IPAs are like…Hot Sauce?

So, on top of enjoying a good beer, I really enjoy hot and spicy foods. Fresh peppers, daring Mexican, Indian, Thai, Buffalo wings, and most of all, hot sauce! Some people would put me in the insane category. I eat things that can make grown men cry. I’m no tough-guy, nor am I trying to be when it comes to the tongue-torching things I adore. I’ve seen people devour foods so hot and spicy that I wouldn’t dare do more than a bite. Besides the fact that a good beer can help wash away your misery, what exactly does this have to do with beer?

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Can Craft Beer Afford To Play With The Big Boys?

As a self-proclaimed Beer Geek I often find myself checking out a restaurant’s beer list before I decide if it’s really where I want to go have a nice dinner or not. If you’ve ever looked at a Happy Hour list or daily specials at your local watering hole you are no stranger to the fact that Craft Beer takes a back seat to the big boys on the block. Mind you, I’m not talking about the tap rooms or establishments that pride themselves on local, state, and Craft Beer offerings in general. I’m talking about the places where they force down the American macro-lagers; Bud, Miller, and Coors (BMC). We’ve all been there when we see specials for $2 domestics or $6 buckets. Go ahead, ask for a Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada and get your bill for $5.75.”Oh, that’s an import.” they’ll say. Imported from where? Boston? California? Give me a break! Bars and restaurants have started calling these larger craft offerings “Premium”. In other words, not available for their specials funded my the big marketing machine of BMC.

I’ve always wondered if the Craft Beer industry can play by these same rules, or better yet, can they afford to? Continue reading

Beer Vegas

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Las Vegas, NV may be the adult entertainment capital of the world but it is certainly not the capital of Craft Beer. I just spent five solid days in Sin City on a business trip and surprisingly was unable to find a Craft Beer haven among the decadent and lavish resort world of amenities. From the Venetian and Palazzo to Caesars and Fremont Street big beer is king.

I had exchanged pleasantries with several bartenders and cocktail waitresses through the week. “May I get you a drink.” “Sure, do you have any IPA’s?” “What’s an IPA?” “You know, a Pale Ale. A Craft Beer.” “Oh yeah! We have Shock Top and Blue Moon!”

One evening I asked a Bartender for a Craft Beer. He asked me what kind. I tamed it down and asked if he had a Pale Ales. He responded, “No, all we have is Sierra Nevada.” Ugh!!!

Although I was eventually able to stumble upon a Sin City Brewing kiosk is a casino mall (pretty cool to get a plastic cup of Oktoberfest in a food court) and a Lagunitas IPA at a sports bar, Vegas is obviously dominated by high-profit watered down consumer beer products. Craft Beer as we know is a substantial cost difference as opposed to Bud Miller and Coors when purchasing in a retail environment. If I was giving away free beer to gamblers, I would also pick the least offensive cost product as well. But when the casinos are serving top dollar name brand liquor such as Johnny Walker, Cabo Wabo, and Glenfiddich why can’t they splurge and provide a little Craft Brew for the people who enjoy it on the poker tables?