Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Utah Legalizes Homebrew Beer
Utah one of the last states to change law legalizing homebrewing
Boulder, CO • March 25, 2009 – Yesterday, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. of Utah signed into law legislation that makes homebrewing beer legal. The "Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License" was sponsored by Representative Christine A. Johnson and made Utah the 46th state to legalize homebrewing. The US Government made homebrewing legal on a federal level in 1978. Since then all but four states; Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma have made homebrewing legal.
"Home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah as evidenced by the outpouring of support HB 51 received in the 2009 Legislature," commented Rep. Christine A. Johnson. "Many thanks to the American Homebrewers Association for thorough education, great committee testimony and association members who flooded elected officials with emails of support."
But it's not just homebrewers who are excited about the change. Jennifer Talley, brewmaster for Squatters Pub Brewery/Salt Lake Brewing Co in Salt Lake City, says the relationship between professional and amateur brewers has always been a tight one and legalizing homebrewing will allow this relationship in Utah to evolve and grow.
"Homebrewing is truly an art and most professional brewers I know were once homebrewing in their kitchen. Utah beer enthusiasts will now have the freedom to express their deepest beer desires through perfecting the craft of homebrewing in their own kitchens," says Talley.
The American Homebrewers Association estimates that there are approximately 750,000 homebrewers in the United States, including 7,000 homebrewers residing in Utah. Utah is the only state to have legalized homebrewing in the last ten years.
"With the successful passage of HB 51, Utahns can confidently assemble into homebrew clubs and organize competitions," states the Utah law student Douglas Wawrzynski, who launched this most recent attempt to legalize homebrewing. "Utah homebrewers are finally free to relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew."
"It has been an honor to work with the homebrewers of Utah to help legalize homebrewing in their state," says Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). "I can think of no greater cause for the American Homebrewers Association to take on than ensuring all Americans can legally brew at home."There is currently an active movement to legalize homebrewing in Alabama, and the AHA has heard from homebrewers in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Oklahoma who are interested in starting movements in each of those states.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association for American craft brewers and community of beer enthusiasts. Visit the Web site, www.beertown.org, to learn more. The association’s activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festivalsm; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience; American Craft Beer Week; Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 17,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.
I understand Farrar's bill better now: It's a compromise that was crafted with the help of BAT, soomething I didn't realize until I read this great article in Texas Watchdog. The basic difference: Farrar's bill would make the take-home beer part of a brewery tour package, whereas Burnam's would allow straight-up sales to the public. Presumably, that gives it a better chance of passing, which Burnam acknowledged, saying that he'd be happy with Farrar's bill as long as something allowing on-site sales gets passed.
But I said better chance, not a good chance. While BAT supports Farrar's bill, WBDT was still against it, and the latter is the more powerful lobbyist. Read that article and you'll get an idea of why it's still likely dead in the water.
I just don't understand WBDT's don't-give-an-inch mentality. When on-site sales for wineries was allowed, there was actually an uptick in sales for wine distributors. Do these guys really believe that I'm going to stop going to my neighborhood store and instead drive 53 miles out to Blanco to get my supply of Fireman's #4?
Hey, maybe I should start a series of hot-chicks-with-beer photos? Nah, I guess that's what Oktoberfest Girls is for.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Nearly all of Texas' microbrewery owners showed up and testified in favor of the bill, as did at least one distributor, but predictably, Mike McKinney of the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas spoke out against it, and made the really curious argument that killing this bill would actually be good for microbrewers, and that WBDT was just looking out for the brewers' best interests. No, didn't make much sense to me, either. The bill ultimately was left pending in the committee. (If you're unfamiliar with Lege processes, that means no action was taken; hopefully, it will be brought up for a vote at a later meeting.)
If you have Real Player, you can view archived video the committee meeting here. (You can download a free version of Real Player at www.real.com.) The portion of the meeting that pertains to HB 2094 begins exactly at the 54-minute mark.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Texas Beer and Chocolate Tasting during SXSWi
Sunday, March 15, 2009
5:00pm - 6:30pm
The Ginger Man
304 W. 4th Street
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This 1,300-word version is about one-third of the entire interview. Next week, I'll post the uncut version here on I Love Beer.
(UPDATE: Good news; I got my editors to replace the short version online with the long version. So if you have ADD, pick up a copy of the paper; if you're really interested in Spoetzl, go for the online version. I think the longer version is better; it was a really interesting conversation, and cutting it down to fit into the paper was painful. The goodness for teh intertubes.)
This one is House Bill 2094 by Houston Rep. Jessica Farrar (pictured), the sponsor of the unsuccessful on-site sales bill last session.
I haven't had a chance to talk with Farrar about this bill yet (I discovered it only about 20 minutes ago), but it seems much more limited than Lon Burnam's 1062. If I'm reading it right, it would only affect microbrewers (it only applies to those whose production does not exceed 250,000 barrels a year, whereas 1062 has no upper limit and applies to those that produce at a minimum of 1,000 barrels annually), and its sales limits are much stricter (Burnam's bill caps on-site sales at 35,000 gallons, while Farrar's puts the limit at 5,000). [CORRECTION: Whoops, I totally misread Farrar's bill — it limits sales to 5,000 barrels, not gallons, which means it actually allows much more than Burnam's: 155,000 gallons.]
Frankly, it seems like Burnam's is the better bill, so I'm wondering if she had some political reasons for such a radically different bill. I'd also love to know with whom she consulted (I'd assume Saint Arnold, her collaborator from last time, but again, I haven't talked with anyone about it yet).
Both bills have been referred to the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee; Farrar's will be heard by the committee on Wednesday, March 18. The hearing will begin at 8am in Room E2.016 of the Capitol, but there are nine bills listed before it, so it likely won't come up until later in the morning. The Burnam bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.
Not certain yet, but it's possible the meeting will be webcast live here.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
The taste is a little like the "98" Bavarian Amber special release of two years ago, although I liked that better. And I'll admit I'm detecting some malt complexity as I get a little deeper into the glass (hmm … as always, letting a beer like this warm a bit is the key to pulling out the flavor). Overall, though, I'm wishing I'd gotten the Commemorator 100 instead of the Shiner Family Reunion mixed pack, which is the only way to purchase Kosmos Reserve at this time (you get one bottle of it, along with a Black, a Light, a Hefeweizen, a Bock, and a Blonde).
Monday, March 02, 2009
The final tally:
96 (Marzen): 3 votes
97 (Black): 28
98 (Amber): 10
99 (Helles): 13
100 (Dobblebock): 27
New poll coming soon.