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Tickets on sale for 6th annual Memphis Brewfest at AutoZone Park

December 16, 2014 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Events, Memphis

2015 Memphis BrewfestTickets went on sale Monday evening for the 2015 Memphis Brewfest, which is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, at AutoZone Park.

Organizers say the sixth edition of the Downtown Memphis beer festival may be the best yet, with new features planned. Among them: special tastings in some newly constructed parts of the stadium, along with a German Beer Garden on the right field deck.

The event, which is the biggest beer fest in Memphis, features international beers, craft beers and local homebrews. The festival will serve as the kickoff for the 3rd annual Memphis Beer Week, which runs April 18-25 (details coming soon on Beer Week events).

Tickets are $42 and can be purchased online now. The price goes up to $45 on April 11.

All net proceeds from the festival benefit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the Memphis Redbirds Foundation.

Memphis’ Wiseacre Brewing expands distribution to Nashville, will add 4th year-round beer

December 15, 2014 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Memphis

Memphis’ Wiseacre Brewing Co. is expanding its Tennessee footprint as it launches distribution in Nashville today.

Wiseacre LogoWiseacre, which is also adding a fourth beer to its year-round lineup, is partnering with BountyBev to send beer in cans and on draft to the Music City.

Kellan Bartosch, who founded Wiseacre with brother Davin in 2003, said they “feel great about our decision to work with Bounty.”

“They are small and only carry American craft beer, with a knowledgeable and passionate team working there led by (president) Kurt Strickmaker. As we get farther away from Memphis, it is important that we have people who know how to communicate about our beers and our story. Bounty is growing a lot in Nashville right now and are an important part of the way the beer scene is developing there,” Bartosch said via email.

“I should add that our distributor in town (Eagle Distributing) has done a great job and has been crucial to helping us have such a good start. Having good partners on the distribution tier can be a huge plus in helping breweries like Wiseacre, and we take the selection process very seriously.”

Wiseacre is planning special events this week in Nashville for its rollout. Check out the brewery’s Facebook page and Twitter feed for details.

Meanwhile, Wiseacre is adding a fourth beer to its year-round lineup: Gotta Get Up to Get Down, a coffee milk stout that’s previously been released as a special beer.

Gotta Get Up to Get DownWiseacre hopes to have the beer in cans “by the end of the year or early 2015,” Bartosch said.

Gotta Get Up to Get Down joins a year-round lineup that includes Ananda IPA, Tarasque Saison and Tiny Bomb American Pilsener, which recently won a bronze medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

“We wanted to offer a more malt forward beer,” Bartosch said of Gotta Get Up to Get Down, which features roasted barley, oats and plenty of coffee flavor.

“We heard more feedback about this beer than perhaps any other one-off we made in Year One. Davin made this beer … while he was a brewer in Chicago and won Best in Show at a festival, with 2nd place being Dreadnaught DIPA from 3 Floyds and Bourbon County from Goose Island getting 3rd. Both of those are in the Top 50 on RateBeer.com, so being awarded Best in Show by the Chicago Beer Society over those two is high praise as well. We feel really good about this beer.”

The label art for Gotta Get Up to Get Down — the words look like milk surrounded by steam from coffee — was designed by Rachel Briggs, the artist behind Wiseacre’s other unique labels.

“Milk Stouts use lactose sugar, which is unfermentable and provides a residual dairy sweetness. Unlike the connotations many people associate with the word ‘stout,’ these beers are medium-bodied ranging from 4-6% ABV with GGU2GD being medium-bodied and sitting right in the middle at 5%. So it’s a coffee milk stout, not a coffee stout,” Bartosch said.

“The oats in GGU2GD provide a silky texture and help provides a tan/brown head. The coffee comes from a specifically selected Ethiopian Natural Process Bean from the Konga region of Yirgacheffe, which is the roasted at Metropolis Coffee in Chicago. We could’ve used Folgers or some other random brand, but we’re getting amazing coffee and working with who we believe is the best coffee roaster in the U.S.

“Making great beer is about recipe formulation, great ingredients, great equipment, great execution and great packaging — they are all very, very important. There is a beautiful clean coffee flavor in this beer that’s not overly roasty acidic or acrid. Be prepared for a slight caffeine bump too, thus the name of the uppers of caffeine and downer of booze.”

Five facts for National Lager Day

December 10, 2014 By: mike Category: Beer learnin', Craft beer, History of beer

Fourth of July beer

Today is National Lager Day, a day for craft beer drinkers to celebrate this often under-appreciated category of beers.

Think lagers are boring? Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s Kellan Bartosch refuted that notion last year in this piece for craftbeer.com.

Bartosch, who would “take a well done lager over a poorly made IPA any day,” suggested that beers don’t need to be extreme to be good.

“The best beer drinkers I know enjoy every style and can pick out good and bad versions of each, including lagers,” Bartosch wrote.

So skip the IPA today and pick up a lager. There are many styles to choose from that don’t include American macrobrews. I’m particularly fond of Schwarzbiers and Märzens, but even a good old Samuel Adams Boston Lager (style: Vienna Lager) will do.

Speaking of, the brewers at Samuel Adams shared with us these facts for National Lager Day. Cheers!

1.) The word “lager” is derived from the German “lager” which means “to store.”

2.) Lagers are relatively new to the beer scene, first appearing in Bavaria during the 16th century; before that, ales were brewed for over 7,000 years because ales are easier to ferment.

3.) Lager yeast, as opposed to ale yeast, ferments (eats sugar to produce carbonation and alcohol) at cooler temperatures and, when done fermenting, settles to the bottom of the fermentation tank. Lager yeast also takes a longer time to condition the beer than ale yeast.

4.) Due in part to their clean, crisp character, lagers are sometimes incorrectly labeled plain and boring. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Craft lagers are flavorful and complex, and a number of different styles fall under the lager category and include Märzen/Oktoberfest beers, Bock beers like Maibock/Helles Bocks, Pilsners, Dunkelweizens, Rauchbiers, and Schwarzbiers, to name a few.

5.) Before modern refrigeration, brewers needed a way to keep their lagers cool during the brewing process. In lieu of today’s larger cooling tanks, German lager brewers of old sometimes cooled their beer in Alpine caves or in cellars dug deeply into hillsides.

FedExForum to host craft beer tasting nights during select Memphis Grizzlies games

December 08, 2014 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Events, Memphis

Memphis Grizzlies Draft Room

FedExForum will host “Beer Tasting Nights” during select Memphis Grizzlies games this season, starting with a SweetWater Brewing Company night during Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.

The beer sampling events will be held in The Draft Room, the new craft beer haven on the First Tennessee Club Level that serves beer from local and regional breweries, including Memphis’ Wiseacre Brewing Co.

On Beer Tasting Nights, you can buy a special club or terrace-level ticket that includes admission to the game, hors d’oeuvres, beer samples and a commemorative Grizzlies pint glass. In addition, you can buy a beer tasting-only pass for just $25. For more information, and to buy tickets, click here.

Here are the upcoming games featuring Beer Tasting Nights:

Friday, Dec 12 vs. Charlotte Hornets
Featured beer: SweetWater
Pricing: Club: $85 | Terrace IV: $40
Deadline to order: December 10

Saturday, Jan 17 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Featured beer: Goose Island
Pricing: Club: $105 | Terrace IV: $41
Deadline to order: January 9

Friday, Feb 27 vs. LA Clippers
Featured beer: Sierra Nevada
Pricing: Club: $150 | Terrace IV: $47
Deadline to order: February 20

Saturday, March 14 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Featured beer: Wiseacre
Pricing: Club: $85 | Terrace IV: $40
Deadline to order: March 7

Saturday, April 4 vs. Washington Wizards
Featured beers: All Brands
Pricing: Club: $105 | Terrace IV: $41
Deadline to order: March 27