Beer, Bars & Brewers #35

Happy Thursday friends! We can all agree that the weekend starts today, yes? This week we have news of Heineken buying the remaining 50% Lagunitas stakes, thus fully taking charge of the California-based no-longer-craft brewery, Camden Town brewery all set to open its £30m brewery in London, AB InBev is keeping all its South African hops for its own instead of selling them, and Serious Eats teaches you how to distinguish between bad beer and beer that’s simply not your taste. Prost!

Kick off Berlin Beer Week right, with the Craft Beer Dampfer Cruise. Taking place on July 21st, ticket sales have begun and you’d well advised to get your Early Bird specials now! The cruise will be around four hours and will offer 40 beers from over 40 local, national, and international breweries. Ships ahoy!

Heineken Takes 100% Control over Lagunitas

The drinks business reports that “Brewing giant Heineken is to buy the remaining 50% stake in Californian craft brewer Lagunitas, taking complete control of the brand”. Whoah. Back in 2015 Heineken bought 50% of the brewery’s stakes and has worked on expanding Lagunitas’ global presence ever since. It’s expanded the beer into markets in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, France, Mexico, Italy, and Spain.

Though the deal has been finalized both parties agreed to withold the final price. Heineken chairman and CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer said: “Our partnership with Lagunitas has been a great success and today’s announcement marks the next stage of an exciting journey. We look forward to accelerating the rollout of the Lagunitas brand to many more markets, and sharing Lagunitas craft beer with many more consumers around the world.” We’ll see who’s next.

Camden Town Brewery to Open £30m Brewery

In what is said to be “the largest investment in London’s brewing industry for over three decades” the Camden Town Brewery is set to open the doors to its £30 million new brewery in Enfield in July. The brewery was bought by AB InBev in 2015, this obviously enabled this massive expansion. Founder Jasper Cuppaidge responded to criticism that he ‘sold out’ saying that “to remain at the forefront of the “craft” movement and secure its future success it had “to build a bigger brewery, employ more people and gain access to an international distribution network”.

The new brewery will allow the company to expand its production to 400,000 hectoliters per year. It will be open to the public for weekend tours, as well as a beer school, and a bar.  The brewery is set to open its doors July 8th with a community party.

AB InBev keeping American Craft Brewers from Purchasing Hops

The world’s largest beer company owns a South African farm that grows particularly popular hops. “Instead of the hops going to independent brewers who previously purchased the hops, nearly the entire yield is going to AB InBev owned companies”. Well that’s what happens when a monopoly controls production, distribution, and raw material, as the Vinepair rightly puts it. Vinepair goes on to note that the South African hops that will make it into the U.S. will go to AB InBev owned breweries: Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Elysian, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Breckenridge Brewery, Devil’s Backbone, Karbach Brewing, and Wicked Weed. Cool.

How to Tell Skunky Beer From the Merely Funky

If you’re not 100% familiar with craft beer it can be hard to tell the difference between beer that’s truly off, to a brew that might just not suit your palette. In case that’s your problem, Serious Eats put together a easy how-to for ya’. While sour beers or ones that are bitter or have quite a high percentage are things that are sought out beer styles, a certain “dankness” isn’t something you want in your brew.

Anything that smells of popcorn butter, old vegetable peeling, shellfish, fresh paint, wet cardboard , old newspapers, or like a skunk should generally be avoided and has most likely gone off/was never good to begin with. Educate yourself and don’t be afraid to raise issues with either your bartender or purveyor. We all need to work on upping the quality available in the craft market, particularly here in Germany.


Foto: Photo via Tim Klöcker.

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