I visited the brewery to see how Pilsner Urquell is made today, as well as to see some of the equipment and methods that were used in the past. Barrel-fermented, unfiltered pilsner? Don't mind if I do...
'brewery tour' on Serious Eats
Alex has partnered with Jay Goodwin, former Head of Barrel-Aging at Orange County's sour-happy The Bruery, and Jay's father, Brad, to create the Rare Barrel. On the verge of licensing approval, they will produce exclusively barrel-aged sour beers. Their first stainless fermentation tank is arriving as I type this.
Over the last 20 years New Glarus has gained its cult-favorite status by doing two things: producing delicious and inventive beers inspired by old-world recipes, and playing hard to get. Currently the beer is only available in Wisconsin, and they plan on keeping it that way.
It's all too easy to talk about Utica, New York as the industrial town past its prime. Where have all the jobs gone? What's keeping this place alive? Utica's hardly the manufacturing hub of central New York that it used to be. But asking those questions as condemnatory rhetorical remarks ignores some truths. It ignores the locals who've developed small businesses to revitalize the community they love. It disregards the people who've moved to the area to start new companies. And it forgets about those who never left, like the 124 year-old FX Matt Brewery, the home of Saranac and Utica Club beers and the second oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S.
Why the focus on lagers? Though owner Adam Lamoreaux happily drinks California IPAs, "it's been done," he says. "We wanted to do something not everyone else is doing, not just bring more sand to the beach." We stopped by on a brewday to chat with Lamoreaux and watch a bit of the action.
When it's fresh and crisp, served on draft from a well-maintained line, there's not much that can beat a pilsner on a hot day. But imported pilsners are often over the hill by the time they make it here. Trumer's answer: they brew fresh pilsner in Berkeley, following the recipe and using the same base ingredients as the Trumer brewery in Austria, so you can drink it fresh.
Stepping inside the Goose Island Beer Co.'s Fulton Street brewery, I was struck by the sweet, bready aroma that saturated the warm, humid air. The heat was intense—the brewery runs 24/7 to meet demand—but the smell was welcoming. Goose Island's communications manager, Mark Mahoney, was leading the way; he had invited me to visit for a rare private tour of the facility, which is not typically open to the public.
We visited with 21st Amendment Brewery's founder/brewmaster Shaun O'Sullivan to learn a bit of the brewery's history, get his take on the next big trends in craft beer, and to see what's going on behind the scenes at 21st Amendment's San Francisco brewing facility.
In 1989, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel took over Liberty Malt Supply Company, founded in 1921, and opened The Pike Place Brewery in the La Salle Hotel under the Pike Place Public Market—a landmark spot in Seattle and one of the longest running continually operated farmers' markets in the US. In 1995 Pike moved to a new location next to the market and changed name to Pike Brewing Company. The current location is a multi-level brewery, pub, restaurant, and beer museum. Check out our snapshots of the brewery behind the scenes.
The Breckenridge Brewery story begins in 1990, when homebrewer Richard Squire opened the third (!) craft brewery in Colorado in the popular ski town of Breckenridge. The beers the small brewery served to locals and skiers were an immediate hit and in 1992 Breckenridge expanded into the Denver market, opening a bottling facility in a then-neglected part of downtown. A few years later, Coors Field baseball stadium was built on an adjacent lot, and the neighborhood's fortunes began to change for the better.
In 2003, Jeff Crabtree started dabbling in homebrewing. Shortly after, the Union Colony Brewery—the only brewery in the industrial farm community of Greeley, Colorado—went out of business. Bitten by the brewing bug, Jeff got a loan and snapped up Union's brewing equipment. But Jeff hedged his bets and took a job in the corporate world, and started Crabtree Brewing as a side project in a gritty corner of Greeley. For the first few years he focused on brewing the beers he thought the local community would want. Progress was slow, and some frustration followed. The tipping point came when Jeff decided to work full time at the brewery, and brew only the beers that he wanted to.
Denver Beer Company has made a name for itself by offering a rapidly changing selection of ales and lagers. From one week to the next, the entire lineup of beers can—and does—change. We had the chance to walk around the brewery a bit on a brewday: here are our snapshots of all the action.
According to owner Chris Lawrence, San Francisco's newest brewhouse will concentrate on a lineup of clean, dry, easy-drinking West Coast-style beers. This sounds about right for a restaurant with a biergarten out front that should support lots of sunny-day drinking. But with local winery A.P. Vin as a neighbor, Southern Pacific has already started experimenting with aging its beer in used wine barrels. Join us for a little tour of the newest brewery-by-the-bay.
The story of Left Hand Brewing Company begins in 1990, when co-founder Dick Doore brewed his first homebrew from a kit he received for Christmas from his brother. Three years later, his obsession with brewing landed him in Colorado, where he and a college friend, Eric Wallace, began to hatch what would eventually become the brewery. We had the chance to walk around the brewery a bit and check out what's going on behind the scenes. Join us for a peek!
Fort Collins Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado was founded in 2003 when its current owners purchased defunct brewery H.C. Berger. In 2010, the brewery moved a mile down the road into a new and expansive space. We had the chance to get a tour behind the scenes. Join us for a peek!
Odell Brewing Company in the picturesque college town of Fort Collins, Colorado is one of the most successful and long-standing craft breweries in Colorado. Alongside brands like New Belgium, Great Divide, Avery, Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Boulder and Fort Collins, Odell is known and respected throughout the U.S., as well as around the world. Today we'll get a look behind the scenes.