beer. What may not be ap-parent is what the people behind the scenes go through to create that enjoyable environ-ment. There are a number of different types of festivals and each festival faces its own set of challenges. Surprisingly or not, there is a lot of passion that goes into putting a festival together as well. Variety is the Spice of Beer Festivals One example of a great beer festival is the Great Taste of the Midwest -put on by the Madison (Wis.) Homebrewers and Tasters Guild. Getting a group of homebrew-ers to agree on anything is a feat in and of itself, let alone putting on an entire festival. There are festivals that champion a charity or cause. Some festivals have competition and awards. Some events provide another reason to entice the senses. SAVOR, put on by the Brewers Association, features food and beer pairings that complement each See Behind p. 7 Calendar of Events Calendar of Events...........................................2.2 From the Editor....rom the Editor...............................................3.3 Best of Show.............. Best of Show............................................6.6 Queen of QuaffQueen of Quaff...........................7...........................7 rkansas Arkansas...........................................8.8 Oklahoma Oklahoma.......................................9.9 N Mexico/SW Texas.....10 S. California.........................16.16 San Diego...................................17 S. Central Texa N Mexico/SW Texas.....10 S. California San Diego S. Central Texas ................18 17 18 State by State News Austin ALE OK. COOP co-founder Mark Seibold sits atop his keg kingdom in Oklahoma City. O Austin...........................................19.19 N Texas Nevada...................................19.19 Central Arizon N Texas.................................20.20 Nevada... Central Arizona .............22 S. & N. Arizona........S. & N. Arizona.........23.23 .22 Story and Photos by Michael Kelehar Offi cially, it’s pronounced coop, as in cooper, a practitioner of the age-old craft of barrel making. And most certainly they have plenty of experience with barrels and kegs. But, quite honestly, if you wanted to refer to Oklahoma City’s COOP Ale Works as co-op, that would be just fi ne with co-owner J.D. Merryweather. He refers to the brewery’s management and personnel as a “collective” whose shared arts background has helped establish a singular voice for the fl edgling brewery. “We develop our beers as a team, Chase brews a test-batch. Often times once we serve it up in the tasting room, we surprise everyone.” Healey is COOP’s headbrewer. An ardent cyclist and manic homebrewer, Healey has provided the single-minded energy that has easily estab-lished the 15-month-old brewery as OKC’s favorite, all while still managing to graduate from college. Four Men, One Idea As is often the case, the inception of COOP Ale Works cannot be so easily traced. There are many twists and turns and an abundance of beers consumed. “I met architect Mark Seibold at a beer and bull session downtown. We’d each bring a six-pack, toss it into a big trough and educate each other on the beers we liked,” recalls Merryweather. Both men agreed the Oklahoma City market was deficient in locally-produced quality craft beer. Later, in a happenstance encounter they all agree was “synchronistic,” the two met brewer Healey, and Daniel Mercer, who has overseen the brewery’s fi nances. With a shared goal in mind, the four began researching, strategiz-ing and otherwise plotting the overthrow of See COOP p. 6 INSIDE ILLUSTRATION BY HANS GRANHEIM

Behind The Scenes

Most beer fans Have attended a beer festival at least once in their lives. It’s what beer lovers dream of - getting a souvenir glass that people keep fi lling with great beer, meeting the brewers, and hanging out with other people who love beer. What may not be apparent is what the people behind the scenes go through to create that enjoyable environment. There are a number of different types of festivals and each festival faces its own set of challenges. Surprisingly or not, there is a lot of passion that goes into putting a festival together as well.

<b>Variety is the Spice of Beer Festivals</b>

One example of a great beer festival is the Great Taste of the Midwest - put on by the Madison (Wis.) Homebrewers and Tasters Guild. Getting a group of homebrewers to agree on anything is a feat in and of itself, let alone putting on an entire festival.There are festivals that champion a charity or cause. Some festivals have competition and awards. Some events provide another reason to entice the senses. SAVOR, put on by the Brewers Association, features food and beer pairings that complement each other and provides an educational aspect.
The organizers of all these festivals are trying to create a memorable experience for everybody coming through the gate.

Sun Sounds of Arizona is an organization that provides a service to those that have a disability that causes them to be unable to read print media. They host three beer festivals in Arizona that raise money to help provide this service to the visually impaired. Having access to this service can help these people lead a self-directed life.When you can drink good beer and support a great cause, it is a win-win situation. When event coordinator Mitzi Tharen was asked what she was most thankful for she immediately replied, “By far and away it’s the brewers. Without their product donations the event is nothing.” What’s in it for the brewer? The brewery might be able to reach a new audience, since a brewery that doesn’t have the ability to market or bottle their beer can’t reach new markets. If this same brewery attends a few festivals during the year, they will pour beers into some educated beer aficionados from far and wide. The craft beer industry is also a community. Like most communities word of mouth works best.When about 5,000 mouths walk through the gate, the word gets out.

<b>Wanna Dance?</b>

If you want a little tap-your-foot-and shake- your-butt while you drink good beer, Telluride, Colo. May have the answer. Once a year some of the best blues, rock, soul and funk acts converge on the tiny town of Telluride for a three-day music festival. The Telluride Blues and Brews features three full days of incredible music, a great selection of craft beer and includes a four-hour beer festival on Saturday, called the Grand Tasting. The festival grew from a jam session and kegger on Main Street to an event with 9,000 attendees per day and the biggest names in music and brewing. Steve Gumble started this as a way to incorporate two of his passions together. According to Gumble, “One of the biggest challenges is to create at the artist lineup so that everything has a fl ow to it. You need to have a rowdy band on stage while the tasting is going on.” The best part for Gumble is seeing all the people out there enjoying themselves. “People can travel to the festival to hear one of their favorites and discover a band that they have never heard of, drinking a beer that they have never tasted before.”

<b>The Big One</b>

The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo. Has a brutal number of logistical issues. The GABF hands out the most coveted awards an American brewery can hope to achieve. The full-blown competition requires special attention to detail that goes unnoticed to everyone, except the people pulling it together. According to event coordinator Nancy Johnson, some of those unheralded things include “arranging the logistics of picking up 12 tractor trailers of beer from around the country, keeping it cool and tapping 1,800 plus beers in three and-a-half days; inventorying and taking care of thousands of beers to be judged in all categories, and getting those to the judging tables; eighty tons of ice and more if it’s really hot; confirming multiple hotel contracts for rooms, confirming the dates at the convention center; ordering the correct number of glasses/cups; coordinating speakers/chefs/brewers for presentations in the pavilions.” And the list never seems to end. Johnson has a save-the-date in place with the convention center through 2025.
The staff she has assembled is in charge of specific duties that include securing the venue, getting the permits, finding a host distributor where the beer can land and competition beers can be inventoried. They also arrange merchandise sales for the event and work with breweries on the items they sell at the GABF store. They rent all the available pitchers in Denver for the festival, which total about 3,000, plus use an inventory of their own. The award ceremony requires setting up a media room with Internet access, AV sound and lights. Addressing the security requirements for having around 50,000 people is a challenge. The thing that Johnson enjoys the most about the festival is the members’ only session. “I love the awards ceremony on Saturday.” She continues, “Seeing the brewers so ramped up about the awards announcements is a highlight of the year.” The community of brewers is so awesome - there are all sorts of cool personalities and it’s unlike other industries. The GABF is like a family reunion of sorts with so many great beers and beer people in town. There’s a wealth of beer knowledge and a stable of rock star brewers and innovative personalities converging in Denver at GABF. It’s a weekend of beer nirvana,”

There are so many details that make festivals great, which most fest goers don’t see or think about. Most attendees are just trying to figure out what they want to try next and how long the line is at the restroom. The next time that you attend an event, look around a little bit and think about the people that have gone the extra mile to create an incredible experience. Don’t be afraid to say thanks, or raise a glass to those people who have worked so hard to get that much great beer in the same place for your enjoyment.

Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Behind+The+Scenes/465557/44356/article.html.

Coop De Vile

Officially, It’s pronounced coop, as in cooper, a practitioner of the age-old craft of barrel making. And most certainly they have plenty of experience with barrels and kegs. But, quite honestly, if you wanted to refer to Oklahoma City’s COOP Ale Works as co-op, that would be just fi ne with coowner J. D. Merryweather. He refers to the brewery’s management and personnel as a “collective” whose shared arts background has helped establish a singular voice for the fledgling brewery. “We develop our beers as a team, Chase brews a test-batch. Often times once we serve it up in the tasting room, we surprise everyone.” Healey is COOP’s headbrewer. An ardent cyclist and manic homebrewer, Healey has provided the single-minded energy that has easily established the 15-month-old brewery as OKC’sFavorite, all while still managing to graduate from college.

<b>Four Men, One Idea</b>

As is often the case, the inception of COOP Ale Works cannot be so easily traced. There are many twists and turns and an abundance of beers consumed. “I met architect Mark Seibold at a beer and bull session downtown. We’d each bring a six-pack, toss it into a big trough and educate each other on the beers we liked,” recalls Merryweather. Both men agreed the Oklahoma City market was defi cient in locally-produced quality craft beer. Later, in a happenstance encounter they all agree was “synchronistic,” the two met brewer Healey, and Daniel Mercer, who has overseen the brewery’s fi nances. With a shared goal in mind, the four began researching, strategizing and otherwise plotting the overthrow of The local brewing status quo.

Starting a new brewery can, at times, be a lot of fun. And the COOP team did plenty of R and D, sampling popular beers from around the country before settling on a four-beer core: Horny Toad Cerveza, Zeppelin German Wheat, Native Amber, and their bellwether DNR Belgian-Style Golden Ale. With numerous established brewpubs sharing the metro market (restricted by law to brewing 3.2% ABV), the team realized a free-standing brewery was the only alternative to allow them to produce the variety of styles they wished to introduce to the Sooner State. The decision was made early on to keg their product for distribution to the many fi ne local pubs and beer bars. With very little money for advertising, COOP has relied heavily on social media to promote the brewery and establish a nearly militant grassroots following. “We’ve built a community of supporters strictly on word-of-mouth,” boasts Merrywather. While tweets fl it like hungry mosquitoes through the thick Oklahoma air, the brewery’s Facebook page continues to add friends apace. Indeed, to date, COOP beers can be found in 75 locations statewide, with an average of two COOP taps each. Healey has rewarded his loyal fans with four new beers, adding a porter to the lineup as well as Oktoberfest, a wintertime Oak-aged Imperial Stout and this summer’s talk of the town, the F5 IPA.

<b>It Takes A Green Village</b>

In a city where a decade-old curbside recycling program still struggles to gain traction, a few Oklahoma City businesses and industries have chosen to invest time and resources in adopting “green” technologies. COOP Ale Works is one of the city’s fi rst companies to commit to Oklahoma Gas and Electric’s 100% Wind Credit Program. In addition, a partnership with the Oklahoma Farmers Cooperative allows the brewery to trade spent grain for organic beef, eggs and vegetables. The COOP team continues to explore new water conservation methods despite being well below the national average of water usage per barrel of beer. And this summer, COOP will begin packaging the Horny Toad and Native Amber in 16-ounce cans for resale in liquor stores. “The choice of cans was very important to us because of the recyclability,” says Merryweather.

<b>A COOP in Every Fridge</b>

Further future plans include a greater market and retail presence in Oklahoma.
One gets the feeling the folks at COOP won’t be satisfi ed until their Facebook page has more friends than a French foreign exchange student! “Our main goal is to make Oklahoma beer more accessible to the public.” Sometime within the next 18 months or so, Merryweather and the COOP team hope to expand from their current 7-BBL system to a 30-BBL one. Of course, that will entail relocating to a much larger facility. One wonders if the brewery will be able to find enough friends to help them make the move. You know the rule, just offer them a beer!



Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Coop+De+Vile/465559/44356/article.html.

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