Stone Adds Three

Xocoveza was thankfully spared the seltzer treatment, instead Stone Brewing is adding Tres Leches to the spicy stout mix for a limited time. The balance of the “hot” chocolate with the sweet of the addition should make for a swirl of flavors.

Double the Jack

Double Jack is back!

Double Jack was retired in 2016, but like cult TV shows fans kept asking for it, so Firestone Walker has brought it back to life like a Halloween movie for a limited time. I will be looking for the variety pack that it will be tucked into along with Luponic Distortion 14.

The Firkin for March 2014


This rant was started after reading about the sad Hunahpu incident earlier in the month.  (You can read about this mess HERE).

Instead of doing a post-mortem on that particular event I think it is time we took a look at how many more overbooked one-offs do we need in the craft beer world before we all realize that the old model doesn’t work? And instead of trying to be the little Dutch boy plugging leaks with ticketing issues, tapped kegs, downed servers or rowdy patrons at these “events”, it is time to look at the supply and demand.

Now I know that some breweries produce these special limited releases for varied reasons.  And that some of these specials become whales for varied reasons.  And those whales beget the special once a year blow outs.

But once they become whales, the old way of doing things must be abandoned.  Why?  A, because it draws a MUCH different crowd.  You begin to draw the hoarders, collectors and snobs in MUCH higher percentages.  People specially planned and flew to Florida for Cigar City.  Not to mention the curious onlookers and lookey-loos who follow the latest trends.  And you end up creating an event that cannot possibly meet the expectations of a MUCH different crowd than the usual taproom day and becomes too much work to handle.

You can simply ignore the rest of this post and hire an event company to do the ticketing, security, admission and everything else and have your party in a big enough space to handle the crowds.  And hope for the best.  Or you can make more foundational changes.

Here are my Supply and Demand inspired recommendations:

1.       Undersell tickets.  If you have five bottles of beer to sell, sell three.  If you have space for 5 people, sell three.  You get the picture.  I understand that sales are monitored for overflow now but now may be the time to really tighten the screws.  If it is a special beer you will be able to sell it later.  Or do a charity auction.  You can send it to the White House, President Obama likes beer.  If you are not choosing to increase beer production then you have to manually decrease the demand.

2.       Spread out the celebration.  Have a morning session and an afternoon session.  Or a Saturday session and a Sunday.  Then follow rule # 1.  The goal being to thin the herd and make runs on the keg or bottle allocations less scary.  If you saw the video from Cigar City, imagine if half that crowd was at home waiting for their Sunday session and not there.  It is simply another manual lever for reducing demand.

3.       Release the beer through other distribution channels.  Preferably in intervals throughout the year.  This is the supply side of the argument.  Go ahead and have your big party once a year. But also, like a release valve, package some three months later and sell it through your distributor to great accounts.  Put it on tap randomly at your taproom for regulars.  Sell it separately to your mug club later in the year.  It means making the event less of an event but that is how you also make the event more manageable.

Now some places choose to not grow to meet over pent up demand.  Others want the press.  Others believe that making more means that the beer will no longer be THE coveted one.  If that is the path that a brewery chooses then good luck to you running an event.  Because the love of craft beer ain’t going away.  And as much as you learn about putting events on, you are still, primarily, a brewery first not an event company.

Limited Release

A new beer show has arrived on Vimeo, it is called Limited Release. And it chronicles the craziness and passion of those highly sought after beers. They start with Kate the Great (which may be slightly less hyped since the head Portsmouth brewer has now left), they move on to Dark Lord and then to one closer to home, Black Tuesday.

They videos are a fun which I wasn’t expecting since I am not a big fan of these hyper hyped brews when there are so many other great beers out there. Nice chunks of history of the style of beer and the brewery. Check them out. It is much better than some of the new shows that will be airing later this year. Plus now you don’t have to brave the crowds.

Republic of Tea and Beer

“Made in collaboration with fellow brew masters at Republic of Tea, Peach Pit ale is a truly unique beer. It is a light rosy-gold color and has a satiny malt background which works to display rich flavors and aromas of bright spices and fruit from the use of whole-leaf Ginger Peach tea in the brew. The natural sweetness of the malt and peach is balanced by a light dry spiciness from the ginger and black tea.”

For all of you session beer fans or flavored beer category judges this may be one of those beers that you will either have to determinedly seek out or luck into. And if you are one of the imperial porter crowd then this beer is probably not going to be for you. I have had a chamomille beer from Rogue (Many years ago) and was surprised by how well it worked. Tea and beer should work as well together as coffee and beer in my mind so let’s hope more examples head our way.

Expect to see it under the name Sierra Nevada Tea Ale and not Peach Pit.


Sierra Nevada is fast becoming the big IPA game in town and today (in limited release) comes a Beer Camp Brew sure to please the lovers of bitterness.

Here is what the brewery says about it …“A group of hop-heads and publicans challenegd our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurrican of flavor. Simply put- Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped and torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.”