Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Craft beer is as American as baseball and apple pie. These days, instead of going to the local microbrewery, beer drinkers are making brews in the comfort of their own homes.

Growth of the craft brewing industry increased in 2009 by 7.2 percent in volume and 10.3 percent in dollars. With the economy still in recovery, many home brewers are selling their barrels of beer for additional income. The craft-brewing retail dollar value in 2009 was an estimated $6.98 billion, up from $6.32 billion in 2008, according to the Brewers Association. The number (1,595) of breweries operating in the United States in 2009 was the highest since before Prohibition.

Bottling beer is now a common home activity.

Thanks to the second edition of CloneBrews by Tess and Mark Szamatulski, beer drinkers can now make these favorite beers at home.

Magic Hat #9, Ithaca Brown Ale, Moose Drool, and Samuel Adams Boston Ale are just some of the 196 popular commercial beers that can be cloned. Revised, updated, and expanded, this second edition contains 50 brand-new recipes, fully updated mashing guidelines, and a food-pairing feature that recommends the best foods for every beer.

The new alternative to wine and cheese

Still not sure which beers you want to invest the hops, equipment, and time into? Try attending a local beer tasting to get a flavor for what your palate desires. Recently, at Nejaime’s Wine Cellar in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, a craft beer tasting was offered with beer and snack pairings.

Tamara Gardner tries an imported craft beer.

Beer and cheese are a natural pairing. Beer’s wide range of lively flavors can match virtually any cheese style. Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York, says semisoft cheeses go well with with their Rare Vos. Try a blue cheese with their Abbey Ale or a Hennepin with a semihard cheese. Hard Italian cheese can also be paired with the Abbey. If you’re planning a cheese tasting, beer makes a superb palate cleanser.

Will Shelton of High & Mighty Beer Co. and the perfect pour

Dedicated to old-world craftsmanship, craft brewers create ales of outstanding art and flavor. Focusing on the traditional, rustic, country-style beers, they don’t mind the home brewer and actually encourage the practice.

“This isn’t about snobbery; it’s about bringing people to the party,” Jim Marcyohiak of La Resistance, a local beer distributor, said.

CloneBrews, second edition, can help with any beer-making question. Whether it’s about brewing or what food to serve with your craft beer in a can, experts Tess and Mark can help.

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