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Great American Beer Festival 2013 Tickets: SOLD OUT IN 5 MINUTES!

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t last long. I tried buying my tickets four minutes after they went on sale, and I was already having problems doing so. I took a look at the #GABF hashtag on Twitter, and discovered that there were many others complaining about the same issues. Others were saying that it sold out in under five minutes… Oh well, maybe next year.


The time is here, and as usual, it’s not going to last for long — Tickets for the 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival 2013 are now on sale. We are very excited about this years event!

Over the course of three days, October 10-12, you will have the chance to taste beers from 600 breweries around the United States, all in one place. Widely regarded as the number one beer festival in the United States, the Great American Beer Festival is definitely a can’t-miss event for every beer enthusiast.

Come out and celebrate the delicious creations of America’s top breweries. Stick around for one of the most influential beer competitions in not just America, but the entire world. For more information and other goodies, be sure to check out the official website for the festival.

Great American Beer Festival 2013

Times:

  • Thursday, October 10:   5:30–10p.m.
  • Friday, October 11:   5:30–10p.m.
  • Saturday, October 12:   12–4p.m.

Location:

Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street
Denver, Colorado

Tickets Include:

Every ticket to the Great American Beer Festival includes the following:

  • One Commemorative tasting cup and program
  • An unlimited amount of one ounce beer samples (close to 3,000 options to choose from)
  • Festival guide to help you map out and find your way through the convention center
  • Exclusive access to over thirty educational seminars. (limited seating availability)

Even though there are approximately 50,000 tickets available to the general public, this is an incredibly popular beer event and will sell out within minutes. Last year’s festival sold out within thirty minutes. If you’re still reading this, you may be missing out on an opportunity to get tickets. Share this post with all of your friends, and go buy your tickets now.

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An Introduction to the Confusing World of Beer Styles

A “beer style” or “style of beer” is typically a term used to categorize beers by considering a variety of factors. Common factors include the appearance, flavor, ingredients, origin, history, and production method. One of the first official styling structures was created by Michael Jackson, the writer not the pop star, in his 1977 book The World Guide to Beer. His work was advanced by Fred Eckhardt in 1989 with the publication of The Essentials of Beer Style.

Types of Beer

Unfortunately, there is no universally agreed-upon list of beer styles which can make it difficult to unequivocally identify certain types of beer. Along with the popular publications of Jackson and Eckhardt, other commonly used style guidelines are based upon popular beer competitions. They include the World Beer Cup, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program), and the Brewing Industry International Awards.

Styling by Location

The first way to determine the style of the beer is by looking at its origin. The geographic origin of a beer plays a significant role in determining what ingredients are used, what the original flavor profile is, and may affect the brewing process. For example, there is a noticeable difference between an American, English, and Belgian IPA. The same is true for all types of beers.

Styling By Ingredients & Brewing Process

Another popular way to determine the style of a beer is by focusing on the ingredients and the brewing process. Any number of ingredient combinations can churn out a different beer based upon the brewing process. Similar to styling by location, styling by ingredients in the brewing process can be difficult as well. It has become even more complicated with the introduction of hybrid beers.

A Breakdown of Common Beer Styles

With all this in mind, there are still a handful of different types of beer which are readily agreed upon. Here is a quick look at the most common styles found in the United States (from light to dark)

1. Pilsner

The pilsner is not only the most popular styles of beer in the world, it’s also the youngest. It is a light, clean and simple pale lager. Usually a light to golden yellow, the pilsner features a strong hoppy flavor that is both fragrant and slightly bitter.

2. Wheat Beer

Wheat beers are actually similar to some of the first brewed beers. They are a mixture of barley and wheat grains and have very little hops presence. They are typically cloudy in appearance and the range of flavors is significant depending on the type of wheat used. Traditionally, this style of beer accounts for many popular summer and spring seasonal brews.

3. Brown Ale

The brown ale typically has a dark brown or amber color. Historically, it is an extremely old style of beer whose history can be traced back to un-hot ales. They typically have a higher malt level which gives them an earthier and less bitter flavor. Brown ales may also have a slightly sweet flavor.

4. Pale Ale

The pale ale is one of the most popular beer styles in the world. Made by a warm fermentation method and pale malt, this style has a wide range of flavor and strength. In the UK, a pale ale has a strong malty flavor whereas in the United States it has more hops.

5. India Pale Ale

The India Pale Ale, also commonly referred to as an IPA, comes from the 1700’s when English troops lived in India. Additional hops were added to their typical beer to keep it from spoiling before their ship reached Indian shores. This style is known to have a strong hoppy flavor with a slightly bitter taste. The color of an IPA can range from a light golden yellow to a darker red amber.

6. Bocks

A bock beer is stronger than your average beer. This popular beer style has a robust malt flavor. The bock originates from German monasteries where it was used as sustenance during Lenten fasts, but is now commonly brewed all around the world.

7. Porter

Orginally brewed in London in the 18th century, the porter is a very dark style of beer. A porter includes roasted malts or roasted barley, and are typically mild beers with hints of chocolate and toffee.

8. Stouts

Stouts are always 100% opaque and are consistently the darkest beers. The head of a stout beer is extremely thick and usually brown. They have a controversial history, however it is widely believed that the stout style originally derived from porters. They feature a heavily roasted flavor and often contain hints of chocolate, licorice, molasses, or coffee.

What’s your favorite type of beer? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Things to Remember When Storing Draft Beer

Draft Beer

As we all probably know, draft beer is a brew that is dispensed from a cask or, in modern times, a kegerator. Because yeast and carbon dioxide influence its characteristics, knowing the right temperature and pressure plays a crucial role in the overall quality and flavor of your beer. Casks and kegs mediate these variables and cause the resulting draft beer to differ from beer consumed from a can or bottle.

Certainly, there are a number of qualifications that must be met for a beer to qualify as draft beer, and the success of each batch depends on the quality of the keg. Here’s three things to take into account when you buy and store your draught beer.

Temperature

Temperature, for example, is a crucial determinant of the taste of draft beer. The majority of the time, the beer inside your keg has not been pasteurized, so it’s important to keep it cold. From the moment you get it from the distributor until it’s empty, it’s important to maintain the proper temperature or you will sacrifice the quality of the beer.

When its temperature is to high, foam dominates the beverage because the higher temperature liberates carbon dioxide too quickly. This will cause your beer to foam more than it should, leading to a loss in flavor. Conversely, draft beer that is too cold retains carbonation, causing the beer to taste flat because the true flavor cannot escape.

The optimal temperature to store and serve your draft beer is right at 38°, especially for ales. You can go slightly lower without sacrificing the quality of the beer, but it’s not recommended to go above that temperature. Any reputable kegerator system should be able to maintain the proper temperatures in order to avoid these problems.

Pressure

Furthermore, a great draft beer depends on pressure, just as much as it does temperature. If the beer is kept at a pressure that is too high or too low, the over all taste and characteristics of the beer will be detrimentally altered. If the pressure is too low, the first few pours coming out of the keg will have excessive amounts of foam, and then gradually the rest of the pours will produce beer that tastes flat. On the flip side, too much pressure will cause the beer to come out of the keg at a faster pace than normal, and eventually produce beer that has too much foam.

Generally, the pressure regulator on your kegerator should stay at a consistent 10-12 PSI for American ales and lagers. Unfortunately, the proper amount of pressure may differ slightly between the various brands, styles and types of beer. Because of this, it would be wise for you to call the distributor from which you got your keg and ask what they would recommend.

Keg of Beer

Let It Settle Before Tapping

When you get your keg, try to be gentle with it. Try to limit how much you shake or roll it around. It’s always wise to let it sit idle for a few hours before tapping it. We all know what happens when you shake a can of beer and then immediately open it. The same principles apply to a keg, as it does a can.

Once you get in your keg set up in your kegerator, we would recommend letting it sit for at least an hour or two before drinking from it. This should be plenty of time to let it settle a bit. However, depending on how long it took you to get from the distributor to the kegerator, you may need to give it more time to chill a little long to reach the proper temperatures.

Takeaways

When it comes to draft beer, the flavor profile of beer is very much dependent on temperature and pressure. These two factors work together to retain the beer’s intended taste and aroma. Although there is an optimal temperature range that retains the qualities of draft beer, this may vary somewhat when you take the type of brew into account. It’s important to find the optimal temperature and pressure for your beer of choice prior to serving, and the distributor of that beer may prove to be an invaluable source of information.

What storage tips for draft beer would you add to this list? We’d like to hear your successes and failures in the comments below?

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House Essentials: Double Tap Kegerators

Double Tap Kegerators

Double tap kegerators are designed to store not one, but two kegs of your favorite beer. Just like a single tap kegerator, the double taps allow you to serve your favorite brews at the perfect temperature any time you want, with the added bonus of choosing between two brews.

Using a double tap kegerator is an ideal solution if you are throwing a house party, both large and small. Save your money and eliminate the need for beer runs in the middle of your party. Even if your guests don’t drink all the beer, the kegerator will keep your beer fresh for months to come.

An EdgeStar double tap kegerator turns any room in your home into your favorite pub. EdgeStar kegerators offers ultra-low temps, so you serve your brew at the perfect temperature every time. EdgeStar double kegerators are capable of reaching temps well into the low 30s. There’s plenty of brands of kegerators out there, and we even carry multiple brands on the site, but it’s hard to beat an EdgeStar.

For those who love to brew their own beer, the kegerators come complete with a conversion kit and two ball-lock cornelius kegs. These kegs are exactly what you need to serve up your own home brew at your next gathering. If you are not a brewmaster, or if you just like the taste of a beer already on the market, commercial kegs fit perfectly as well.

When it comes to EdgeStar kegerators, all of the parts are made in the U.S. and are NSF approved. Commercial-grade parts include a five-pound C02 cylinder, faucets, tap handles, regulator and a stainless steel draft tower. All beer lines and air lines are included, making it incredibly easy to set up your kegerator.

A double tap kegerator is a great addition to your man cave, game room, garage, kitchen or home bar. The ability to store, chill and dispense two of your favorite beers from one source makes this a versatile system that keeps your party going for longer. These full-size kegs are available in black or stainless steel, and look great wherever you decide to place them.

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6 Tips Everyone Needs to Know Before They Brew Their Own Beer

Home brewing has taken the nation by storm. The beer brewing competitions are fiercer than ever because there are so many more competitors. If you are just getting started then there are a few things you need to know. By learning the basics and creating good habits from the beginning, you will find the entire process easier, more enjoyable, and hopefully tastier.

1. Never Overlook Sanitation

Sanitation and sterilization are two terms you should respect immediately. Sanitation issues begin before you have even started brewing and don’t end until your bottles are capped. The most important time for sterilization concerns is the period immediately after you cool your beer. This is when bacteria and other infections are most likely to take over because the yeast has not yet started to ferment.

2. Cool Your Wort Fast

It is essential that you always try to cool your wort as quickly as possible. A fast cooling process will increase the fallout of tannins and proteins that are bad your beer. It will also minimize the opportunity for bacteria to grow. As an added bonus, cooling your wort quickly can enhance the clarity of your beer to ensure it is as visually appealing as possible.

3. Start with Darker Beers

Regardless of what your favorite type of beer is, the best place to start is with the dark stuff. Darker beers, such as porters and stouts are typically better at covering up mistakes you may have made due to their forgiving makeup and flavor profile. It is easy to get disheartened if your first few batches flop so don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

4. Just Like Cooking, Your Ingredients Are Everything

There is no arguing that high quality, fresh ingredients are essential to crafting the best home brew possible. It is also important to understand your ingredients. For example, you store fresh hops in your freezer without losing much freshness, but storing crushed grains and malt will eventually end in oxidation which will destroy the flavor. Some items you can store and some you can’t.

5. Opt for Glass Fermenters

A lot of home brewing kits include plastic buckets for fermenting. While plastic fermenters are an inexpensive way to get started, they should also be a piece that you consider upgrading down the line. Glass or stainless steel fermenters offer a number of significant advantages over plastic. Contents don’t stick as easily, so they are easier to clean and sterilize. They also provide a better barrier against oxygen which plastic can’t match because they are porous.

6. Always Think Long-Term

Home brewing is an investment. Anytime you make an equipment purchase, think of how it will work over the long run. Saving a few bucks today can cost you a lot tomorrow. If you are looking to upgrade, then there is a good chance you are in it for the long haul anyways so upgrade intelligently.

Home brewing is part art, part science and a whole lot of fun. The key to brewing successfully is thinking strategically, appreciating your ingredients and making decisions with the long-term in mind. Once you have the basics down, it is all about testing and tweaking until you discover the perfect beer.

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