January 11, 2015

Arkansas Untappd New Year Update

It's time for that little thing I like to do once a month where I check out how the state of Arkansas is doing on the Untappd app, and things sure are getting interesting. There was a pretty good jump overall in a lot of breweries monthly check-ins. More excitement for our beer industry? Better beers? People drink more during the holidays because being with their relatives is gut-wrenching? All of the above perhaps!

Let's get to it... 

Diamond Bear - 12,613 (496 monthly)
Core Brewery - 10,130 (589)
Fossil Cove - 4,487 (236)
Saddlebock - 4,410 (206)
Ozark Brew Co. - 3,357 (312)
Apple Blossom - 2,974 (242)
Stone's Throw Brewing - 1,818 (94)
Vinos Brew Pub - 1,620 (49)
West Mountain - 1,346 (56)
Lost Forty Brewing - 794 (544)
Moody Brews - 454 (86)
Bike Rack Brewing - 239 (79)
Blue Canoe Brewing Co - 196 (91)
Rebel Kettle Brewing - 77 (1)
Flyway Brewing - 57 (4)
Gravity Brew Works - 33 (10)

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

1. Core Brewery - 589
2. Lost Forty - 544
3. Diamond Bear - 496
4. Ozark Brew Co. - 312
5. Apple Blossom - 242

And what did we learn?

* Lost Forty is soaring! After their first full month, they're all the way up to 2nd in monthly check-ins and are climbing up the overall totals like an itsy-bitsy spider on a water spout!

* Core became the 2nd Arkansas brewery to eclipse 10K total check-ins!

* 2 of the top 5 monthly leaders are central Arkansas now, so statewide things are getting more leveled out.

* Moody Brews just released their 2nd beer, so with 2 beers on the market now it'll be fun to watch their numbers. Both are big beers though, so it's no like people are going to sit around and drink a 6-pack at once (but I sure do my share). Quality over quantity for these guys.

* Apple Blossom and Lost Forty bumped Fossil Cove and Saddlebock out of the top 5 monthly check-ins. The awesome collaboration with Moody Brews shows up as their beer technically in the numbers, since it was brewed there.

Great numbers overall, but Arkansas still has a long way to go. Here's some numbers for the sake of comparison. These are a few of my favorite near-by breweries:

Mother's Brewing (Springfield, MO) - 73,388 (2,925)
Coop Ale Works (Oklahoma City, OK) - 28,068 (1,284)
Marshall Brewing (Tulsa, OK) - 26,905 (1,254)

Those are just a few regional favorites. If you get into national powers, like let's say Sixpoint Brewery launching here this week...

Sixpoint Brewery (Brooklyn, NY) - 559,589 (15,074 in a freakin' month!)

So you can see we've still got a ways to go to run with the big dogs, but the Arkansas dogs are barking. Feed 'em!!

January 9, 2015

Beer School: What Are Hops?

Here's a great video from The Craft Beer Channel talking about hops. If I had made a New Year's resolution, it wouldn't have been weight loss or less drinking or to be a better person (puke) any of that crap, it would be to further my beer education. Of course. So let's do it together! I'll try to find and post more of this type of video.

Follow these guys on YouTube, they post a lot of great beer videos like this.

"Ever wondered what hops are, or where they come from, or what they do in a beer? Well wonder no more! Jonny tells you all from a Saaz hop farm in the Czech Republic. This is the first in our new mini series Beer School - teaching you the ins and outs of beer. BIG PROPS to Pilsner Urquell for taking us out there and to Mike of GoodBeerHunting.com for the amazing shot of the hops falling."

January 4, 2015

Last Night In Little Rock, Put Me In A Haze

To kick off this new year, we decided on a whim to hit all of the central Arkansas breweries yesterday and see what's up. I'm going to call it the "Central Arkansas Hop District" as opposed to whatever name people trying to make money selling t-shirts and such come up with. There are 5 breweries all within about 2 miles of each other in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock. Each offers something different, each is quite unique, each have their own charms and here's the kicker... they all make beer. See how this works?

I've done the Fayetteville Ale Trail a couple of times (all in 1 day once actually) and love it, but the difference is that around Little Rock the breweries are all packed pretty tightly. We actually are going to walk the entire thing often I'm sure, but yesterday's rain and cold made that not sound like much fun.

So we decided while finding something for lunch that Arkansas Ale House sounded like a good place to eat. And hey if you're having a beer at a brewery at noon on a Saturday, why in the world WOULDN'T you just hit them all? AMIRIGHT?

The new Diamond Bear brewery is really great. There is tons of room, free parking, really good food in the restaurant and a nice atmosphere. I had their Oatmeal Stout, a very nice version of the style. We hit the grandfather of Arkansas breweries, Vinos, next for a nice ESB, then Stone's Throw for a pint of their hot, hot, hot Chipolte Porter, which they're calling "Hawt"... for good reason. Great beer. Next we stopped by and visited with the great people at Blue Canoe over their milk stout, hit The Flying Saucer for a Saddlebock Java Stout (to keep the Arkansas theme going you know), then visited Little Rock's newest brewery, Lost Forty. These guys have just nailed it with everything they've done this first month. Excellent food, facility, atmosphere and oh yes... beer. I've called their operation "world class" and I mean it.

So there it is, the first of many days spent just wandering around the Central Arkansas Hop District. The beer lovers of this state should all do the same, and we actually saw many groups of people at multiple locations. Call some friends, make a plan, get a designated driver (or load the UBER app)... this is going to be HUGE.