Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Design Trends in Beer: Metallics

A technique known as foil stamping has long been used as a way of elevating a printed piece – from business cards to posters and packaging. Like any other industry beer, cider, wine and spirits look for ways to celebrate a special release packaging, or elevate a cool design. As printing techniques improve, more options have become available to achieve a premium metallic feel. We'll walk you through the differences and show some of our favorite examples.

The Techniques:
Foil Stamping
Foil is adhered directly to the label using a combination of heat and pressure. Foil can also be used in conjunction with embossing. They can be metallic, clear gloss or even special effect or patterning. Foil stamping is not only reflective but also textural in appearance. Foils are more durable and have a longer lifespan than ink.

Metallic Ink
Metallic inks can be printed directly to the labels or mixed with Pantone colors to create a shimmery appearance. Because they are mixed inks, this technique offers a wide range of colors (the Pantone Matching System has over 1000 distinctive inks) and is more cost effective than foil. Inks provide a subtle metallic finish rather than being reflective like foil and is a great way to create a layered effect, rather than flashy. They are most effective for fine detail.

Metallic Substrates
Designs can be printed on labels or paper board that have a metallic base coat. The inks themselves will not appear metallic (although a gloss coat is typically applied for sheen), but any exposed areas will. The ability to print direct to beer cans offers a great opportunity to utilize the natural metals as part of the design. 

What does it communicate?
The presence of precious metals communicates luxury and achievement. Gold is associated with wealth, grandeur and prosperity. Silver is associated with industrial, sleek, high-tech and modern.

Fleeting or enduring?
Let's be honest, people love bling. Gold and silver have, and probably always will represent our idea of "premium." And with a range of options to achieve a metallic look, including metallic wax dipping bottles, we don't see this trend going anywhere.

Below is a collage of examples we found particularly interesting. Have thoughts, drop us a line!

Interested in more design trends? Check out our previous posts:
Design Trends in Beer: Line Craft

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Brooklyn Brewery & New York Comic Con "Defender IPA" Launches Nationwide

For the fourth year, Brooklyn Brewery has teamed up with New York Comic Con and illustrator Khary Randolph to create the official beer of the convention. It's an explosive West Coast-style IPA with a reddish twist thanks to a dash of roasted malt. Bold, fruity hop bitterness and an intensely resinous nose smash into a sudden dry finish that will refresh and entice you.

Starting in 2016, the Defender will be available in bottles and draft across the United States, standing tall for all those who believe in excellent beer.

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery®

To celebrate it's launch in Chicago, Defender IPA is coming to 
Rotofugi on Friday, February 12 at 7:30 PM. It's going to be a welcoming party like none other, but a character like the Defender deserves the best.

Your $10 ticket grants you entry, three beer tickets, live comic book portraits from Chicago artist Kat Janda, and some sweet East Coast hip hop, funk and more from the Vinyl-Only DJ. You'll also be entered to win a Defender prize pack including a Brooklyn Brewery snapback, a set of Defender pint glasses, and limited edition artwork, all signed by this year's Defender artist, Khary Randolph. Even if you don't win, there will be plenty of Brooklyn swag to take home.

Grab your tickets right here, and get ready to #defendbeer!

Check out the Defender trailer for more on the collaboration:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tailspin Ale Fest Returns to Louisville February 20th

Tailspin Ale Fest organizers return once again to present Louisville's best beer fest of the season - Tailspin Ale Fest, February 20, 2016 at Bowman Field in the WWII Era Hangar at Louisville Executive Aviation. Over 50 breweries and a special Kentucky heritage section of Kentucky brews will be available for consumption. View vintage airplanes on display with pin-up girls & fly boys and dine large with some of Louisville's finest food trucks. Magnolia Photo Booth and live music provide ample fun and entertainment.

With over 150 beers available onsite, make sure to sample some great brews from featured breweries: Rhinegeist, Tin Man Brewing Company, New Belgium, Sweetwater Brewing, Founders Brewing and heading up the Kentucky Heritage section, West Sixth Brewing. 
Try Tailspin Ale Fest’s Official Pro-Am Winning Ale – “Mexican Radio,” a collaboration between the LAGERS Homebrew Club & Apocalypse Beer Works.

Event Co-Creator and Organizer, Tisha Gainey states, “We are excited for Tailspin's third anniversary at the historic Bowman Field, bringing our craft beer celebration to the forefront of Louisville's social scene, at least for a day.  It is rewarding to continue our partnership with Liquor Barn and expand on the fundraising efforts for Dare to Care Food Bank.  We are also excited that our event continues to create new opportunities for furthering our fundraising with community partners like the Yum! Brands Foundation and Middleton Reutlinger. Tailspin also provides a platform to introduce the latest and greatest from the world of craft beer to Louisville.  Look for all your favorite highlights and beers at the event - and a few surprises as well - as we strive to make Tailspin better every year.”

Sponsor Liquor Barn is presenting everyone in attendance a souvenir take-home growler at the end of the fest. 

For tickets or more information, visit www.tailspinalefest.com
For the latest updatesabout participating breweries and festival news, like www.facebook.com/tailspinalefest

Check out photos from the previous years event:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

ABV Chicago Holiday Party Episode 100!

For the BIG 100th Episode ABV Chicago threw a holiday party, and we were honored to be included. We drink a handful of delightful beers, give our somewhat humble opinions, and catch up on 2015 happenings. Plus some random shenanigans and detours, per usual. Thanks for listening and happy holidays!

Guests of honor included us (Kim) (Hail to the Ale), Ken Getty (CHAOS Homebrew Club), Nick Burica (Middle Brow Beer Co.), Chris Betts (Transient Artisan Ales), Marie Cummins (Down the Hatch), Dennis Lee (The Pizzle), MC Johnsen (Worth 1000 Beers) and Matt Johnsen (Horse Thief Hollow and The Beer Cellar). 

LISTEN HERE: ABV Chicago Episode 100 – Holiday Party 2015

Beers Reviewed

  1. Kane Brewing – Cortijo (Agave Nectar Saison Aged in Tequila Barrels)
  2. OEC Brewing – Malefactus (Wine Barrel-Aged Stout)
  3. Transient Artisan Ales – Black Raspberry Maigre (Berlinner Weisse)
  4. Lake Effect Brewing – Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel-Aged)
  5. BrainDead Brewing – Bent De Garde (Wine Barrel-Aged Biere de Garde)
  6. de Garde Brewing – L’Hiver Melange No. 2

About ABV Chicago:

ABV (Another Beer View) is a podcast about beer and life. But mostly about beer. Beaming out from Chicago, IL. You can subscribe to their podcasts on iTunes and follow them on facebook, twitter and instagram at ABVChicago.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Guide to Glassware Series: The Goblet

In continuation with our "Guide to Glassware" guest blog series with Lakeshore Beverage, we focus this month on the goblet, or chalice. Click on the link to read the full article, which highlight's the goblet's rich history, as well as the sensorial benefits of its various designs.

The full beer glass guide infographic:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cider Talk with Broken Nose Cider Maker Paul Cade

A few weeks back we stopped in to visit the Begyle Brewing taproom and were excited to find Chicago's newest cidery, Broken Nose, not only on draft, but sharing the location for cider production. We had the pleasure of talking with owner and cider maker, Paul Cade. We loved his story – homebrewer, turned cider apprentice, turned professional cider maker, on a mission to bring European-style ciders to urban Chicago. But beyond that, the cider we tasted was beautiful, complex and dry. Attributes we aren't yet seeing a whole lot of in US made cider. 

This Thursday, December 17th he will be at the Begyle Taproom for a meet and great, as well as a sampling of his three current ciders. All will be available on draft to purchase or take home in a growler. These European-style ciders are perfect for holiday meal pairing, so we hope you'll stop by and taste for yourself.

Can you tell us about your background and what let to the passion for cider making?
Well I guess it started when I was a home brewer, back in 2010. I was lucky enough to try a bottle of tasty English cider – to this day I can't remember what kind of cider – but I do remember loving the sourness, the dryness and the flavor. It was like nothing I had ever had before. From there I kept trying ciders, but was incredibly disappointed in most of the U.S. ciders that I tried. As a home brewer I thought to myself "If I can't find any ciders that I want to buy, I'll make my own." The first ciders that I made were, quite frankly, terrible, but that idea started me on this 5 year journey.

How would you describe the objectives you see for Broken Nose as an urban cidery?
Well, being an urban cidery is pretty unique. Historically cider was made by farmers as way to store their apples and to maybe add value. Even today I think that for the most part cider making is a rural endeavor and that the best cider is being made where the apples are grown. However I strongly believe that even though most of the best ciders are made by orchardists, being an orchardist it is not a prerequisite to making great cider. I think that with some care when it comes to sourcing raw materials and a good understanding of fermentation we can make world class cider right here is Chicago.

What was your experience like making cider in France and England and what has the biggest takeaway you're applying to your cider making now?
It was an incredible experience. I met incredible people, worked hard and had some of the best cider I have ever tried. I think that the biggest single takeaway was the palette that I developed. Just being exposed to those ciders and drinking them at least once, if not three times a day, every day for months really gave me an understanding of what I liked and didn't like in ciders. That has really brought me to where I am today. If going to Europe did nothing else, it gave me the ability to know when cider isn't up to snuff. Now this can be a bad thing too, because it's been about three years since I got back from Europe and Im just now making ciders that really impress me.

What influence has your experience as Cellarman for Begyle Brewing contributed to starting a business yourself?
It's been really incredible watching Brendan, Kevin and Matt run Begyle. The biggest thing that I have taken away from watching them is that making a great product is only part of the equation, you also have to be able to get it to people, and that is harder than it sounds. Luckily Begyle is helping me get my cider to people and that is amazingly helpful!

What projects or experiments are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
Mixed culture fermentations. This is really the future, and the past, of cider making. All the ciderys that I worked on in Europe had amazing microbiological cultures built up from years, if not centuries, of cider making. These cultures are the reason for the incredible complexity of good European ciders. And that is something that we are really trying to master.

If there was one cider or cider style that was a turning point for you as a drinker, do you recall what it was?
Well there was that first one I tried that I can't remember, and I think that I was very lucky to have a great cider as my first, because so many people write off ciders because the first one they tried wasn't good. I could have been one of those people who dismissed all ciders, but like I say I was lucky. The next time I had a great cider was at Owen and Engine over on Western. This was important because it made me realize that the first cider wasn't a fluke or a dream, there really was good cider out there! That one was a French cider and if I remember correctly it was Cidre Bouché from Domaine Dupont. That cider really made me realize that Europe was the place to go to if I wanted to learn to make great cider.

Broken Nose Cider is currently producing three ciders – Old Hat, their flagship cider with crab apples, Bright Lights hopped cider and Bog City cranberry cider. They are on tap at Begyle Brewing which is located at 1800 W Cuyler Ave in Chicago's North Center neighborhood, just steps off the CTA's Irving Park Brown Line stop.

Meet Paul and sample Broken Nose ciders tomorrow, December 17th and their "Meet the Cider Makerevent. 7pm, Begyle Brewing Taproom, 1800 W Cuyler Ave, Chicago. No charge to get in, all ciders will be on tap to purchase, including growlers to go.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hoppier Holidays With Our Handmade Ornaments

This year we're excited to introduce a few NEW holiday items to our Etsy shop for the beer lovers and homebrewers on your gift list. 

• Our unique, hand crafted hop ornaments made from silk flower components and decorated with rustic twine and ribbon. These ornaments are available for purchase online for a limited time in our Etsy shopHops vary slightly in shape, size and shade of green. Dimensions: approximately: 3" x 1.5" x 1.5"

• A new series of folded beer-themed holiday cards, including "Hoppy Holidays", "Christmas Cheer" and "Happy New Beer." Cards can be purchased individually, or in packs of 6 or 12 cards. Cards are 4.25" x 5.5" and come with an accompanying A2 (4.375" x 5.75") envelope.

For custom orders please send us a message via our Etsy shop and we'll be happy to accommodate your requests. Cheers!