1. I love to watch anything and everything about beer…especially craft beer! So a month ago when I heard about a new beer documentary called Brewland I got really excited. I wanted to see where I could get a copy of it. I was disappointed to learn that it was still in production, but that got me thinking…if I couldn’t watch Brewland the next best thing would be to interview the man behind the film, Director Michael Sills. It was great to speak to Michael and learn more about his film Brewland and why he decided to make a film about the craft beer industry. Along with learning about Michael’s film we also discuss beercations.

    A documentary exploring the craft beer industry and culture in the United States is a great idea for a film. How did you come up with idea to make this film?
    The idea for the doc stemmed from a trip to Vermont with my wife to try some the beers fresh from the source I heard so much about from friends of mine. After being in that environment, you realize there is a great story up there, so initially I wanted to do a piece about three brewers and the success they found. After digging deeper, I realized the more interesting story was VT as a microcosm to the entire industry, so our project shifted. More time working on the project passed and we came to another realization: the craft beer industry as a whole. 

    Can you tell us more about the film Brewland?
    So right now, Brewland has filmed about a third of what we want to and have a lot more to go. The more people we can talk to, the better the story is going to be, so we have some traveling to do. We are just about to start an Indiegogo Campaign to raise some money to complete everything.

     I am sure you have learned a lot about the beer industry in the United States while filming. What would you say is the most interesting thing that you learned about the craft beer industry in Brewland that you didn’t know prior to making this film?

    That there were so many damn beers, but more importantly so many good beers. These guys are experts at a craft (no pun intended) that at points can be very precise and their attention to detail is tremendous. To watch them work is really something, just the care that goes into it.

    You have interviewed brewery owners, business’ that support craft brewers and writers. How did you pick the subjects that you interviewed?
    A lot of our choices came from recommendations or word of mouth, but after that just long periods of research, finding people with interesting stories or something unique to the craft beer movement.

    The craft beer scene has been growing at a rapid pace in the last 12 plus years. From the information that you received while making your film do you think the industry can sustain this rapid growth?

    I'm not sure, it's pretty split with the people we have spoken to about what the future holds. Some believe its fine, some are preparing for possible another collapse. Hard to say, but in my opinion, I think something’s coming, but it can be avoided. It’s going to all come down to communication and unity.

    When can we expect Brewland to be released and where will people be able to find it?
    Hopefully the project will be completed by the end of the year, that’s our goal.

    Beercations are becoming more and more popular recently. If you could go on a beercation any place where would you go and why?
    I want to go on a beercation to Europe, specifically visit the monks of Beligum and try some fresh trappist beer, especially Westvleteren.




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  2. In a couple of days the Nation will be celebrating Labor Day where we Americans will be kicking back enjoying the last unofficial weekend of summer. So enjoy your last couple of days in your backyard, at your beach house, lake house, pool or going to the beach and wearing white…(I never really understood that). One essential part of every Labor Day weekend along with the great food that you will be devouring is...BEER of course! At Journey to the Beer Store we wanted to help you make that difficult decision on what beer to bring to that next Labor Day party or to your friends beach house. Lets face it you shouldn't show up empty handed to the party!

    Light House Ale (Naukabout Beer Company, Osterville, Massachusetts)

    Light House Ales name says it all, it should be drank on and or near the beach. It also doesn’t hurt that Light House Ale is a nice light refreshing beer that is easy to drink on hot day at the beach.

    Alaskan Summer Ale (Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau, Alaska)

    I had a chance to try this beer for the first time this month after my mother brought it back from an
    Alaskan cruise. I really liked Alaskan Summer Ale. It was a nice light refreshing beer. I could have a few of these! The label is great with the bright orange and with a Killer Whale as the logo. The logo makes me want to go on a whale watch (or just bring out my VHS copy of Free Willy).

    Hopzilla Double India Pale Ale (Terrapin Beer Company, Athens, Georgia)
    Hopzilla Double India Pale Ale has a great label. The label is a giant turtle with hops as its hands and with people and planes fleeing the Hopzilla. Every Terrapin beer that I have sampled I have really enjoyed and I feel the same with this offering. However, you need to be careful while drinking Hopzilla as it has a 10.3% ABV . If you drink too many of Hopzilla's you might feel like you got crushed by Hopzilla himself.

    Imperial Destroyer Imperial/Double IPA ( Do Can Brewery, Lowell, Massachusetts)
    Imperial Destroyer has become one of my favorite IPAs and favorite beers since I first sampled it earlier this year. Imperial Destroyer is a hoppy beer. If you are like me and like hoppy beers this beer will be for you and your friends.

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  3. This past weekend I took the fast ferry to Nantucket for the day with the family. Nantucket is a nice island to visit for the day. The highlight of Nantucket for me (and probably most craft beer and beer drinkers) is Cisco Brewers Brewery. The owners of Cisco Brewers also own a winery called Nantucket Vineyard and a distillery called Triple Eight Distillery. The best part is that all products can be found at the Brewery. Cisco Brewers Brewery also might be one of the best values on the pricey island of Nantucket. You can pick up a free brewery shuttle every half hour or so at the tourist information center. My shuttle driver was very knowledgeable about the Brewery. I learned facts about Cisco Brewers that I previously didn't know. Once at the Brewery you will be
    excited to know that you can take a tour through the Brewery and the Distillery and for $20 you get an hour long tour with many samples. Sadly I was unable to take a tour due time constraints as I needed to make sure I got the ferry back. However, even without the tour I still had a good time buying a couple pints of some great beer and walking around. Cisco Brewers also have bands playing on their stage near the beer sampling shack. You can also buy mixed drinks made with Triple Eight Distillery products or buy some wine. Don't worry about drinking and not having anything to eat as the Brewery has food trucks at the Brewery daily. You will also be glad to know that Cisco Brewers Brewery is family and pet friendly. I saw many families together sitting outside listening to music and having a few drinks. I witnessed several kids asking their parents for Cisco Brewers t-shirts and hats...maybe future craft beer drinkers?!? So next time you are in Nantucket give your nanny or dog walker a break for the day and bring your family to the brewery for a nice day out! (Don't forget to bring back some beer/souvenirs for your nanny and dog walkers :)). Below you will find some pictures that I took while walking around.
    Cisco Brewers Tap Room

    Brewery space



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  4. Tonight we have a guest review from my cousin Erin. It's her first review I hope you like it.
    New Belgium Summer Helles Lager.

    It looks very light. Almost like bud light or Coors light but tastes much better. It's not like an IPA but doesn't have all of the floral or lemony taste like a summer ale usually does. There wasn't a lot of head because I had such a fantastic pour. :)
    The bottle says "originally brewed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of telluride bluegrass, our summer helles became a festival favorite worth sharing with everyone. A trio of hops harmonize with German malt and yeast to whet your well tuned whistle."
    It is hoppier than most summer beers but then there is a softer after taste. I guess I would say it smelled like a light lager? I would give it 2 stars out of 5.


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  5. Naukabout Beer Company based in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts has recently announced the release of two new beers in their lineup. This will bring Naukabout Beer Company's lineup to three beers. We at Journey to the Beer Store are excited with this announcement from Naukabout Beer Company and are looking forward to trying Naukabout's two new beers in the near future!

    Naukabout Beer Company's first new beer is called Lighthouse Ale.

    Naukabout describes Lighthouse Ale as the following: "Light, crisp and refreshing Lighthouse Ale is a blonde style beer that goes down easy. If you or your friends are looking for a beach beer or just something that you can enjoy throughout the day then this is the beer for you".  Luckily for you if you are planning your next beach day Lighthouse Ale is available right now!

    Naukabout Beer Company's second new beer is White Cap IPA.

    They describe White Cap IPA as a "delicious, hoppy IPA". If you want to try this new IPA don't worry this brew will be available in the next few days!


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  6. Steve Hindy co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery chronicles the turmoil’s and success of the craft beer industry in his new book, The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink. Steve has been collecting the stories for the book for the past 27 years and within eight months he had this amazing collection put together into a remarkable read. I honestly have to say that from the minute I started reading The Craft Beer Revolution I had trouble putting the book down. At Journey to the Beer Store we thought it would be great to interview Steve Hindy, learn why he decided to write this book, learn about some of the behind stories that he chronicled and where he sees the craft beer industry in the next 30 years.


    Why did you decided to write The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink?

    I have had the great fortune to witness an amazing triumph of American entrepreneurialism. I started collecting stories for the book literally 27 years ago. The rise of craft beer in America is an incredible business and human story.

    How long did it take you to gather the research and write The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink?

     It took about 8 months to research and write the book.

    In the chapter “The First Generation” you write about the first generations of craft brewers. Where would the craft beer industry be without this first generation?

    The First Generation laid the groundwork for the craft beer revolution by educating millions of Americans about craft beer, and by demonstrating the positive impact a brewery could have on a community.  The First Generation also persuaded hundreds of beer wholesalers across the country that craft beer could be an important part of their portfolios.

    In the chapter “The Class of ’88” you highlight 11 breweries that started in 1988 and are still operational. Are you surprised that your brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, along with the 10 others that you highlighted are still open and have been so successful?

    All of us in the Class of '88 worked tirelessly, and against great odds, to establish our companies.  No one likes to talk about it, but I am quite sure that none of us made much, if any, money in the first decade of our existence.  For all of us, failure was not an option.  It was our passion for beer, and our belief in craft beer, that kept us going.

    In the chapter “Big Money Meets Craft Brewing” you write how you would pin failed breweries on your office wall. Why did you do this and did seeing all these failed breweries on your wall, motivate you and your partners?

    In the 1990s, many craft breweries failed.  Rumors were flying.  The list was my way of sorting the truth from rumor.  I was determined not to join that list.

    If you could have two dream six packs, one from the first generation breweries, and another from the second generation breweries, which six beers would be in each of your dream six packs?

    First Generation: Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Anchor Steam, Abita Amber, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter; Second Generation: Allagash White, Fat Tire, Dogfish 60, Pliny the Elder, Firestone Double Barrel, Lost Abbey Judgement Day.

    Where do you see the craft beer industry in the next 30 years?

    Craft beer will be more than half the US brewing industry in 30 years.

    You have written two books now and are a co-owner of a brewery. Which one is more difficult…opening and running brewery or writing a book on the craft beer industry?

    Starting and running a brewery is much more difficult.  It takes everything you have and many qualities you didn't know you had.  Writing is hard, but I enjoy writing and I get great satisfaction from it.  It helps me keep things in perspective.  

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  7. Somerville, Massachusetts: Somerville Brewing, the makers of Slumbrew beers, is excited to announce the opening of a new outdoor craft beer and dining experience at SomBlox Assembly Row in Somerville, Massachusetts.

    “American Fresh, as a craft beer and food project, has been a dream we’ve had on the backburner for a long time. When asked by Federal Realty to bring Slumbrew and our American Fresh concept to this exciting new area of Somerville, we were thrilled with the opportunity. It’s an exciting time of growth for us.” said Jeff Leiter, co-founder of Somerville Brewing Company.

    “Our business has been growing rapidly over the past three years. We’re so excited about creating a place where people can get a Slumbrew in the fresh air and check out the new Assembly Row neighborhood. American Fresh Taproom will also host a number of art experiences from the local Somerville community. We’re especially grateful for this opportunity to bring a smaller, local business to the Assembly Row campus.” noted co-founder Caitlin Jewell. Jewell and Leiter are a husband and wife team that have co-owned and managed multiple businesses together for over sixteen years.
    Located near LEGOLAND Discovery Center, the AMC Theater and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, this outdoor location will introduce the American Fresh Taproom concept to a variety of guests. “We place a really high value on artisanal products so a lot of planning has gone into the selection of foods and planning the overall experience for our guests. Our food concept is based on working with artisan food suppliers, with an emphasis on local or regional products.” Leiter added. All of the food will be served on compostable dinnerware from Verterra. Food suppliers will rotate on a regular basis, but initially includes Fiore Di Nonno and Great Hill Creamery cheese, Olli and Creminelli Meats, When Pigs Fly Breads, Taza Chocolate, Grillo’s Pickles, soups and sandwiches and, for dessert, the Somerville tradition of a Fluffernutter treat.

    Operating under the name American Fresh Taproom, this new location will pair Slumbrew beers with fresh local food, sandwiches and charcuterie plates in a casual beer garden environment. SomBlox at Assembly Row is a collection of shipping containers that have been converted into retail and food prep spaces surrounding an open beer garden area to create a unique destination in the thriving new Assembly Row neighborhood.

    Presently, a soft opening is planned for July 30 and July 31, but access to American Fresh Taproom will be by ticketed invitation only during the first two days. American Fresh Taproom will be open to the public  Friday August 1, 2014.  Operating hours are expected to be 11am-10pm Monday - Saturday and noon-8pm Sunday.

    Somerville Brewing Company, Inc., the makers of Slumbrew craft ales, was started in 2011 by Jeff Leiter and Caitlin Jewell out of their Somerville, MA pilot brewery. All of the brewery’s beer recipes have been invented and tested in Somerville and developed for commercial production at Mercury Brewing, while business operations are also run out of Somerville. The company will open its own brewery and the American Fresh Taproom - Boynton Yards later in 2014, in addition to the Assembly Row location. Slumbrew’s core beers include Flagraiser IPA, Happy Sol, Porter Square Porter and Trekker Trippel. Slumbrew is available in 12 and 22 ounce bottles and on tap in six states. For more info please see: www.slumbrew.com | facebook.com/Slumbrew | Somerville Brewing Company, Inc., 1310 Broadway, Somerville MA 02144

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  8. In a couple of days, the Nation's birthday will be here. July 4th is a time when everyone stops what they are doing for the day to spend time with family and friends, eat some great food, go to the beach, the lake or the pool. One essential part of most everyone's July 4th celebration (besides the fireworks) is some great beer. At Journey to the Beer Store we wanted to help you make that hard decision on what beer to bring that next July 4th party. Lets face it you shouldn't show up empty handed to the party!

    Brew Free! Or Die IPA (21st Amendment, San Francisco, CA)

    Lets face it the logo for this is as American as it can get, right?! Brew Free! Or Die IPA is not just a catchy name and logo it's a really great IPA! Your friends might let you stay for a little bit longer if you bring this brew to the July 4th festivities.

    Narragansett Dell's SHANDY (Narragansett Brewing Company, Rochester, NY)

    I have been in love with this beer since I first tried it a few weeks ago on Fathers day weekend. In the Boston area this beer is so popular it is difficult to keep on the shelves at some stores. So after you been drinking

    a few hoppy beers or you want a nice light refreshing beer at your July 4th cookout this is the beer for you! Or if you think you are too of a "manly man" to drink this then pick up a six pack for the females at July 4th party...they will be happy with you.


    Lobstah Killah (Somerville Brewing Company (Slumbrew), Somerville, MA)

    The name says it all with this brew. What a better way to spend the 4th of July with a lobster or two with a Lobstah Killah beer. However, you might want to pace yourself with this Lobstah Killah because at 8% ABV if you drink too many of these at your July 4th party it could be a hangover maker.
    Yuengling Lager ( Yuengling Brewing Company, Pottsville PA/Tampa FL)
    Yuengling Lager is one of my favorite beers. It is a great easy drinkable beer and how can you celebrate July 4th without a beer from the Nation's oldest brewery?!?
    Dales Pale Ale ( Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO)
    Dale's Pale Ale is another great tasting beer. It is always a craft beer staple in my house. A bonus with Dale's Pale Ale and all other Oskar Blues beers is that they only available in cans. So if you want to bring them on the boat, to the beach, or in the pool you shouldn't have an issue.
    Fort Point Pale Ale (Trillium Brewing Company, Boston MA)
    I have had several of Trillium Brewing Company beers and they are all really good. I recently visited
    Trillium Brewing Company (if you are in Boston you should take a journey to visit them). Fort Point Pale is a great tasting beer. I wish I bought more then a two bottles of it at my visit!Your host will be happy when you bring Fort Point Pale or any other Trillium beers to your July 4th event.

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  9. Its been awhile since I did a review. I have been drinking some really good beer lately so I thought it would be a good time to write a review. Tonight review is of Wachusett Brewing Company Summer Ale. Wachusett Brewing Company is located in Westminster MA. Wachusett Summer Ale is a American wheat ale style of beer. Wachusett Summer Ale is 4.7%ABV.

    Wachusett summer ale. Pours a light hazy yellow color a small white head that fades quickly that leaves minimal lacing. Aroma is lemon with a wheat and grassy. Taste lemon, wheat and some hints of citrus hops. This was a refreshing drinkable summer beer. This will be one of my handful of beers I will drink this summer sitting my porch.




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  10. Does Luke Livingston mean anything to you? Well if it doesn’t it should. Luke Livingston is owner of one of Maine’s best craft breweries, Baxter Brewing Company. Like many other craft brewery owners Luke was an avid home brewer prior to opening the Baxter Brewing Company however he took a different journey from home brewer to brewery owner. Luke learned a lot about the craft beer industry career when he started the beer website called www.blogaboutbeer.com. After the passing of his mother to breast cancer Luke sold his website and spent his days writing his business plan to open Baxter Brewing Company. We at Journey to the Beer Store thought it would be great to talk to Luke and learn more about Baxter Brewing Company and his thoughts on the craft beer industry.
    How did you get into the beer business?

    I learned a lot about the beer business through running a blog—www.blogaboutbeer.com—for several years; including the birth of canned craft beer in 2006-2009 with Oskar Blues, Surly, 21st Amendment, etc. I was also an avid homebrewer, since college, although I’ve never done the brewing at Baxter (I leave that up to folks far more talented than I am). After my Mom lost her battle with breast cancer in January, 2009, I quit my day job to write my business plan for Baxter. A few million dollars and nervous breakdowns later, we broke ground on the brewery in June of 2010.
    Your brewery Baxter Brewing was the first craft brewery in New England to offer all of your beers in cans. Why did you decided to can your beers?
    We can our beer for three reasons. First, cans are better for the environment. Our cans, manufactured at Ball Corp., are made of 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum, and are infinitely recyclable. Americans are at least twice as likely to recycle aluminum as they are glass, so our packaging will continue to help the environment. Lastly, cans require less energy to create than glass bottles and less fuel to ship to the brewery, since empty cans weigh far less than empty bottles. Secondly, cans are better for the beer. The beer in our cans has never seen UV light, which spells death for fresh beer. Every glass bottle, regardless of its color, will let UV light in over time, resulting in “skunked” beer. Anything you drink from a glass bottle will be less fresh than the same beer in a can. Our dissolved oxygen levels are much lower than similar beers in bottles (helping the beer maintain freshness) and our packaging cools down much faster, so you can be drinking the beer sooner! Third, but not least, cans can go where glass cannot. The park, the pool, the beach, the golf course, the disc golf course, the sailboat, camping, hiking, fishing, or just lounging in the hammock. Think about it, cans can go where glass cannot.
    You distribute your beers to Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Vermont do you have any plans to distribute your beer to any other states in the future? 
    We’ve been kicking a few tires lately with distributors in some major markets on the east coast, but aren’t quite ready to go into detail.  And we certainly won’t be making any of those moves until we get through this summer (we recently finished a $2 Million, 400% expansion, and need to make sure our home markets have all the beer they want before we start talking to anyone new).

    You recently came out with a new beer Tarnation California-Style Lager. Do you have any plans to release any new beers in the future?

    We released a VERY limited collaboration beer this week—Daughters of Poseidon—which we brewed with our friends at DC Brau brewing in Washington DC.  DC Brau is the first brewery in the District (where I lived until I was 8, when I moved to Maine) since prohibition; cans their entire line of beers too; and opened just a few months after we did, so we have a lot in common.  The beer is a hefty (8% ABV) black IPA, brewed with Oysters.  We brewed the Maine version with oysters from Glidden Point in Damariscotta, ME and they brewed with Chesapeake Bay oysters from northern Virginia.
    We’ll have another limited release, a Double IPA, coming out in October; a holiday-themed beer released just after Thanksgiving; and a spring seasonal on the shelves in the first quarter of 2015.  So yeah, you could say we’re keeping quite busy J

    What is the most popular that you brew?

    Our “flagship” beer, as much as I hate that phrase, is Stowaway IPA.  It does account for 60% of our total production and is the number one best-selling India Pale Ale in the state of Maine!  But the initial sales rate and rate of growth of Tarnation is definitely well-surpassed our expectations.  It’s off to an incredible start!
    I like the names of your beers and your can designs. Who comes up with the names of your beers and your can designs?
    The names have definitely been a collective process; we let everyone at Baxter (there are 27 of us now) throw ideas into the ring and, although I’ve done most of the naming, plenty of people have contributed to the process.  All of our design work to-date has been done by a freelance Maine designer, and close friend of the brewery’s, Josh Fisher.
    You recently brewed a collaboration beer called Daughters of Poseidon with Brandon Skall, founder of DC Brau. Can you tell us how this partnership came about?
    As mentioned above, there’s a lot of symmetry between our two breweries.  We got together over beers at the 2013 American Craft Beer Festival in Boston and decided we wanted to brew a collaboration beer together.  We wanted to make something with an ingredient well-known in both regions (New England and the Mid Atlantic) and immediate thought of seafood.  We joked about crustaceans—lobsters and crabs—but knowing that wasn’t feasible, we landed on oysters pretty quickly. Oyster stout is a fairly common style but since both Baxter and DC Brau love pushing the boundaries and we were pretty sure no one had ever put oysters in an IPA, we had to go there.

    Why do you think collaborations in the craft beer world have been so popular recently?
    I think they’re a lot of fun for both brewer and consumer alike. It’s a great time, from our end, to work with other brewers to craft recipes, brands, names, designs, etc. and both parties (or more) usually learn a great deal from one another through that process. It just further exemplifies the comradery and collaborative nature of our industry as a whole.  From the consumer stand-point, it offers a new and usually limited-in-volume beer that is really fun to explore, learn about, collect, etc.  It’s a win-win.
    If you could have a dream six pack, what beers would be in your dream six pack?
    I’ll pick only beers that aren’t one-off or one-time productions and aren’t Baxter beers, to make it a little easier… the 6 beers in my dream 6-pack (and please know that this could change at any given time, as I continue to discover new beers—I’m still a beer drinker at heart and love finding new things—and as the seasons and moods change) would be, 1. Allagash Curieux; 2. Alaska Smoked Porter; 3. Something from Cantillion, possibly either Lou Pepe Kriek or Rosé De Gambrinus; 4. Dieu Du Ciel Péché Mortel; 5. Founders KBS; and 6. and, yeah, probably Westvleteren 12. It is just that good.
    Your bio states that you are an excellent juggler. What can you juggle and how many of items can you juggle at one time?
    I used to be much better. I used to practice a lot more too. No coincidence. But I’m sure with a minute to warm up, I could still juggle 3 (with lots of tricks), 4 and 5 balls; clubs; rings; torches; use a diablo (“Chinese yoyo”); etc. When I was in high school, a buddy of mine and I had quite the routine going; we had the central Maine nursing home/birthday party/library/elementary school circuit cornered!
    If you could be a cast members in any TV show in the last 10 years which show would you be on and why?
    Anyone at all involved in Weeds, Californication, or Entourage. Because let’s face it, it’d be fun as hell to film any one of those shows.

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