Category Archives: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

One More Reason to Dig Dogfish Head

Dogfish Head for Life beer coaster

I’ve been drinking beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for nearly a decade. I remember the first bottle of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA I drank at an Irish pub called the Squealing Pig in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. It blew me away and sparked a love affair with hops and IPA.

I support Dogfish first and foremost because it brews great beer. But I also support the brewery because it’s a cool, socially responsible company with a sense of humor that genuinely cares about and values its customers. (Read, “5 Funky Facts I Learned About Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Book,” for more on Dogfish.)

Case in point: I purchased Dogfish’s new Spiegelau IPA glass the day it was released via Dogfish’s online store. Less than a month later, my glass cracked while I was hand washing it under very hot water. I didn’t drop the glass. I didn’t bump it. It didn’t shatter. It just cracked straight down its side, from the rim of the glass to close to the bottom of its “bowl.”

I tweeted about the incident, and Dogfish quickly responded, asking me to send details to its customer support account. I did so, received an email response within 24 hours and a new Dogfish IPA glass in just a few days.

Dogfish didn’t have to send a new glass; I honestly didn’t expect to get another one for free. Glasses break, right? Especially when people are drinking alcohol out of them.

That said, I also probably would not have purchased another Spiegelau IPA glass. I collect beer glasses. I own other Spiegelau glasses. I have other Dogfish glasses, and I have never had one break while simply washing it, without bumping it or anything. This makes me question the viability of the design of the IPA glass. Its features work just as Dogfish, its partner in design Sierra Nevada and Spiegelau intended them to. It provides an quality IPA drinking experience. But the glass is so thin along its rim that I bet I won’t be the only person to see their IPA glass break for no good reason.

Time will tell, but I’m still dubious. Either way, I appreciate the new glass. And even more, I appreciate the gesture of good faith. Thanks Dogfish. (Shout out to Janelle at Dogfish who responded to my email and quickly sent along a new glass.)

UBN

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Dogfish, Sierra IPA Glass Looks a Hell of a Lot Like Riedel’s Red + White Wine Tumbler

Dogfish Sierra Spiegelau IPA Glass and Riedel Wine Tumbler

UPDATE: Dogfish commented on the similarities between its new IPA glass and Riedel’s Red + White wine glass on a related post on A Good Beer Blog. Here’s what it had to say:

“Hi, all. Wanted to share some background on the development of the new IPA glass.

“At the earliest design and tasting workshops, Sam and Mariah from Dogfish, Ken and Brian from Sierra, and Georg Riedel sampled from dozens and dozens of glasses from Spiegelau/Riedel’s huge library. (You wine lovers out there know that Spiegelau has been around for more than four centuries, so there were a lot to choose from.)

“Traits of various glasses that boosted the hop aromas and flavors of IPAs helped inform the direction of our glass, but the final design came from carefully refining eight original hand-blown glasses. This wasn’t plucked from a shelf.

“The Red and White glass did stand out in workshops — but for all the wrong reasons initially. Our whole panel chuckled at the odd-looking base. However, after much testing it became obvious the function of the rolling base outweighed its fashion. The friction and surface area of those ridges aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass. Each member of our panel, voting without knowledge of anyone else’s opinion, favored the base.

“In later workshops we learned that the upper bowl of the Red and White glass was not best-suited to IPAs, so several one-off molds were made featuring different bowl geometries and dimensions on the rippled base. We labored over the right bowl diameter and flare angle to best direct and contain aroma for the drinker and finally came to agree on an ideal design. At that point, Spiegelau literally broke the mold. They no longer make any glass with the rippled base other than the IPA glass.

“We all agreed that the IPA glass also had to hold a larger volume, too. At 19 ounces, it not only accommodates a 12-ounce pour at home, but also a 16-ounce bar pour with plenty of head. The bigger volume dictated a thicker base, which also houses laser-etched nucleation. The CO2 rising from Dogfish’s tiny shark and Sierra’s hop boosts the aromas of IPAs and helps sustain head.

“We took our 50 collective years in craft beer, heeded the experience of a premier glass manufacturer, and created what we feel is an exceptional glass to enjoy IPA. We don’t expect everyone to love it, but wanted you to know that it’s not ‘off the shelf.’

“Cheers to those inspired to give it a try!”

This is a solid response from Dogfish. It was open and honest about using the Red + White glass design as inspiration, and it explained the subtle differences between it and the IPA glass. Again, the brewer initially represented this glass as something entirely new and different, and it clearly is not. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Dogfish or Sierra to explain that they got the design from an existing wine glass in their promotional blog post but some background information on the design process, like the information they shared above, would have been helpful and could have been posted on their online stores.

As I wrote in my post, this glass really does enhance the IPA-drinking experience, if for no other reason than it’s a high-quality glass that makes drinking an IPA feel more special. I like mine a lot. So it’s a good thing for beer drinkers willing to spend $9, plus shipping, on experimental glassware, even if Dogfish, Sierra and Spiegelau were a bit misleading when they introduced it.

Last week Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and specialty glass-maker Spiegelau released a fancy new glass, which Dogfish called “a new standard for IPA glassware.”

Well, the glass may be a new standard for IPA glasses, but its design apparently isn’t original at all. In fact, it looks remarkably similar to Riedel’s O Wine Tumbler Red + White wine glass.

The only differences between the two that I can see are the capacities—the Spiegelau IPA glass holds 19 ounces, and the Riedel glass holds 17 ¼ ounces. And there’s a “laser-etched logo on the bottom of the bowl to sustain carbonation and head” on the Spiegelau glass that isn’t found on the Riedel version. The Riedel version also costs about twice as much as the Spiegelau glass, at least on Amazon.com. (Dogfish and Sierra are selling single glasses for $9 plus shipping; Amazon.com has a set of two Riedel wine tumblers for $39.99 plus shipping.) And, of course, the Riedel version doesn’t have a Dogfish or Sierra logo on its side.

It’s also worth noting that Riedel owns Spiegelau. In 2004, Spiegelau was purchased by Georg Riedel, the owner of Riedel Glass Works, and it is now part of the Riedel/Nachtmann/Spiegelau Group. So Riedel owns Spiegelau, and it’s feasible that they would share glass designs.

I really like the Dogfish/Sierra glass, because it’s made of high-quality glass, and it’s different than any other beer glass I have. But I admit, I feel kind of misled by Dogfish and Sierra, who seem to have positioned their IPA glass as an original design. They never really came right out and said that, but they certainly implied it.

In the end, none of that really matters; the glass enhances the IPA experience, so it’s good for craft beer and craft beer drinkers. But something about how Dogfish and Sierra presented the new glass rubs me the wrong way.

UBN

A Good Beer Blog via BeerPulse.com

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Hands/Lips On with Dogfish’s New Spiegelau IPA Glass

Dogfish Head Spiegelau IPA Glass and 75 Minute IPA

Guess who just got a visit from Shippy Shipperton.

Last week I posted about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s fancy-schmancy new IPA glass from German glass-maker Spiegelau, and I promptly ordered one of the glasses. Today, my Spiegelau IPA glass arrived, and I’m currently using it to consume a frosty Dogfish 75 Minute IPA.

Along with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Ken and Brian Grossman, Dogfish founder Sam Calagione and his wife Mariah designed their IPA glass to have the following attributes:

  • Thin, round walls to maintain proper temperature longer.
  • A slender, bowed shape to amplify hop aromas.
  • Wave-like ridges to aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass.
  • A wide mouth, allowing drinkers to comfortably nose the beer.
  • A laser-etched logo on the bottom of the bowl to sustain carbonation and head.

Anybody who is familiar with Spiegelau glassware knows it is of exceptional quality, but it’s also extremely thin and delicate. The Dogfish IPA glass is no different, and I bet lots of clumsy and/or inebriated Dogfish drinkers will be breaking these badboys in the not-so-distant future. But if you’re careful with the glass, wash it promptly after use and store it somewhere safe, this fine piece of funky German glassware should serve you well in your adventures with hoppy brews.

Dogfish Head Spiegelau IPA Glass

The Dogfish Head Spiegelau IPA glass is kind of fucking weird looking. But so am I, so I’m okay with that. And I must admit this IPA tastes—and smells—pretty darn good right now. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Learn more about Dogfish Head’s nine-dollar, 19-ounce Spiegelau IPA glass on the brewer’s website. And you can buy a Sierra Nevada branded Spiegelau IPA glass for the same price on SierraNevadaGiftShop.com.

UBN

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Dogfish Head Releases Fancy New Spiegelau IPA Glass

Dogfish, Sierra Nevada SpiegelauIPA Glass

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s A Hop Eclipse Now promotion, as part of which it will release two new IPAs and a fancy new beer glass. Today the brewer took the wraps off the glass, which is made by German-glass manufacturer Spiegelau, and it’s calling the glass “a new standard for IPA glassware.”

Dogfish apparently worked along with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on the glass design.

“I’ve been a longtime believer in the importance of using quality glassware to enhance the enjoyment of quality craft beer,” says Dogfish Head Founder and President Sam Calagione. “The process of collaborating on the design of this hop-centric glass takes this concept to the next level.”

Dogfish, Sierra Nevada and Spiegelau IPA Glass

From Dogfish.com:

“Calagione, his wife, Mariah, and Sierra Nevada’s father-son team of Ken and Brian Grossman worked hand-in-hand with Spiegelau to bring this glass to life. Through a series of design and tasting sessions, the team created a glass with:

  •     Thin, round walls to maintain proper temperature longer.
  •     A slender, bowed shape to amplify hop aromas.
  •     Wave-like ridges to aerate beer on its way in and out of the glass.
  •     A wide mouth, allowing drinkers to comfortably nose the beer.
  •     A laser-etched logo on the bottom of the bowl to sustain carbonation and head.”

The glasses are available now online for $9 each at Dogfish.com and at the brewer’s Delaware brewpub. I’m a huge fan of all three parties involved. I own a set of Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur glasses, and I love them.  And I already ordered a pair of these new glasses.  To be honest, they’re kind of awkward and ugly looking. But I’m a beer-glass nerd on top of being a regular beer nerd, and I these new glasses will be a nice addition to my glassware collection. Can’t wait to fill ’em up with some Rhizing Bines IPA.

UBN

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Recipe for Beer-Infused Caramel Popcorn

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Beer Caramel Popcorn

Sierra-Nevada Brewing Co. just posted what seems like an interesting recipe for beer-infused caramel popcorn. I say “seems like” because I haven’t actually tried it. But how can you go wrong with beer, caramel and popcorn?

The Sierra recipe suggests you use the brewery’s tasty Celebration Ale, which is a very nice American IPA. You could use any brew of your choice, really, though dark, malty, spicy winter-seasonal ales will probably work best. Anchor Brewing’s Our Special Christmas Ale comes to mind. And beery caramel corn will surely make a nice addition to any beer-nerd holiday fête.

Here’s Sierra recipe for caramel popcorn with Celebration Ale, from its head chef:

  • 2 cups popping corn
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups toasted nuts (e.g., pecans, almonds, peanuts)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (e.g., cranberries, cherries)
  • Non-stick vegetable oil spray

Caramel sauce consisting of:

  • 1/2 cup Celebration Ale
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter

“In a large pot with a lid, add the vegetable oil and the corn. With the lid on the pot, cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot continuously for about 8 minutes or until all of the kernels are popped. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl and set aside.

“In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine Celebration, water, sugar, salt and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is dark amber—about 300 degrees. Remove from heat, add baking soda and butter and stir for about 30 seconds. Caution: This will produce considerable steam. Use a long whisk and avoid touching the top of the sauce pan.

“Working quickly and carefully, pour the caramel sauce over the popped corn. Stir to coat the popped corn evenly. Add the nuts and fruit. Pour the final mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Note: Caramel sauce needs to be hot to mix effectively. Be mindful of timing.”

Pop on over to Sierra’s website for some pretty pictures of the cooking process.

UBN

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Sierra Nevada Gets New Website, Targets Outdoorsy Hipsters with Overproduced Video

Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is doing a bit of rebranding, and it launched both a brand new website and an odd video about the history of the company to get the word out.

The website looks great, and the update was needed; Sierra apparently hasn’t updated its site in a decade. The video is cool, too…I guess. Sort of. But I have to ask, “Seriously, Sierra?” The clip is four minutes long and it’s packed with silly nature scenes and wildernessy, outdoorsman hipsters—outdoorsters?—who apparently love Mother Nature almost as much as they love a frosty Sierra Nevada.

I think the dudes at Sierra gave their ad guys the keys to the car, and they kind of just drove away with it here. Sierra Nevada played a huge role in the modern-day craft beer revolution in the United States, and it is still making great beer. That’s the message Sierra should be sending, not that its beer pairs nicely with adventure.

I drink a lot of Sierra Nevada beer, but I spend my days surrounded by concrete, bricks and glass, not rivers, sticks and grass. That video makes it seem like Sierra Nevada forgot about all the city-dwelling folks who are fueling the craft beer movement.

UBN

via MediaBistro.com

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Thankful for Craft Beer

Rodenbach Vintate Allagash Interlude Stone Enjoy By IPA Brux

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for craft beer. (I’m also thankful for lots of other things—and people—but this is a beer blog, so I won’t bore you with all that shit).

As I wandered around my local beer shop yesterday, stocking up for today’s holiday, I couldn’t help but feel happy about the current state of craft beer in my home state of Massachusetts and throughout the rest of the United States. I stopped in one of the liquor store aisles, surrounded by bomber bottles stacked so high I couldn’t see beyond them, and thought about how awesome it is that beer is finally getting the respect it deserves. Talented brewers are pushing the boundaries of beer making every day, and I, and all my fellow beer lovers, get to reap the benefits.  For that, I’m truly thankful.

What you see above is my Thanksgiving 2012 craft beer lineup. I plan to start with Stone Brewing Co.‘s fantastic Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA, then move on to the Russian River/Sierra Nevada collaboration wild ale, Brux. After that, I’ll either pop the cork on the Rodenbach Vintage 2009 or the Allagash 2009 Interlude; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

I hope you’ve got something special to sip on today, too. Happy Thanksgiving, beer nerds.

UBN

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The 24 Best Beers in America, According to Men’s Journal

Men's Journal Best American Beers

Men’s Journal just released a list of what it thinks are the best 24 beers made in America right now. I’m not a really a big fan of these “best of” lists, because everybody’s tastes are different and there’s really no “best beer,” but the Men’s Journal list is a good one. I also like how they tried to include a wide variety of styles and not just pale ales and lagers. I’ve tasted more than half of the beers included, and they’re all fantastic. My favorites from the list are Russian River’s Consecration, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 21st Amendment Back in Black and Stone IPA.

Here’s the full list from MensJournal.com:

  • Victory Prima Pils
  • Lagunitas Czech-Style Pils
  • Trumer Pils
  • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
  • Allagash White
  • Avery White Rascale
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Yuengling Traditional Lager
  • Sprecher Black Bavarian
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
  • New Belgium Ranger IPA
  • 21st Amendment Back in Black
  • Stone IPA
  • Alaskan Amber
  • Surly Coffee Bender
  • Big Sky Moose Drool
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • Jolly Pumpkin Barn Biere
  • Russian River Consecration
  • Old Rasputin Russian Imperial
  • Zonker Stout
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

UBN

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Dogfish Head and The Grateful Dead Announce ‘American Beauty’ Pale Ale, Solicit Ingredient Ideas from Boozy Deadheads

Dogfish Head Grateful Dead American Beauty Imperial Pale Ale

Yesterday, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery announced a new collaboration between it and The Grateful Dead, the 60s jam band that just won’t quit. (I didn’t even know that any of those dudes were still alive until Phil Lesh and Bob Weir sang the national anthem at the Cardinals/Giants MLB NCLS game on Monday.)

From Dogfish Head’s website:

“Working in that happy place between creative ideas and like-minded people, the off-centered brewery and free-spirited band have been trading ideas for a beer they’re calling ‘American Beauty.’ They’ve settled on a strong pale ale with all-American hops and barley, and now they’re asking their loyal fans to suggest a special ingredient – and the Dead-inspired story behind it.”

The idea is for Deadheads to suggest ingredients that have some sort of Grateful-Dead-related sentimental value to them that would work well in a strong pale ale.

More from Dogfish:

“Did you trade a bushel of fresh clementines for tickets to a two-night-stand at Long Beach Arena? Or maybe your dad first laid eyes on your mom sipping a cup of green tea in the parking lot of the legendary Cornell ‘77 show? Jog your memory, tell the story, and suggest the ingredient at the heart of that story. You could help bring this counterculture collaboration to life.”

I’m not a Dead fan, and the only two Dead songs I can think of are Scarlet Begonias and Casey Jones. I guess the begonias could work as a beer ingredient, but I’m guessing Dogfish won’t want to use cocaine. Deadheads interested in offering up legitimate suggestions should check the Dogfish website in the future for additional details. The American Beauty beer is expected to be available on tap and in bottles in October 2013.

Dogfish Head and its Founder Sam Calagione have participated in quite a few collaborations recently, including Liquid Breadfruit, which it made along with Maui Brewing Co., and Rhizing Bines, which it’s in the process of making with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The brewery has worked with other brewers on limited release beers for years, but it seems like Dogfish is ramping up its collaboration efforts.

For more on Dogfish and Calagione, read “5 Funky Facts I Learned about Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Business Book” and “Sam Calagione on the Difference between Beer Snobs and Beer Geeks.”

UBN

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The 10 Best US Brewery Tours, According to TripAdvisor

Allagash Brewery in Portland, Maine

Allagash Brewery in Portland, Maine

TripAdvisor, which bills itself as “the world’s largest travel site,” today released a list of the 10 most popular American brewery tours, based on its user “popularity index.” I’ve been on a number of brewery tours, including one at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, which is ranked fourth in TripAdvisor’s list. Unless you’re a brewer yourself and you appreciate the actual brewing equipment, a brewery tour is a brewery tour is a brewery tour. Sure, some of the facilities might be nicer, one brewery might make better beer and/or give out more samples and some have better gift shops. But in my experience, brewery tours are not particularly exciting.

Here’s TripAdvisor’s list, starting with the most popular brewery tour:

  1. New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins, Colorado
  2. Allagash Brewery – Portland, Maine
  3. Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour – Saint Louis, Missouri
  4. Samuel Adams Brewery – Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Chico, California
  6. Heinzelmannchen Brewery – Sylva, North Carolina
  7. New South Brewing – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  8. Boulevard Brewing Company – Kansas City, Missouri
  9. D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery – Pottsville, Pennsylvania
  10. Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. – Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
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