GSN Alert: August 7th – International Beer Day

Beer is  one of the oldest drinks the world has ever known. International Beer Day gives fans worldwide just one more excuse to have a round on the first Friday in August. Beer has a reputation as the drink of choice for the ordinary working man or woman. When it’s served up cold and frothy or strong and we celebrate International Beer Day on the first Friday in August every year – August 7, 2020 –, when summer’s end begins to loom large. The start of another weekend beckons us to put aside our work, set aside differences, and come together to celebrate our shared love of beer.

Beer somehow manages to do what politicians have tried to do for centuries – unite people in a common cause for good. Our insatiable thirst for beer gives us reason to pause; to stop what we’re doing, sit down and converse with one another over a pint or two. The conversation may be pleasant or not, calm or animated, but somehow beer makes it possible to agree to disagree and still walk away friends. Plenty of us have no doubt solved many of the world’s problems over a few pints of beer.

Celebrating mankind’s common thirst for what is likely the world’s oldest and most beloved beverage is what International Beer Day is all about. Humans have been fascinated with beer since the first grains were accidentally discovered to have fermented, producing a bubbly aromatic product that someone dared to taste then drink, did not die but instead felt a lovely little buzz, smiled and said, “Wow.” Mankind has been obsessed ever since with perfecting beer recipes and brewing processes in pursuit of the next “Wow.”

Beer has been consumed by almost every culture throughout human history. The oldest evidence of man’s obsession with brewing beer dates back to ancient Babylonia and Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have unearthed recipes for beer that were written on clay tablets in 4300 B.C., and ceramic vessels from 3400 B.C. that are still sticky with beer residue. Everyone drank beer in ancient Egypt: pharaohs, peasants, priests, even children, as part of their everyday diet.

What may be the first song about beer, “Hymn to Ninkasi”—an ode to the Sumerian goddess of beer—dates back to 1800 B.C.  and includes a recipe for a beer brewed by female priestesses.

By the Middle Ages, Christian monks were brewing beers, and introduced the use of hops. Until then, beers were brewed with local additives like dates and olive oils to add flavor. Today’s beers continue to be brewed with hops, herbs, or fruits that add flavor. Macro, micro, or craft, the art of brewing beer today remains a craft that employs age-old techniques carefully perfected over centuries and millennium.

Courtesy of National Today

GSN Recommends: Half Time Beverage

Craft beer and cider lovers who have been lamenting their lack of access to the country’s finest microbreweries can now have their favorite beverages delivered direct to their doors – even in the midst of a pandemic! Half Time Beverage is making that seemingly impossible wish a reality with a ready-to-ship assortment of its unrivaled selection of craft beers and ciders. 

The company also carries a lineup that includes gluten-free beer, mead, mini kegs, non-alcoholic beer, beer & cider gift baskets, gift packs, monthly clubs/subscriptions, hard seltzer, and malt. And for those who can’t decide, Half Time Beverage offers variety boxes that include IPAs, stouts, sours, Jooses and lagers as well as special holiday-themed boxes. Half Time Beverage delivers all these options direct to doorsteps across the United States. What’s more, all gift baskets, gift packs, and monthly clubs ship free. 

On top of the huge selection of craft beer, Half Time Beverage has become the go-to partner for event organizers in craft beer and has single handedly kept beer festivals alive during the pandemic. Virtual beer festival partners have included The Smithsonian Museum, Untappd, Hop Culture, Beer Advocate and others. 

Half Time Beverage also actively supports charitable causes including hospital support and Covid-19 relief and has given thousands of dollars in giveaways specifically for first-responders and front line workers. 

To learn more about how to have thousands of IPAs, lagers, porters, stouts, hefeweizens, pilsners, sours, cider and more delivered anywhere in the United States, visit Half Time Beverage online.

GSN Alert: Believe in Beer Fund

The Brewers Association has partnered with fundraising non-profit group Bottleshare to create the Believe in Beer Fund. The new fund will provide financial assistance to breweries and brewers guilds across the U.S. who are struggling to pay rent, payroll, and utilities during this pandemic. Brewers in need can apply for grants now through Bottleshare’s website. The organizations will be fundraising through May 17 (the end of Craft Beer Week) via the Believe in Beer Relief Fund GoFundMe website. A poll conducted by the Brewers Association earlier this month shows that craft breweries have been hit especially hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with category sales down 29%.

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 5

Nothing beats a cold pint at the end of a long day.  So, for Day 5 of the GSN Advent Gift Guide, we suggest the latest in beer-centric technology, the uPint.

Nobody likes warm beer or a broken glass. This double-wall, vacuum-insulated, stainless-steel pint keeps beverages nice and cold to the last drop, bringing off-premise pours to perfection. Inspired by the uKeg, it has the same sleek appearance and was made for beer on the go. An integrated lid with a wide-mouth opening allows for easy sipping, and durable steel adds to portability.

It’s been called “the holy grail of pints” by Coalition Brewing. While you can put beer in any insulated glass to keep it cold, the uPint was crafted for beer and comes in three different finishes to satisfy aesthetic senses.

GSN has a review of the uKeg here, which is the perfect pairing for the uPint. Why not pick up both this holiday season for the beer lover in your family?

For more information, click here.


GSN Alert: OktoberForest

oflogoYour Beer is Forest-Brewed

by Matt Miller

Quick, name the ingredients necessary for a beer: Water. Barley. Hops.

Those are the easy ones. But there’s another you might not have considered.


And we’re not talking just evergreen-inspired brews, such as Deschutes Pinedrops IPA or Rogue’s Juniper Ale.

No, it’s much more universal than that. Beer relies on healthy forests, because America’s forests provide more than half of our nation’s water.  And clean water is beer’s main ingredient (up to 95% of a brew).

Without those forests, it’s difficult to find clean water. And without clean water?  No beer.

The Nature Conservancy’s Chris Topik, director of Restoring America’s Forests, knows this connection well. He’s spent much of his career thinking about forest policy and working to ensure that forests are resilient and healthy.

And he knows beer. The son of German and Austrian immigrants, he started homebrewing in the ‘80s as an inexpensive hobby he could do while his kids were young. He and a friend began brewing beers in their kitchen in Portland – just as that city was transforming itself into the place craft beer lovers would come to call “Beervana.”

That’s why today Topik is helping lead the national OktoberForest campaign, a month-long celebration that partners breweries with their neighborhood forests.  Brewery patrons can help, too, by pledging to share information about forests with their friends and favorite breweries.

In many ways, brewing beer is more than a hobby. Topik recognizes it as a part of human history, a tradition that has brought people together for millennia.

“Beer is quite frankly one of the keys to the way society developed. Early on, it helped us preserve grains so rats and fungi couldn’t get it,” he says. “Beer is part of our human heritage.”

And so is clean water. “Healthy, resilient forests are vital in ensuring good, clean water,” he says. “Areas that can support a forest can support a stream.”

Forests prevent erosion and serve as filters. They are where headwater streams originate. Those little streams feed into bigger streams as they flow down a mountain, eventually leading to the basins that supply water for a variety of uses. Whether you’re drinking a mass-produced light beer or a super-rare farmhouse sour, chances are it originated in a small mountain stream.

In the West, more than half of the United States’ water supply comes from U.S. Forest Service lands alone.

Through OktoberForest, Topik believes we can help raise support for policies and funding that will help restore America’s forests, and ultimately the waters we use.

This is important because forest experts are watching concerning trends lately:

  • Last year was the worst fire season on record in the United States, with more than 10 million acres burned (larger than New Jersey).
  • The nine worst fire seasons have all occurred since 2000.
  • Forest pests have killed more than 150 million trees since 1990.
  • The U.S. Forest Service estimates half of the forested lands they manage are in need of restoration.
  • Without forest restoration, the U.S. Geological Service believes ash and sediments from severe fires will double in a quarter of all Western streams.

As Topik notes, restoring forests will support businesses beyond breweries.

“Beer is a water-intensive industry, but it’s not the only one,” says Topik. “The tech industry would have difficulty functioning without water. You need pure water to manufacture silicon micro-chips.”

In Colorado, MillerCoors is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to fund large-scale forest restoration in the Upper South Platte watershed that supplies drinking water to Denver; and Anheuser-Busch is supporting a forest restoration project in the Cache La Poudre River basin near their Fort Collins Brewery.

New Belgium Brewing Company (also in Fort Collins), one of the country’s biggest craft brewers, has been calling attention to the effects of fires on their water supply in major media outlets. In Bend, Oregon – arguably one of the best beer towns in the country – craft brewers have teamed together to advocate for forest protection.

As most readers already know, there is an unprecedented interest in craft beer in the United States. There are beer blogs, beer tours, beer festivals, beer magazines. The Great American Beer Festival in Denver in October is huge, with 750 U.S. breweries, which generated $21.9 million in economic activity last year.

American brewers today are pushing the boundaries with new styles, and aficionados meet to discuss the merits of different hop varieties.  It’s time to add forests to the mix.

“We need beer fans’ help with OktoberForest to restore our forests,” Topik says. “Even if you’ve never gone hiking in a National Forest, you benefit from those forests every day, with drinking water, wood products, wildlife, and air quality.

“And, of course, beer,” he added with a smile.

Visit to:

  • Pledge to OktoberForest— tell your friends and favorite breweries about OktoberForest!
  • Take the OktoberForest quiz— how much do you know about beer and forests?
  • Check out the interactive brewery map— how healthy are forests around your favorite breweries?
  • Read partner brewer stories— is your favorite brewery an OktoberForest partner?

GSN Alert: James Beard 2015 Bar & Wine Program; Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional Semi-Finalists

JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOG2015 Outstanding Bar Program

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, New Orleans
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Barmini, Washington, D.C.
Butcher and the Rye, Pittsburgh
Cane & Table, New Orleans
Canon, Seattle
Clyde Common, Portland, OR
The Dead Rabbit, NYC
The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., Philadelphia
The Hawthorne, Boston
Kimball House, Decatur, GA
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY
The Other Room, Lincoln, NE
The Patterson House, Nashville
Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, Portland, ME
Tørst, Brooklyn, NY
Trick Dog, San Francisco
The Varnish, Los Angeles
The Violet Hour, Chicago

2015 Outstanding Wine Program

A16, San Francisco
Addison at the Grand Del Mar, San Diego
Annie Gunn’s, Chesterfield, MO
A.O.C., Los Angeles
Bern’s Steak House, Tampa, FL
Casanova, Carmel, CA
Charleston, Baltimore
FIG, Charleston, SC
Hugo’s, Houston
Jory Restaurant at the Allison Inn & Spa, Newberg, OR
McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
Miller Union, Atlanta
Momofuku Ko, NYC
Press, St. Helena, CA
Sepia, Chicago
Spago, Beverly Hills, CA
La Toque, Napa, CA
Troquet, Boston
Wild Ginger, Seattle
Yono’s Restaurant, Albany, NY

2015 Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

Derek Brown, Mockingbird Hill, Washington, D.C.
Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Mike Floyd, Nick Floyd, and Simon Floyd, Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN
Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur, VA
Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren, Rye on the Road, San Francisco
Steven Grubbs, Empire State South, Atlanta
Charles Joly, Crafthouse, Chicago
Jim Koch, The Boston Beer Company, Boston
Manfred Krankl, Sine Qua Non, Oak View, CA
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, CA
Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco
Tom Peters, Monk’s Café, Philadelphia
Eric Seed, Haus Alpenz, Edina, MN
Aldo Sohm, Zalto Glass, NYC
James Tidwell, Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Irving, TX
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
Steve Wildy, Vetri Family, Philadelphia

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Beer Buster Cocktail

IMG_3059-800I’m not sure why this recipe is included.  It’s not even really a beer cocktail, just a slightly spicy high proof beer.  But, seeing as I have promised to make and review every cocktail in the Mr. Boston Guide, here are my thoughts.

Just drink a beer and skip this one.blah

Beer Buster
1.5oz 100-proof vodka
chilled beer or ale
2 dashes hot red pepper sauce

Pour vodka into highball glass and fill with beer or ale.  Add hot sauce and stir lightly.