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Zymurgy Magazine Announces 2018 Best Beers in America

ZYMURGY® MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES 2018 “BEST BEERS IN AMERICA”

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale Takes #1 Spot for Second Consecutive Year

Boulder, Colo. • June 21, 2018—The results are in! For the second year in a row, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was named number one in the annual Best Beers in America survey conducted by Zymurgymagazine. Now running in its 16th year, the survey asks members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), which publishes Zymurgy, to choose up to five of their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the U.S.

“As brewers, the members of American Homebrewers Association can discern the subtle differences between a good beer and an outstanding beer,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “Zymurgy’s Best Beers in America survey showcases which commercial beers are truly the best of the best out there, and all the breweries who made the list should be proud.”

Despite the plethora of delicious options available to beer lovers, the same two beers have been battling it out for first place for the past eight years. For the second straight year, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale bested Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, which had taken the top spot from 2009 to 2016.

“When I think about the elements that Bell’s shares with the passionate homebrewing community, the values that rise to the top include creativity, a meticulous attention to detail, and the joy of sharing thoughtfully crafted beers with friends,” said John Mallett, director of operations, Bell’s. “To be recognized for excellence by people who truly understand all that goes into creating and delivering quality beers and experiences to our communities is a huge honor. These values are true drivers for us all.”

Top-Ranked Beers (T indicates tie; *indicates small and independent craft brewer):

1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale*

2. Russian River Pliny the Elder*

3. The Alchemist Heady Topper*

4. Bell’s Hopslam*

T5. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale*

T5. Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)

T5. Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

8. Three Floyds Zombie Dust*

9. Founders Breakfast Stout

T10. WeldWerks Juicy Bits*

T10. Founders All Day IPA

Top-Ranked Breweries:

1. Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Comstock, Mich.*

2. Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.

3. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif.*

4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif. and Mills River, N.C.*

5. Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, Calif.*

T6. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.*

T6. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.*

8. Stone Brewing, Escondido, Calif.*

9. The Alchemist, Stowe, Vt.*

10. Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, Ind.*

Top-Ranked Beer Portfolios:

1. Stone Brewing (33 beers)*

2. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (29 beers)*

T3. New Belgium Brewing (24 beers)*

T3. Founders Brewing Co. (24 beers)

5. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (23 beers)*

T6. Avery Brewing Co. (22 beers)

T6. Hill Farmstead Brewery (22 beers)*

T7. Boulevard Brewing Co. (20 beers)*

T7. Trillium Brewing Co. (20 beers)*

T9. Bell’s Brewery (19 beers)*

T9. Deschutes Brewery (19 beers)*

T9. Odell Brewing (19 beers)*

T9. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (19 beers)*

T9. The Bruery (19 beers)*

T9. Three Floyds Brewing (19 beers)

The complete list is available at HomebrewersAssociation.org.

For homebrewers interested in replicating some of the winningest beers at home, the AHA provides clone recipes in Zymurgy and online, including Two Hearted Ale, Pliny the Elder and much more, which can be accessed via the recipes section of the AHA website.

Contact: Jacob Streiter, on behalf of the American Homebrewers Association, (646) 695-7047

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About the American Homebrewers Association

The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community since 1978 and celebrates a membership of 46,000 homebrewers. The American Homebrewers Association organizes events including Homebrew Con™ and the National Homebrew Competition. The AHA also publishes Zymurgy® magazine and offers the Brew Guru™ mobile app. The AHA is part of the Brewers Association (BA), whose independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA’s Brewers Publications™ division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Beer lovers and anyone interested in making their own homemade beer are invited to learn more at HomebrewersAssociation.org. Follow the AHA on Twitter, and join us on Facebook and Instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.
Beer 101

Batch Fatigue: Your Doctor Can’t Help You

Have you ever tried the latest roasted coffee porter on your friend’s recommendation, and there was no love at first sip? Have you sampled a highly anticipated sour red ale and let a “meh” escape your lips? 

It happens. Sometimes because the beer simply is not aligned with your taste expectations—which in Scottish terms is known as “crap.” But other times it’s because you’re suffering from a phenomenon we’ll discuss today, known as batch fatigue.

In its simplest terms, batch fatigue is when your palate gets tired of trying new flavors every week—or, for the more adventurous among you, every glass—leaving the avid beer drinker with a less-than-ringing-endorsement of the local brewmaster’s most-recent innovation.

Before you panic, know this: 

  •  Batch fatigue is a temporary condition
  •  It is not contagious
  •  There are ways to recognize it, address it, and possibly even prevent it*

*These claims have not been validated by a medical professional or even a reputable brewmaster.

Recognizing and Dealing with Batch Fatigue  

Thankfully, a blood test is not required to determine if you suffer from batch fatigue. It’s as much as a mental challenge as it is a physical affliction of your taste buds. So how do we recognize this insidious disorder? Let’s start with a few simple questions: 

Do you eagerly await the seasonal shifts of the tap menu of your local watering hole? Are you constantly seeking the latest releases at your local brewpub, sometimes trying 2 or more in 1 night?

If so, you, my friend, are a candidate for batch fatigue. Just being aware that too much of a new thing in a short period of time can overwhelm your taste buds may help you pace yourself more—not to mention giving you a reason to come back another night to try a flavor you didn’t get to the first time! 

Here’s another way to help recognize the concept of batch fatigue. Remember when your favorite band released a new CD? (or cassette, as the case may be) Chances are you played one song over and over, then listened to the album straight through once or twice. That’s because, deep down, you knew there was no way to absorb and appreciate 10 new songs all at once. (Unless you listen to Nickelback, where all the songs sound the same, but I digress…) 

Of course, over time, you dug into the rest of the album and found your favorites throughout—maybe even a few that were underappreciated by others. Same. With. Beer.

When you visit the best pubs in South Jersey, take your time and work through the latest releases the same way you would a new album. And if you start feeling like all of them are less-than-satisfying, you can ask yourself if batch fatigue is playing a factor (or if you just need to find a new brewery). 

Preventing Batch Fatigue  

So now that we realize batch fatigue can be a thing, what can we do to keep it from happening? One strategy employed by a certain beer aficionado with more than 30 years’ experience is to circle back to your top 10 list. Let’s see how this works:

Say you go to a festival and discover 3 great new brews that you absolutely must stock in the fridge at home. Great! Get one, drink and enjoy. Then go back and get an “Old Faithful”—a 6-pack of something from your all-time top-10 list. Once you’ve polished that off, (NOTE: this should not all happen in one day) head back and get new flavor #2 to try. Followed by an established favorite. And so forth and so on. 

What you’re doing is training your palate to expand slowly—building up muscle memory for your taste buds, if you will. Plus, you’re giving your brain a chance to compare something new against something you trust. Where does the rookie fall on the taste spectrum relative to the crafty veteran? (pun intended)

The benefits of this approach are twofold: first, it helps you make time in your schedule for the beers you enjoy most. Kind of like you do with the relationships in your life. Second, it adds a sense of anticipation, knowing that you’re going back for something new and exciting. Again, kind of like some people do with relationships in their lives. (Depending on the relationship you’re in, understand that this works better with beer than people.)

An additional benefit is that eventually—at least with the beer—you’ll make some comparisons that end up re-shaping your “best-of” list as a superstar newbie pushes out one of the old guard. And you will have implemented a strategy that ensures your taste buds don’t get fried along the way!

Beer 101 Podcast

The South Jersey Beer Scene Podcast: Episode 13-Homebrewing With The Presidents

Episode 13 of the South Jersey Beer Scene Podcast is Presidential!

We are joined by the Presidents of 3 of South Jersey’s Home Brewing Clubs Vince Feminella of The Monmouth County Homebrewers Association; Vic Sbailo of The Ocean County Homebrewers Association; and Eric Schmehl of Brew Jersey and also the owner of Fermented Food and Beverage Supply Shop in Hammonton.  The guys share their stories of how they got involved in homebrewing and how you can learn to do it at home!

This episode was brought to you by Dock Street Brewery and their refreshing Berliner Weisse “Summer In Berlin”.  This is a tasty session with lemongrass and ginger that is really refreshing and the perfect poolside beer for Summer.  Look for Dock Street’s Beer all over South Jersey or visit them in Philly!

Please check out our Patreon! www.patreon.com/southerseybeerscene

If you like our podcast please rate and review on iTunes!

Monmouth County Homebrewers www.mcha.club

Brew Jersey www.brewjerseyhbc.com

Ocean County Homebrewers www.ochomebrewclub.com

The Screwy Brewer www.thescrewybrewer.com

Fermented www.fermentednj.com

 

Beer 101

Hi! I Like Beer!

I would walk into a brewery with my husband and he would get greeted like Norm from Cheers.  Me?  A wave or a quick hello, if I was lucky.  But I refused to let this intimidate me. I’d take my tour, read the menu, and confidently order my beer.  I would hold up my glass to look at the color, I’d smell the aroma, and I would take that anticipated first sip.  Mmmmm.  Too bad a lot of women weren’t given the same chit-chat from the bartender as most men got over their selection, but times they are a changing.

Ladies, we know our stuff (or are trying to), and shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or strike up a conversation with the bartender, brewer, or owner.  I have heard plenty of men ask some pretty silly questions without thinking twice.  Worst yet, I have heard many a man go to order but says he doesn’t like “bitter beers”, doesn’t want anything “too heavy’, nothing “too dark”, and absolutely “hates sours”.  What the heck are you doing in a microbrewery then?  That guy wasn’t holding back, so don’t you. 

We all have to learn to speak up and feel comfortable.  Yes, many times the breweries are so busy that a conversation isn’t possible.  But with so many microbrews opening, you don’t have to go far to find a friendly face.  Don’t be afraid to ask about a beer, and don’t hesitate to ask for a sample.  These breweries are putting their heart, soul, and money into this passion of theirs.  They want you to enjoy your time in their establishment and learn about their product.  After all, we are all there for the same reason…a great beer and a good time.

Now Sit Back And Enjoy Your Flight!

Beer 101

Girls Take Flight with Karen-Sourpuss!

You walk into the brewery, take your tour, and go read the menu. You see Stouts, IPA’s, Ales, Lagers, Wits, and a …Sour? A sour beer? What does that mean? The brewer purposely made the beer acidic to taste tart? Hmmmmm…….

Bacteria are what give the sour beers their distinct taste. Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are the two bacteria that turn the sugars into lactic acid and increase acidity. Brettanomyces is wild yeast that balances the beer with an earthiness. So how do they taste?

At first sip, I thought, “Oooh, too tart!” But then I was asked by the brewer, “Do you like wine?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “Take another sip and think about wine.” Wow! He was right. The sour took on an entirely new profile. Comparing it to wine, rather than a sour or tart drink, had me appreciating it a lot more. It was crisp, clean, refreshing, tart and fruity. Yay! A brand new way to enjoy a beer.

Sours can be a great alternative to those who don’t love beer but do like wine. For me, they’re a brew to slowly sip and savor the flavor of just one. I must admit, I don’t regularly order a sour. Having it as a sidecar, or just asking for a sample is about my extent. This year I will stop being a sourpuss and find a sweetness for sours.

Now sit back and enjoy your flight!