December 30, 2014

Fayettevbrew's 2014 Year In Review (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1 last week, just click right here and catch up. I'll wait here.

You back? Ok, now make sure you follow this guy on Twitter, then move on to...

Part 2 of @Fayettebrew’s 2014 Year in Review

We are pretty spoiled up in Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas. There are now five breweries now in full production and a sixth one looking like it will join the community sometime early in 2015. This year, Bike Rack Brewing joined Core Brewing, Fossil Cove Brewing, Ozark Beer, and Saddlebock Brewery in the collection of local breweries located in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and now Bentonville. As for the sixth brewery, after a few quiet months, it now looks like Columbus House Brewery in Fayetteville is planning open in early February 2015. However, before we get there, let's take a look back at this past year of beers, expansion, and events from the local breweries in Northwest Arkansas!

 Bike Rack Brewing Co.

The folks at Bike Rack spent the first nine months of the year completing construction, securing licenses, and brewing pilot batches. Since then, they have wasted little time hitting the ground rolling and serving some fresh brews out of their Bentonville brewery. October was the big month for Bike Rack as they prepped their operation with a series of soft openings before a big Grand Opening Weekend to introduce themselves to the community.  As they get going, they have focused on releasing four foundational beers so far: their "FAST IPA", "Slaughter Pen Pale Ale", an American Stout, and "Urban Trail Golden Ale".

Core Brewing & Distilling Co.

Core’s growth continued in 2014, including one big new addition to the company. Now well established in the Northwest Arkansas area, Core hosted a trio of tap takeovers in January and would continue to host a variety of events throughout the year, including some brewmaster beer dinners with local restaurants. February brought an expansion to Core’s canning program as their Leg Hound Lager joined their ESB as being packaged in six packs of cans (the Behemoth Pils would later join the can retail lineup in June). In addition to participating in the St. Patrick’s Day on the Hill AR Stout Championship in March, Core won Little Rock-based Sync Weekly’s People’s Choice Bracket in their Craft Beer Tournament, which pitted local and regional brews against each other in a March Madness-style tournament voted on by Sync readers. The month of May saw Core heavily involved within the Fayetteville city limits as they participated in Foam Fest (bringing barrel-aged versions of their Oatmeal Stout and Imperial Red) and they hosted their own beer garden at the Block Street Block Party. The biggest news from Core came in September when they opened their Core Pub in Rogers, AR. The pub is a separate location from the company’s Springdale brewery and features 12 taps dedicated to Core’s brews. Then in October, Core was one of four Arkansas breweries to attend the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO. In November, both the brewery and the pub locations added a English-style hand-drawn ale tap and begun a weekly Firkin Friday program of releasing special limited release. Recent Firkin Friday releases have included a Double Chocolate Imperial Stout with vanilla beans and coffee and a Wassail. To give back at the end of a busy 2014, Core hosted a Toys for Tots donation drive at both the pub and brewery locations, offering discounts on pints for those who made a donation.

Some standout beers released by Core in 2014 included: the Wee Heavy Scotch Ale; the Hazelnut Brown Ale;  the Toasted Coconut Brown Ale; the Rye Barrel Aged Imperial Red IPA and Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout from the Fayetteville Foam Fest; Waterfall Wheat; the Firkin Friday series.

Fossil Cove Brewing Co.

Consistently exploring new styles, introducing new rotating series, and tinkering with fun Randalls/ infusions, Fossil Cove kept local craft beer enthusiasts busy with a creative lineup. They kicked off the year with the debut of their SMaSH series in January. By the end of the year, Fossil Cove had already rotated through seven versions of these single malt and single hop brews. In February, Fossil Cove co-hosted a rare event outside of their brewery walls - a Flight Night at Maxine’s Tap Room in Fayetteville. March brought the addition of a nitro tap to the brewery and the start of what looks to be a recurring Fossil Cove event: the crew from the Cove recruited volunteers for a clean-up along the Skull Creek Trail which runs near their brewery. The month of May was perhaps Fossil Cove’s busiest month in 2014. They hosted a release party and screening for the documentary about craft beer in Northwest Arkansas “Tapping the Ozarks” and co-sponsored two music stages and a beer garden at the Block Street Block Party. Then, to top it all off, Fossil Cove not only participated in the Fayetteville Foam Fest but also took home the People’s Choice Award for top brewery at the festival. Things did not slow down the rest of the year through: June brought the celebration of Fossil Cove’s second anniversary; in September they debuted a stainless steel growler for to-go orders; and in October they started their “Throwback Thursday” series with the release of the 2013 Pumpkin Ale which had been aged for a year on oak and vanilla beans.To round out a busy year, in November Fossil Cove played host to the first Arkansas Brewers Guild Tap Takeover event, which showcased nine Arkansas breweries.

Some standout beers from Fossil Cove in 2014 included: the Konga Stout brewed with coffee from the local roaster Onyx Coffee Lab; the Hoppy Wheat spring seasonal; assistant brewer Kort’s Orange Cream and White Stout one-off; the SMaSH series; and the Coffee IPA, also brewed with Onyx Coffee.

Ozark Beer Company

Over the course of their first full year of production operations, Ozark Beer Company quickly carved out a well-regarded niche in the Arkansas beer community. While they have stuck with their starting lineup of their Pale Ale, American IPA, Cream Stout, Golden Ale, and Onyx Coffee Stout (which was promoted to year-round regular after its initial run) since their opening, the OBC team began working in some limited releases in the second half of the year. The first half of 2014 was largely dedicated to the expansion of production at the brewery, although Ozark did partner with some other local businesses for special sale promotions. Like some of the other breweries in the area, 2014 kicked into high gear in May for Ozark: they started off by hosting a Red Cross relief fundraiser at the brewery for those affected by tornado damage in central Arkansas during the spring; they then participated in their first Fayetteville Foam Fest; they were officially added to the Fayetteville Ale Trail program; and began releasing Pale Ale in six packs of cans (they sold out of their first batch the day it was released). May also had some recognition come Ozark Beer Company’s way when they were named Southern Living’s Favorite Arkansas Beer. June and July saw a pair of events from the Ozark team - a tap takeover at Gusano’s pizza and Ice Cream Social (featuring ice cream made by Pure Joy Ice Cream using the Ozark Golden Ale and Cream Stout) hosted at the brewery. They hosted a second social in August. Prior to celebrating their first anniversary in November, Ozark expanded their fermenter capacity in September. Ozark Beer Company wrapped up 2014 nicely with a pair of events: they continued to make charitable contributions to community by hosting a NWA Food Bank fundraiser at the brewery by donating a portion of their pint and growler sales and they were a sponsor of the Little Craft Show in Fayetteville where they also hosted a pop-up taproom. Also in December, Paste Magazine listed Ozark’s Pale Ale can as one of the “Best Beer Can Designs of 2014” (the can was co-created with local studio BLKBOXLabs).

Outside of their regular lineup, some standout beers from Ozark in 2014 included: their Belgian Golden infused with hibiscus, raspberry, and rose hips; their mango and chamomile-infused Belgian Golden; their Fresh Hopped IPA; and their Extra Pale Ale.

Saddlebock Brewery

Regularly pouring about 15 or more beers on tap out at their brewery, perhaps no local brewery more ardently explores different beer styles than Saddlebock. To keep up with that level of production, Saddlebock completed two big expansion projects in 2014. The first came in July when they expanded to add two 30bbl fermenters to their brewery. Later in the year, in November, the second project was completed: the opening of a new tasting room out at the brewery. Saddlebock stayed busy with events as well. In addition to hosting multiple tap takeovers in Northwest Arkansas and in the River Valley area, Saddlebock participated in the following Fayetteville craft beer events: the previously mentioned St. Patrick’s Day on the Hill beer garden, Ales and Tails, Fayetteville Foam Fest, First Thursday, and Brews and Brats. In March, Saddlebock participated in a panel event on craft beer at Crystal Bridges and in July they co-hosted the White River Rendezvous with Fayettechill. October was probably Saddlebock’s busiest month; they attended the Great American Beer Festival for the second time; hosted their second anniversary party; and launched their mobile party barn service for events.

Over the course of the year, Saddlebock received a variety of awards and recognition. At the St. Patrick’s Day on the Hill celebration in March, Saddlebock took home the Arkansas State Championship. Then, in April, Saddlebock Brewery’s owner Steve Rehbock received an Arkansas Eco-Hero award for Saddlebock’s operations, including being the first sustainable brewery on a septic system in Arkansas. Lastly, in July, Saddlebock was recognized as Flipkey/ TripAdvisor’s “Top Brewery Worth Travelling To” in Arkansas.

Some standout beers from Saddlebock in 2014 included: the Maibock; the Oktoberfest; the IPA; and the Bourbon Vanilla Oak Porter.

As 2014 closes out, fans of locally brewed craft beer have a lot to look forward to in the new year thanks to the collection of breweries and brewpubs in Northwest Arkansas. This is a young, growing brewing community that will continue to treat its patrons to an expanding selection of beers as well as events and community outreach projects that will strengthen the roots each brewery/ brewpub has established. If you have not made your first visit to the local breweries in this area (or it has been a while since your last visit) I highly recommend setting aside time for a trip in 2015.

Here is to a great year in locally brewed beer and having even more to celebrate this time in the next!

December 26, 2014

Fayettebrew's 2014 Year in Review (Part 1)

Back in the Spring I had the good fortune of  spending a couple of days being shuttled around the awesome Fayetteville Ale Trail up in northwest Arkansas, and in addition to getting to drink gallons (no, really... gallons) of great brews from right here in our home state, I also got to meet some really cool like-minded people. One of them runs a fantastic and very informative Twitter feed under the handle Fayettebrew for the NWA folks and if you love Arkansas beer you really need to follow him, regardless of where you live.

December 23, 2014

Better Beer Authority Reviews Rogue Santa's Private Reserve

I haven't found this one yet this year, but it doesn't feel like Christmas until I get me some Rogue Santa's Private Reserve! Fun review here. Seek some out.

"Watch as Brian enjoys this holiday red ale on our latest Better Beer Authority Solo!"

December 22, 2014

Welcome To Arkansas: Sprecher Brewery

The next brewery to enter Arkansas should be Sprecher Brewing Company out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I hear we should expect them before the end of the year. Here's a bit more info about them.

Sprecher Brewing Company was founded in 1985 by Randal Sprecher, formerly a brewing supervisor at Pabst Brewing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From 1985 to 1994, the brewery was located at 730 W. Oregon Street in Milwaukee's Walker's Point area. Through the first ten years the company grew steadily as more and more people found out about Sprecher's high quality beers and sodas. Finally, the company had outgrown its original facility and began looking for a new location to continue its growth. In 1994, Sprecher purchased its current building, located at 701 W. Glendale Ave., a former elevator car factory. The new, larger brewery enabled the company to continue growing, and allowed more people to enjoy all of Sprecher's fine products.

Check out this YouTube video "Randy Sprecher gives us a look inside Sprecher Brewery."

And another about them expanding:

December 18, 2014

Best Christmas Beers 2014 from The Craft Beer Channel

I thought this was a pretty fun Christmas themed video for the beer lovers from the guys at The Craft Beer channel. Enjoy.

"Jonny tries out some of his favourite Christmas beers on the Brad, who casts his skeptical palate over them. We fall in love with Camden's barrel-aged lager and Achouffe's N'Ice, and learn that wax caps may look good, but need serious tools to open." 

December 16, 2014

Video: Bourbon County Brand Stout

I hope you guys all found some Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island this year when it hit here in limited availability. If you didn't, you probably don't want to watch this little video from them. I only found the "regular" version, but I did get a couple of 4-packs at least.

"Bourbon County Brand Stout was brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub back in 1992. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer."

December 15, 2014

Let's Check Arkansas Untappd!

So much going on in the beer world in our wonderful state lately, I think it's a good time to do my usual check-in on Untappd's numbers. I've added Lost Forty Brewing, which officially launched less than 1 week ago (and are BOOMING). I've also added the monthly entry in parenthesis, which seems to be the number of check-ins over the last month. I can't really find the exact definition of it, but that adds up I believe.

So check it out:

Diamond Bear - 12,008 (483 monthly)
Core Brewery - 9,432 (537)
Fossil Cove - 4,179 (215)
Saddlebock - 4,146 (275)
Ozark Brew Co. - 2,977 (233)
Apple Blossom - 2,700 (138)
Stone's Throw Brewing - 1,673 (130)
Vinos Brew Pub - 1,563 (61)
West Mountain - 1,281 (41)
Moody Brews - 351 (51)
Bike Rack Brewing - 140 (60)
Lost Forty Brewing - 140 (140)
Blue Canoe Brewing Co - 76 (54)
Rebel Kettle Brewing - 76 (0)
Flyway Brewing - 52 (4)
Gravity Brew Works - 23 (15)

Top 5 monthly check-ins for the past calendar month:

1. Core Brewery - 537
2. Diamond Bear - 483
3. Saddlebock - 275
4. Ozark Brew Co. - 233
5. Fossil Cove - 215

And what did we learn?

* Stone's Throw moved past Vinos on the overall list.

* Lost Forty has been open for 5 days officially and already jumped way up there in the list. I can't wait to see how their entire first month goes.

* Core is closing in on the 10,000 mark, the 2nd Arkansas brewery to do so sometime soon.

* Once again, 4 of the top 5 monthly check-in leaders are in NWA, but I think Lost Forty will be changing that when they get a full month.

* Some people up in Big Flat started checking in at Gravity Brew Works! Awesome. They more than doubled their check-in total.

* Moody Brews will be getting their 2nd beer out around Christmas, watch their numbers jump.

* Check-ins are going to be pretty slow for Rebel Kettle for the next 6 months while they work on getting their doors open, but expect an explosion this Summer. Led by yours truly.

* I'm hoping I'll be adding Noble Crossing Cider House, Spa City Brewing and Superior Bathhouse to the list soon.

Anybody I'm missing? Anything else you'd like to see here?

December 9, 2014

All You Need To Know About Summit Unchained 18 - Hop Silo Double IPA

Summit brewer Eric Harper discusses the game plan for his upcoming Unchained 18: Hop Silo Double IPA, Summit's first double-IPA, clocking in at 8.3% ABV. Hop Silo will be available in early March 2015 in kegs and 16 oz can four-packs. Yes, cans. This will be the first of the Unchained series in cans. Lots of neat stuff about this beer, so watch the video! 

December 7, 2014

Memphis Untappd

I was planning on doing an update to my Arkansas Uptappd posts this morning, but then decided I wanted to wait until Lost Forty Brewing officially launches this coming week so I can include their numbers and see how their first week goes on my favorite beer logging site. But since I was already in the mood I figured what the heck, I'll do something a little different and visit Memphis' excellent beer scene numbers on Untappd.

Only a 2 hour drive (when I-40 is actually moving) from Little Rock, I make a lot of trips to Memphis for one reason or another, but usually just to hang out and enjoy their great restaurant and music scene. Lately though their beer scene has made the trips even more enjoyable, not just from the great selection of beer available there which we don't have (Dogfish Head, Stone and Yazoo to name just a few) but from their recently booming local breweries.

Ghost River has been around for a while over there, but in the last few years 3 new craft breweries have popped up. No visit is complete unless I hit one of their local pubs like The Flying Saucer, The Growler or Bar Dog to get some drafts or hit Cash Saver to reload my Memphis shelf of the beer fridge.

Let's see how the Untappd world looks for their breweries as of today:

Wiseacre Brewing Company - 13,664 (1,302 monthly)
Ghost River Brewing - 9,312 (504 monthly)
Memphis Made Brewing Company - 4,957 (460 monthly)
High Cotton Brewing Company - 4,372 (242 monthly)

The first thing I noticed was Wiseacre already has more check-ins than Arkansas' leader Diamond Bear (11,839). Ghost River is just about to bust the 10,000 mark too. Overall having over 2,000 check-ins on local beers average on the month is a pretty good indicator of how their scene has taken off.

Glancing back through my Untappd check-ins from these breweries, here are a few of the beers I've ranked the highest from the city where Marc Cohn walked (with his feet 10 feet off of Beale):

* Memphis Made Soulful Ginger
* Wiseacre Ananda IPA
* Wiseacre Unicornicopia
* Memphis Made Plaid Attack
* High Cotton Belgian IPA
* Wiseacre Tiny Bomb

So step away from the BBQ on your next visit and seek out some local brews.  The King would be proud.

Also see: A visit to Memphis Made Brewing

November 30, 2014

Video: Discover Oklahoma - Marshall Brewing

Great video here from Discover Oklahoma on our good friends just across the border in Oklahoma at Marshall Brewing Company. I'm a big fan of these guys and their El CuCuy, Black Dolphin Stout and Big Jamoke are never far from being my next beer. I'm hoping if things work out I get a little road trip over there in January. In the meantime, this video will have to suffice.

"Marshall Brewing Company, Tulsa's first production craft microbrewery, which began operations in spring 2008. Marshall Brewing Company focuses on brewing full strength, hand crafted, top quality ales and lagers. Its business is based upon creating fine products with basic inputs -- old-world knowledge and experience, high quality raw materials and good old-fashioned hard work. Marshall Brewing Company's goal is to bring the art, quality, and enjoyment of craft brewing to Oklahoma."

November 29, 2014

Guinness – In Pursuit Of More

Another cool video from the people at one of my all-time favorite brews, Guinness: 

"From starting as a local Dublin Ale brewer to shipping porters and stouts as far as Kuala Lumpur, we've been on quite a journey. But we’re only 255 years into our 9000 year lease and we’ve got a lot more beer to make."

November 27, 2014

Well This Is Mesmerizing

I just watched this gif of a guy opening a case of beer bottles for 2 straight hours.

November 26, 2014

Homemade Stout Sausage Roll From The Craft Beer Channel

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I thought it was a good time to post something about food/beer, so check this out from The Craft Beer Channel to get you in the Thanksgiving mood.

"Jonny joins John "Food Busker" Quilter in Camden Market to cook up a giant beery sausage roll for the punters. Made with pork, apple, sage and Siren Empress stout, this recipe is a monster! And full credit to Jamie Oliver - it's based on his recipe from Jamie's Comfort Food."

November 18, 2014

Guinness – The Art Of Barley Roasting

Here's what I think is a a really neat video I wanted to share from Guinness about how they roast their barley.

"Roasting barley at Guinness is an art. Just a few degrees either side of 232° spoils the produce. It has to be perfect. That's what we strive for. That's what makes Guinness."

November 15, 2014

Video: Diamond Bear - Quick Tour of the Brewery & Restaurant

Russ & Sue Melton give a quick tour and brief history of Diamond Bear Brewery in N. Little Rock, Arkansas.

November 9, 2014

Summit Brewing's Unchained 17: Harvest Fresh IPA

We've only recently seen the Summit Brewing Unchained 16 in central Arkansas, which was Herkulean Woods (with Minnesota malts and maple syrup plus spruce tip) and I LOVE it. So yeah, I'm excited that we should soon get to see the next in the Unchained line from Summit, Harvest Fresh IPA. Check out this video for an intro to get you excited. Stay around at the end of the video for some bloopers. Great stuff. I wish every brewery would start doing videos like this for their new releases.

"Brewer Tom Mondor presents Unchained 17: Harvest Fresh IPA, a beer that involved Harvest Fresh hop pellets from Roy Farms (Moxee, WA) in first-wort hop, kettle additions, whirlpool and dry-hop; as well as wet/fresh hops of Gorst Valley (Michigan). "

November 2, 2014

Arkansas Untappd Update

It's been about a month and a half since I did an Untappd check on Arkansas breweries, so let's see what we got.

Here's September's update:

The bad news? Well, we've dropped 1, Tanglewood Branch, who closed recently. The good news? I've added Bike Rack Brewing, Rebel Kettle and Blue Canoe. Oh, I also dropped Refined Ales, well, just because. I'll be adding Lost 40 next time as they should be open.

So check it out right here below! The number in parenthesis is how many since my last update...

Diamond Bear - 11,222 (+872)
Core Brewery - 8,398 (+1,303)
Fossil Cove - 3,752 (+595)
Saddlebock - 3,715 (+518)
Ozark Brew Co. - 2,505 (+481)
Apple Blossom - 2,350 (+493)
Vinos Brew Pub - 1,451 (+96)
Stone's Throw Brewing - 1,440 (+253)
West Mountain - 1,210 (+115)
Moody Brews - 239 (+174)
Rebel Kettle Brewing - 76 (new)
Flyway Brewing - 46 (+24)
Bike Rack Brewing - 30 (new)
Blue Canoe Brewing Co - 21 (new)
Gravity Brew Works - 5 (+2)

So what did we learn?

* Core continues to have the most check-ins, by a large margin.

* Moody Brews nearly doubled Vinos check-ins for the period.

* Rebel Kettle debuted the highest of my new additions, mostly due to festival check-ins.

* Apple Blossom benefited on check-ins from getting some tap handles in central Arkansas. (I did my part!)

* Core Brewing might be the 2nd Arkansas brewery to crack 10,000 by the end of the year.

* 5 of the top 6 are still Northwest Arkansas breweries.

* Stone's Throw should be jumping over Vino's in the next update for #7. West Mountain may not be far behind.

That's a solid amount for Arkansas breweries overall, but we've got a long ways to go. For comparison sakes, here's Mother's Brewing numbers: 63,381 check-ins total, over 3,000 a month. That's just 1 brewery. We've got a ways to go. Start drinking!

October 30, 2014

Abscence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder?

Yeah, yeah I know... I haven't posted anything here in a month. But hey I have a valid excuse. I've been writing articles for the Arkansas Times, so that's taken my time away from this blog because, well, they have a lot more readers! So the word about Arkansas beer is getting out to a lot more people that way, which is my only goal. Our scene is really starting to kick ass, and I want the word spread, however possible.

So check it out over there on the food blog! Here's my posts so far to get you started:

October 7, 2014

Oktoberfest Fail Compilation

This is the ultimate Oktoberfest Fail Compilation 2014! Oktoberfest is the world's largest funfair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It has everything a fair needs: girls, beer and lots of Lederhosen! But as you can imagine, with huge beer consume comes huge fails.

More videos from Copy Cat Compilations here:

September 29, 2014

Ozark Beer Co. Expands

Exciting times at Ozark Beer Co. in Rogers as their first expansion is complete! By adding three new fermentation tanks, they have doubled their capacity. 

From their Facebook page: "This couldn’t have happened without the support of a beautifully vibrant and engaged community like ours in Northwest Arkansas. This special place and people understand good craft, hard work and great artisanship. It's truly exciting.

You can see more pictures and video of our expansion and current collaborations on our new blog at"

 Check it out as the Ozark team carefully unloads three new tanks and delicately maneuvers them into the brewery.

September 25, 2014

A Visit To Mother's Brewing Company

I was up in Springfield, Mo. with some buddies on Monday for a concert and was fortunate enough to get to stop by one of my favorite breweries in the Milky Way for a quick look around (thanks Holly!!) and see what fun happens on a Monday at Mother's Brewing Company. I've been to the brewery a few times, but only to drink in the tap room. I've never gotten to see all the tanks, hops and bourbon barrels responsible for the deliciousness that has only recently entered the central Arkansas market.

I got to try their Training Wheels, a light (3.3% abv) IPA which packs plenty of flavor for a low alcohol beer. Also had my first Mr. Pumpkin (of many now that it's here) and their DELICIOUS Belgian Apricot. 

I'll spare you any more of my giddy school-girl musings and just let you see some pictures. Hopefully you'll drive up yourself and go by some Saturday at 2pm, 3pm, or 4pm for your own free tour of Mother's. Check out their website for more info.

Amazing line-up of tap handles in the tap room
Current selection board, changes very regularly

Walking around looking at the labels on these made me really thirsty

Here's your 3 blind mice?

I highly recommend the Full Ride double-cheeseburger at Grad School down the road to soak up some alcohol, the excellent beer selection at Mud Lounge and finally Brown Derby Wine Center on your way out to stock up on lots of stuff we don't get here, like Southern Tier, Stone and Bells to name a few. I snagged a bottle of Bourbon-Barrel Aged Imperial Three Blind Mice myself
to return home with.

Brown Derby's Mix-A-Six

September 21, 2014

Arkansas At GABF By The Numbers

It doesn't take long to recap Arkansas' history in the grandaddy of American beer festivals, Great American Beer Festival, running October 2nd through the 4th this year in Denver, Co. But we're sending some big hitters this year to bring home some hardware as Apple Blossom, Core, Diamond Bear and Saddlebock all head to the mountains with some tasty Arkansas made brews in tow. With the state's craft beer scene really just beginning to take off in the last few years, it may be surprising to some that we actually do have a nice history at the festival dating back to our first medal in 2003.

Here's my historical breakdown, by the numbers...

1 - medal for Boscos Little Rock
2 - medals for Vino's Pizza Pub
2 - the most medals for 1 beer (Diamond Bear Pale Ale & Vino's Rock Hopera)
2 - the most medals in 1 year for the state (2007 & 2005)
3 - total number of gold medals for the state
3 - number of breweries in Arkansas to claim medals
5 - medals for Diamond Bear Brewery, the state's leader
6 - years since the state claimed a medal
7 - total medals for the state of Arkansas

(click to enlarge)

September 16, 2014

Blue Canoe Brewing Co. Looking For Kickstarter Help

Local brewery in planning Blue Canoe Brewing Co has taken to Kickstarter to generate some funds. They're trying to raise $10,000 for "purchasing an entire 3 barrel brewing system so we can brew enough to serve to more than just our friends. This includes: Mash Tun, Brew Kettle, and Hot Liquor Tank"

Check 'em out and do what you will.

September 14, 2014

Arkansas Untappd, Revisited

So I figured it was time to revisit my favorite app, Untappd, for stats from my favorite state, Arkansas. Interesting developments? Well, Diamond Bear became the first state brewery to top 10,000 check-ins. Core had more check-ins over the last month than anyone, and a newcomer entered the fray with a solid start of 65 check-ins in just over a week. But I'm getting ahead of myself! Let's start with the totals from last month

Number of Untappd check-ins (8/16/14):

Diamond Bear - 9,934
Core Brewery - 6,462
Fossil Cove - 2,880
Saddlebock - 2,852
Ozark Brew Co. - 1,761
Apple Blossom - 1,617
Vinos Brew Pub- 1,282
Stone's Throw Brewing - 1,046
West Mountain - 1,017
Tanglewood Branch - 466
Refined Ale - 27
Flyway Brewing - 22
Gravity Brew Works - 3

State's Total = 29,432

Now let's check it out 1 month later...

 Number of Untappd check-ins (9/14/14):

Diamond Bear - 10,350 (+418)
Core Brewery - 7,095 (+633)
Fossil Cove - 3,157 (+277)
Saddlebock - 3,197 (+345)
Ozark Brew Co. - 2,024 (+263)
Apple Blossom - 1,857 (+240)
Vinos Brew Pub - 1,355 (+73)
Stone's Throw Brewing - 1,187 (+141)
West Mountain - 1,095 (+78)
Tanglewood Branch - 484 (+18)
Moody Brews - 65 (+65)
Refined Ale - 27 (0)
Flyway Brewing - 22 (0)
Gravity Brew Works - 3 (0)

State's Total = 31,918 (+2,486)

So what did we learn? Well, almost 2,500 Arkansas beers were checked in this past month. Not too shabby. Saddlebock jumped over Fossil Cove for 3rd on the state's list.  Moody Brews jumped way off, especially considering it's been just 1 week and they have 1 beer available (the fantastic Half Seas Over, and 5 of those check-ins were me!).

Here's a cleaner look at the total check-ins for the month:

Core Brewery - 633
Diamond Bear - 418
Saddlebock - 345
Fossil Cove - 277
Ozark Brew Co. - 263
Apple Blossom - 240
Stone's Throw Brewing - 141
West Mountain - 78
Vinos Brew Pub - 73
Moody Brews - 65
Tanglewood Branch - 18
Refined Ale - 0
Flyway Brewing - 0
Gravity Brew Works - 0

Let me reiterate, this isn't sales by any means. It's just check-ins on an app. But I do think the Untappd app is a good cross-section of the current craft beer loving scene. 

And for now, 5 of those top 6 totals for the month are breweries in Northwest Arkansas. The central region is behind, for sure, but things could start changing soon with Moody Brews taking off, Lost 40 set to open and other new plans in the works. We'll see!

September 12, 2014

The Fayetteville Ale Trail Turns 1!

It's hard to believe, but the Fayetteville Ale Trail is all growed up now! Well, at least it's 1 year old this coming week. That's already longer than most Hollywood marriages. Actually it's 293 days longer than Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries shared marital bliss. And many places on the trail are dog friendly, so for them this is like a 7 year anniversary. But for you and I, it's 1 year, and what a great year it's been. This thing is getting bigger and better and not only will this week celebrate what's been going on for the past year, but it's another chance to see just how much potential to be something even more special it has.

Not that familiar with it? Well check out their website or take a few moments and recap my most recent run of the Ale Trail here if you wish.

There are quite a few anniversary events next week, so I thought I'd put some that I know about here together for you. Follow the Twitter feed and I'll keep things up to date on there as well.

Here's the official schedule:

Monday 9/15: Trivia at Ozark Beer Co. at 7
Tuesday 9/16: Screening of “Strange Brew” at Fossil Cove Beer Co. at 7:30
Wednesday 9/17: Bagg-o, Darts, & Ping Pong at Core Brewing Co. from 6 to 8
Thursday 9/18: *Birthday Bash at Apple Blossom Brewery from 6 to 8

*I believe the Apple Blossom event on Thurs is private invitation only so far, but  will open up some spots to the public on Monday.

Each night will have free cupcakes, food trucks, giveaways (t-shirts, frisbees, koozies etc.) as well as prizes for the winners on the game nights.Oh, also there will be beer. Yes, shocker, I know.

Northwest Arkansas, you are lucky to have something like this. So get out there and show some love for your Ale Trail!

September 11, 2014

Video: The Science of Beer

Is beer the perfect beverage? Let's see what science says on PBS's wonderful "It's Okay to Be Smart"... 

September 9, 2014

From the Colonial Tasting Bar: Moody Brews

Consider me a HUGE fan of the Moody Brews Half Seas Over beer. I picked up an 8-pack myself and have been easily working my way through it. It's just so easy-to-drink yet very satisfying for a hop head like me. More please!

Now check out this cool video posted by the fine folks at Colonial Wine & Spirits in West Little Rock from their tasting and launch:

"Moody Brews founder Josiah Moody visits the Colonial Tasting Bar with Half Seas Over, his first Imperial IPA!" 

August 28, 2014

Carlton Draught's Epic Big Beer Commercial

I'm just now seeing this, and it may very well be my favorite beer ad. Australian beer ads don't mess around! Love it.

August 26, 2014

Home Invasion Pic

OK, we have our first entry! Well, sort of. Here it is...
Pretty awesome... but if you don't know, that's my wife. So yeah, not eligible. But you are dammit! Get that pic with some Mother's and tweet it with hashtag #MothersHomeInvasion! And I'll stop yelling.

August 20, 2014

Beer Song Countdown: Number 7

The countdown rolls on! We're at #7 and it's an Arkansas boy... Poyen, Arkansas' Justin Moore. His song "Beer Time" makes me smile for several reasons, but mainly for this part of the chorus:

Boys it's beer time,
this ol' town's dry
headed to the county line
for something cold.

Now THAT brings back memories. Great memories. When I first started drinking beer, nearly 100 years ago now (really), I was in a small dry town and as soon as that whistle went off at work it was often a mad dash to the county line (or Missouri state line in my case) where I'd see plenty of buddies and stock up on cold beer. Boys it's beer time!

Top 10 Beer Song Countdown

10. "Beer" by Psychostick
 9. "Beer Pressure" by Drankmore
 8. "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer" by Kevin Fowler
 7. "Beer Time" by Justin Moore

August 16, 2014

Arkansas Untappd, Ranking the State's Check-ins

I'm not sure how I lived without it now, but I have loved the Untappd app since I finally joined when I got my iPhone about a year ago (wasn't available for my archaic Blackberry). I like to keep up with what beers I drink, take a few notes, snap a pic and be able to look back and see what I'm drinking the most often and where. It's also a good tool to see what else all my friends are drinking and also the hot beers in the area.

So for the hell of it I've compiled a list of some of Arkansas' breweries to compare how many check-ins they've had on Untappd since it's inception. Keep in mind, some of these haven't even been open a year yet and some have only had a small amount of beer available. But regardless, here's how the state's current production breweries stack up as of 8/15/2014. Of note... Boscos included Memphis' numbers so I left them off. Several more breweries to be added in the next 6 months as well it seems. But for now...

Number of Untappd check-ins:

Diamond Bear - 9,934
Core Brewery - 6,462
Fossil Cove - 2,880
Saddlebock - 2,852
Ozark Brew Co. - 1,761
Apple Blossom - 1,617
Vinos Brew Pub- 1,282
Stone's Throw Brewing - 1,046
West Mountain - 1,017
Tanglewood Branch - 466
Refined Ale - 27
Flyway Brewing - 22
Gravity Brew Works - 3

State's Total = 29,432

Not too shabby for the natural state! I know I've done my part as several hundred of those check-ins are mine. Now get out there and pump those numbers up for your favorite brewery!

I'll revisit this list a few times a year to update.

August 13, 2014

I'm Giving Stuff Away!

Yay, my first Twitter contest! I've got a pack of some Mother's Brewing swag to give away so I came up with a little contest. It's pretty simple really, because I'm a simple guy. Just buy some Mother's at your favorite liquor store in central Arkansas during their launch week Aug 25th thru 30th and drink it. It's that easy! Well, one more thing, you need to take a pic and post it to Twitter.

What sort of pic? Well entertain and surprise me. It can be with your cat, underwater in your pool, around the fireplace, on the porch with your grandpa, chillin in the backyard during the sunset, paired with some food... whatever. Keep it G rated (or hey at least PG rated), post it on Twitter and hashtag it:


I'll pick a winner and presto... free Mother's stuff for you, sure to increase your coolness factor! Plus even if you lose, you still got to drink a bunch of Mother's beer so it's a win/win for you really. What's the risk?

So here's an example that I took, which sucks, I know. So you can do better... much better. Although I must admit this looks delicious.

August 11, 2014

Beer Song Countdown: Number 8

We're to #8 on the Top 10 Beer Song Countdown and it's a no-brainer. Here's the chorus:

Hell yeah I like beer
It gets me grinning from ear to ear
Not just every now and then
But I'm talking 365 days a year
I can do it around the clock
I don't like it just a little
I like it a lot
Even Hot
Hell yeah I like beer

This should be an anthem for beer lovers and how it wasn't the #1 song on every chart I'll never know. Amarillo, Texas' Kevin Fowler and his song "Hell Yeah I Like Beer" keeps our countdown moving.

Hell yeah, I like beer / It gets me grinnin’ from ear to ear / Not just every now and then / I’m talking 365 days a year / I can do it around the clock / I don’t like it just a little, I like it a lot / Even hot, hell yeah, I like beer,”

Read More: Kevin Fowler, ‘Hell Yeah, I Like Beer’ – Lyrics Uncovered |
Hell yeah, I like beer / It gets me grinnin’ from ear to ear / Not just every now and then / I’m talking 365 days a year / I can do it around the clock / I don’t like it just a little, I like it a lot / Even hot, hell yeah, I like beer,”

Read More: Kevin Fowler, ‘Hell Yeah, I Like Beer’ – Lyrics Uncovered |
Hell yeah, I like beer / It gets me grinnin’ from ear to ear / Not just every now and then / I’m talking 365 days a year / I can do it around the clock / I don’t like it just a little, I like it a lot / Even hot, hell yeah, I like beer,”

Read More: Kevin Fowler, ‘Hell Yeah, I Like Beer’ – Lyrics Uncovered |
Hell yeah, I like beer / It gets me grinnin’ from ear to ear / Not just every now and then / I’m talking 365 days a year / I can do it around the clock / I don’t like it just a little, I like it a lot / Even hot, hell yeah, I like beer,”

Read More: Kevin Fowler, ‘Hell Yeah, I Like Beer’ – Lyrics Uncovered |

10. "Beer" by Psychostick
 9. "Beer Pressure" by Drankmore
 8. "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer" by Kevin Fowler

August 10, 2014

More on the Mother's Brewing Launch in Central Arkansas

Finally! Here comes Mother's Brewing Company to central Arkansas. I've been drinking their beer for years and made a few visits to their brewery, but to have them here on our shelves and taps? Such great news. There's just so much liquid awesomeness coming from these guys.

So I've got a little more info on launch week (Aug 24th - 29th) and I thought I'd put it all together here for my reference, but hey you can use it as well. I'm a sharer.

Sunday August 24th - Mother's is sponsoring the fantastic party blues master Andy Frasco at Stickyz Rock n Roll Chicken Shack at 8pm. There will be some great music and your first crack at some of their taps to start the week (or end your week as it may be). I believe there will be 4 Mother's taps flowing to keep you hydrated while you dance.

Ongoing all week: Big Orange Midtown and Big Orange West are putting on taps all week long starting Monday. The Mother of All Tap Takeovers! Also various tastings at liquor stores around town begin Monday. Watch the Twitter feed for what's going on tap at the Big O's as well as liquor store tasting and such.

Monday August 25th - Industry only event at a top secret location which I could tell you about, but then I'd have to kill you. You could just go back to Stickyz or hit one of the Big Orange locations this night and drink their taps? Sure you will. Or hey, hit your favorite local liquor store as bottles should start showing up and have a home bottle takeover. In fact, take a picture and post it to Twitter with #MothersHomeInvasion and I'll retweet it and give some Mother's swag to the best pic of the week!

Tuesday August 26th - Mellow Mushroom in West Little Rock will have a firkin of Three Blind Mice brown ale with chocolate and raspberry added. Boom. On the north side, Old Chicago in North Little Rock will be having a pint glass night with 3 drafts.

Wednesday August 27th - The Flying Saucer in the River Market will have a mind-blowing 20 tap takeover. Yes, 20 f'n taps. Biggest tap takeover in Saucer history? I believe so. All sort of great brews you will not want to miss.

Thursday August 28th - A wonderfully paired beer dinner at Big Orange Midtown and I say this with all confidence despite not knowing the menu yet because Big Orange doesn't miss on these beer dinners. This is a must. Great beer is sure to be paired with great food.

Friday August 29th - Argenta Pub Crawl starting at 6pm at The Joint, then to Creegen's Pub, Crush Wine Bar and ending at Reno's. This should be fun!

There's more! Like I said I'll update the Twitter feed with liquor store tastings and such and fill in a bit more meat and potatoes like times and costs on all of these events at they come in. Keep checking!