Everyone is talking abut the weather lately, so why buck the trend. It was cold out there yesterday – bring me back to my college days in upstate New York, hovering around zero degrees cold. And it made me ponder how the brewing industry, once very heavily governed by the seasons and the elements that came along with those seasons, is no longer at its mercy.1459924_10202094724585752_1811030762_n

For those of you who don’t know, there were a slew of variables that impacted what people brewed centuries ago – region, ingredients, seasons, weather – all had a significant impact on the local beers. Lagers were specific to colder regions, and often served in the late autumn into the winter after spending months lagering in cold caves in the mountainous regions of Germany. Ales tended to require more temperate conditions and higher temperatures to ferment, leading to early popularity of the style in Europe’s lower lying regions, and island cultures.

The rise of refrigeration in the 1800’s had a profound impact on the industry, particularly in the United States as it allowed the large influx of German immigrants the opportunity to regulate the tempratures that they would need in order to produce lagers on a year-round basis, leading to the rise in popularity of that particular style of beer.

Yes, we still see certain beers being released at certain times of year, but at this point it’s out of tradition and no longer about the need to brew based on wheather or not the weather was conducive to fermentation. So, allow me to say what’s on all our minds – screw the weather and yay refrigeration for making more good beer available!

Frederick Beer Week is Coming

Keep an eye here on the website in the coming months – you’re going to begin seeing changes to the website, updates to the calendar and sponsor pages begin to happen soon. As always, the really furious updates will come in the final weeks before FBW4 which, by the way, is kicking off on May 30 at JoJo’s with the Total Frederick Tap Takeover, and we finish on June 7 with the Beerfest at Stillpoint Farm.

The BAM Craft Brewer’s Festival will be right in the mix on May 31, and look for details regarding the Battle of the Bubbles sometime in the coming weeks.

I look forward to seeing you all during Frederick’s fourth beer week, which I expect to be even bigger and better than last year’s.

Capped and Untapped

So, I had the opportunity to stop in and chat with the manager at the new BJ’s this past weekend. The beer as a whole ranged from mediocre to fairly decent, but there was one that was exceptional – their Grand Cru. The Grand Cru is an exceptional Belgian style ale, full of fruity notes, and well balanced between sweet and tart.

The locale itself is slick, and has the feel of a craft beer version of Fridays. I suspect that were I to walk into a BJ’s in San Diego, the feel of the interior wouldn’t be significantly different. That said, it’s worth at least one visit – but I will get into the details of my visit there in next week’s Beer Guy.

Until then, be well and drink good beer.