Hop Thirst’s stand on Big Beer.

@hopthirst on Instagram is one of my favorite accounts to follow, not only for the amazing floating beer pictures but also for his stance against “fake craft beer” and came up with this image after being sent a beer from a brewery owned by Ab in Bev. I also got fooled with the beer and didn’t know better until after I posted it. That really opened my eyes and hardened my stance Ive taken against big beer. Give him a follow!

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Article by @hopthirst –

As Thanksgiving approaches, the craft beer community is abuzz. Stout Season is upon us, after all, and with it, Black Friday releases; the most noteworthy of which is Goose Island’s annual Bourbon Country Brand Stout (BCBS) and its variants.

There’s conflict here, because the beer itself is (I will admit) phenomenal, but its origins are highly problematic. It’s combination of smooth, rich chocolatey flavor and dense syrupy texture set it apart from many other barrel-aged stouts, in addition to it’s relatively friendly price tag compared to similar quality BA stouts on the market.

The source of the conflict comes from the fact that Goose Island Beer Co is owned by Anheuser-Busch/InBev, (ABInBev), a massive mega corporation which owns Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Brewing, Shock Top Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, Devil’s Backbone Brewing, Wicked Weed, and many others. As a gigantic business entity, this allows ABInbev to wield enormous power – their distribution networks are far-reaching, prices more competitive than local breweries, and quality is maintained at a high standard.

Defenders of Big Beer (AB Inbev, SAB Miller/Coors, Constellation, Florida Ice & Farm Co.) insist that the most important thing is that the quality of the beers remains high. That is, it doesn’t matter if Budweiser owns Wicked Weed Brewing, so long as they continue to produce world-class sour beer. And hey, if they can distribute more widely, even better! Everybody wins, right?

Unfortunately, no.

In reality, the more breweries Big Beer snaps up, the more beers on the shelf are controlled by one giant mega-brewery. As a result, choice is replaced by the illusion of choice. Think, all the burger joints in your town have been bought up by McDonald’s, but been allowed to retain their name and branding, just the profits are now going into the corporate coffers, and creativity/innovation/menu changes all need to be approved by corporate. Further, now that McDonald’s owns all the restaurants in town, all the farmers are suddenly competing to sell to the same client, rather than dozens of different clients. This drives the price of beef down sharply, and benefits the corporation, but not the farmer, and certainly not the few stalwart holdout burger restaurants in town who refused to be bought out.

In the craft beer community, we’re talking about the market for malted barley and hop varietals. After AB InBev acquired SAB Miller last year, they immediately also acquired rights to first pick from the South African hop harvest, shutting out other craft breweries. See what’s happened? Even though these hops are going to subsidiary breweries like Wicked Weed, Elysian, and Goose Island, these breweries have all not only jumped to the front of the line to receive first pick for the best ingredients for their beer, but they’re also getting a discount as compared to an actual, local, community based brewer.

So how does this impact me, as a consumer? Sounds like I can get better, cheaper beer if I stick with the Big Beer brands! Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. If you continue supporting Big Beer with your purchases, you’re contributing to their ongoing expansion and takeover of the industry as a whole. The larger and richer they become, the more influence they have over hop and grain markets, and the more rigorous their lobbying attempts in congress will become in attempt to suppress the ability of smaller breweries to get started in the first place.

As true independent craft breweries are choked out of the marketplace, Big Beer consolidates power, and then as any large, multi-national business does, they make their product more and more generic, aimed at a broader and broader consumer base. As Big Beer gains control, the beers on the shelf in your local supermarket change to Ab/Inbev beers. Next time you visit the surpermarket, take note of how many beers on the shelf are owned by Budweiser. likely, it’s close to 50%.

Independent Craft breweries are essential in resisting this phenomenon. Beers like BCBS only exist because of the thriving craft beer community and Big Beer’s desire to capture its attention and dollars. But for every palatable beer that AB InBev produces, there are countless more from the thousands and thousands of local, community-based craft breweries across the country and across the globe, which work tirelessly to produce wonderful, unique beers full of character, creativity, and local flair. This year, let’s vote with our wallets to keep it that way. Skip the Big Beer offerings, and choose local, independent craft beer.

 

Craft Beer Joe and why he wont be buying Bourbon County Brand Stouts.

Why I Won’t Be Standing In Line For Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Next Week

For years, craft beer fans have looked forward to Black Friday . . . but it has nothing to do with cheap TVs or getting the “must-have” toy of the year.

Nope, they were excited to get their hands on Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout.

For those that don’t know, this is a high alcohol stout that’s been aged in bourbon barrels. It is a limited release beer that in in such demand that people line up to get it. It’s released the day after Thanksgiving each year.

And while I am a huge craft beer fan, I won’t be lining up to get Goose Island’s most wanted brew. That’s because I believe that Goose Island is preventing real choice in the beer market.

Here’s why:

Goose Island was purchased by Anheuser-Busch in 2011. This purchase started a series of independent breweries being bought by large corporate breweries.

While it seemed like “normal” business at the time, what we’ve come to see is acquisitions like this are detrimental to the craft beer industry. Large breweries like Anheuser-Busch have had their marketshare threatened by the increase in craft beer popularity. So to thwart this, they started buying craft breweries.

Once purchased, the small brewery’s products are scaled and mass produced. Then they use their influence and reach to put that brewery on retail shelves across the nation.

While this sounds great from their perspective, the reality is retail space is limited. When Anheuser-Busch increases the number of brands they own on grocery store shelves, it limits the room for other brands. That means your local and regional breweries have less space for their beer.

And when it’s time for someone to get forced out, it won’t be the 800 lb gorilla (aka big beer brands).

This is a huge deal; most of the beer purchased in America is at grocery stores. So if the majority of the beer offered there is owned by “big beer” then that is what the average consumer will buy.

And most won’t even know they are buying beer from a large corporation because the branding looks like it’s craft; because it once was. But most wouldn’t care about who owns it. They just want to drink beer.

So what does this have to do with Bourbon County Brand Stout?

I do my best to support local craft beer first. If I drink craft beer from outside my area, I try to ensure it’s from an independently owned brewery.

I avoid brands owned by corporate beer because buying their beer will only increase their ability to restrict options in the future. They now have a handful of different brands that appear to be from different breweries but they own all of it. It’s great marketing but I don’t think it’s good for the consumer.

Their goal is to monopolize the craft beer shelf space and I’m not ok with that. I want real choice because that is what drives competition and innovation.

We’ve gone decades with the same light beer options; craft beer is changing that but only if we support those that are truly driving new styles into the market.

Want to know who own’s who? Check out this list.

 

You can find more great articles and craft beer reviews from Craft Beer Joe at

Craft Beer Joe

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Anti Big Beer.

This year during Black Friday I will be at home relaxing, all while a large portion of the Craft Beer community is out hunting for Bourbon County. Before anyone can point it out, yes, I’ve stood in line for BCS and yes I’ve posted pictures on social media of BCS bottles. I have also decided to leave them up to be real and not try and cover up anything.

Today marks year 2 of boycotting Bourbon County and the big beer products. Now to go back a bit, the first time I ever stood in line for beer was for a BCS release. I remember thinking how fun it was, hanging out and talking with other people that loved beer and that BCS tasted amazing. I’m not knocking the fact that BCS isn’t a delicious beer because it is, Vanilla Rye is one of the best vanilla stouts around. Even though I started taking a stand and not supporting big beer with my wallet,  VR was a hard one to let go. I admit when it dropped again a few months back I fought an inner battle about buying it. Somehow I convinced myself that if I bought as much VR as I could find, I could in turn, trade it for all the Lambic that I wanted. ( I know the life of a beer trader ) That is what I ended up doing, telling myself  “well you are not drinking it, so that’s not really supporting big beer” looking back I can see how absolutely absurd that train of thinking was.

So what I am trying to say is, I am taking a stand against big beer. I am not perfect and I’ve slipped up and got caught in the hype of certain beers. I have been fooled and sent beer from fake craft companies that I failed to research before posting about it. I can say I am learning, I am doing my research,  and I am not supporting it with my wallet.

The paragraph below from Chris Herron CEO and Co-founder of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in Athens, Georgia really sums up my reasoning. The full article can be found on Good Beer Hunitng it’s a really great read and there are a ton of other stories & podcast that I fully recommend getting into on the Good Beer Hunting site.

“By purchasing regional craft breweries, squeezing their distributors on margins for those brands, reducing raw materials costs due to buying power, and centralizing business functions (i.e. reducing overhead, employees), AB InBev can influence a reduction in the price-to-consumers of that craft brewery’s beer, while increasing, or at a minimum holding, their margins. This downward pricing pressure accomplishes three main things: 

  1. It better aligns AB InBev’s “High End” craft brands’ price-to-consumer with the brands’ new brand equity (which got diminished when they bought the brewery), and
     
  2. It forces other craft brands to consider lowering their prices, and
     
  3. Most important of all, it shrinks the price gap between craft beer and their legacy “premium” brands, which over time will psychologically influence consumers to see those “premium” brands, as more in line with “good craft beer.”

 

I will be posting a few more articles written by authors that have been taking a stand against big beer and showing their view points. If you would like to have a piece put up on the Beer Zombies blog in support of or against big beer, in the craft beer industry please email me beerzombies1@hotmail.com. I always like to see both sides, so don’t hesitate if you do not agree to email me your thoughts.

Cheers, – Beer Zombies

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Beer and art drive Chris Jacobs’ career

Vegas Voices is a weekly question-and-answer series featuring notable Las Vegans.

Chris Jacobs is a longtime local bartender and creator of the Beer Zombies blog, which has reviews of beers (he rated Tombstone IPA from Tombstone Brewing of Arizona 4½ out of 5 zombie heads), a list of beers he’s trying to find, news from the craft-beer world and links to informational material such as The Roaming Pint’s Craft Beer Lovers’ Gift Guide.

Jacobs also has a line of Beer Zombies merchandise, including beard oil, glassware and T-shirts, and a Go Keg Flex growler he took on a hike to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

He also incorporates the Beer Zombies logo into his art, which includes murals in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

As for the name, it sort of evolved. “I’m a huge zombies fan, growing up in the genre of ’80s and ’90s B movies,” Jacobs said. When he started doing large-scale murals, he used the name We Are Zombies; Beer Zombies grew out of that.

A native of Redding, California, he moved to Las Vegas in the mid-’90s and has been a bartender at Blue Ribbon Sushi at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas since the resort opened in late 2010.

Review-Journal: How did you get interested in craft beer?

Chris Jacobs: I grew up in Northern California about 45 minutes away from the Sierra Nevada brewery, so a lot of industry and support and our local economy was just based on people who worked there. It’s something that’s been in my life for a long time.

RJ: What is the current state of the craft-beer scene in Las Vegas?

Jacobs: I’ve lived here since ’95 and for a long time it was a no-man’s land as far as that was concerned. The last few years we’re in this really exciting time, with different styles, and out-of-state breweries wanting to be here. Next month will be 20 years behind the bar for me. For the first 15 years, there weren’t craft-beer options. People who have a passion are getting to enjoy what other parts of the United States have for a long time.

RJ: How do you think Beer Zombies might further that?

Jacobs: I really try to use it as a catalyst to bring together people within the beer community. Vegas, for being 2 million people, is kind of spread out and small-townish. There wasn’t anybody who was writing about beer and seeking out beer and trying to do festivals. That’s my contribution to the beer scene.

RJ: What sort of large-scale art projects have you done?

Jacobs: I just came back from Honolulu, at Ravish, which used to be Morimoto. Before that, I was in San Francisco for a Pizza Rock. In Las Vegas I’ve done Pizza Rock Green Valley Ranch, Pizza Rock downtown, Banger Brewing and Park on Fremont. I actually got to do a live art piece at Alesmith in San Diego. They wanted me to be part of the community that was going on while people were drinking. It was fun, very interactive. I started when they opened and worked throughout the day.

RJ: Tell us about your beer glassware, etc.

Jacobs: I have merch, which is glassware, T-shirts, hats, bottle openers — all craft-beer oriented with the Beer Zombies logo on it (and available at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits at 9915 S. Eastern Ave., Top Shelf Wine & Spirits at 6415 S. Fort Apache Road and Liquor Lineup, 6462 Losee Road, North Las Vegas).

RJ: What do you have in mind for the future?

Jacobs: Right now I have a big festival coming up, which is downtown at Atomic Feb. 18. At that festival I’ll have two Beer Zombies collaboration beers that we’re working on (with Beer Zombies branding, made in cooperation with King’s Brewing in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Brujos Brewing in Whittier, California). I feel like Vegas-based people like to see you prove yourself. My next step, hopefully, is to do a really cool collaboration with a local brewery.

 

Getting to know Chris Jacobs

Review-Journal: Place you always take visitors?

Chris Jacobs: Downtown Las Vegas

R-J: Favorite indulgence?

Jacobs: Probably doughnuts; doughnuts and beer are my passion and my weakness. I’m a big fan of Donut Bar right now.

R-J: Pets or favorite animals?

Jacobs: No pets. I’m a pretty big lover of large animals like rhinoceroses and elephants and actually use them a lot in my artwork.

R-J: Currently obsessed with?

Jacobs: Beer. That’s kind of what I do with life.

Beer Zombies craft beer fest 2018

Alright everyone, the date has been set for next years Beer Zombies Craft Beer Festival. SO… mark those calendars for February 24th with the day after bottle share on February 25th. Once again the amazing Atomic Liquors in Down Town Las Vegas will be hosting the fun!

Last years fest went down as one of the best Las Vegas has seen with so much amazing beer being poured. This year will be even more awesome! Keep checking for updates on the BZ social media and blog.

If you are a brewery ( out of state is welcome ) that is interested in being a part of BZ fest please send an email to; beerzombies1@hotmail.com

 

some pictures from last years festival.

Former Lakers cheerleader readies for master sommelier exam

Super proud of my amazing wife! this is an article by Robin Leach for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

 

It’s tough enough guessing if the red wine is a pinot noir from Oregon or a merlot from Santa Barbara. But try and decide if the red is from Argentina or Italy. Then pronounce the year, reveal the region and name the soil content. Impossible you say? Not for the handful of master sommeliers around the world who have passed the hardest examination in the world. And, you can’t ask to take part in it — you have to be chosen for the test.

It’s not called the toughest examination in the world for no reason. Vegas is blessed with just a few of these wizards of wine — even though we probably have more of them than any other city. It’s the most prestigious challenge in the world, and now, an unlikely former Lakers cheerleader is about to face the ultimate contest.

Raquel Jacobs, the sommelier at STK in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is finalizing her attempt at November’s master sommelier examination. It’s a tremendous story of courage, dedication, determination and an insane commitment of long hours. It’s also rare for a Vegas girl to attempt pulling off the toughest exam in the world, which has already been the subject of two movies.

Check out the Master Sommeliers of America at www.mastersommeliers.org.

Q: I asked why the one-time Lakers starlet chose the superior knowledge of wine over the bright lights of Hollywood that lured so many of the past lineup.

A: It started off with my parents. My parents were really into wine and I was cracking bottles and kind of helping them pull bottles at a young age. But It really wasn’t until I started off working in the industry, when I was 18 and a hostess, and started kind of moving up the ladder. My previous restaurant, Mastro’s, was kind of persistent on wine education. And as soon as I took those classes, it just really, really peaked my interest.

There’s one in Crystal’s at Aria I actually opened (and) a few different locations in Southern California, Costa Mesa , Beverly Hills, Thousand Oaks and Newport Beach.

Q: How old were you when your interest in wine first piqued and did you have any idea how difficult, how tough it was going to be?

A: I was 18 years old and had no idea. It was something that I was interested in, so it was easy to dive into it, and as the process started to take off and (I realized how in depth it was), then I knew. It was the more I dove in(to) (it), I started to realize, oh yeah, this isn’t gonna be easy. But I like the challenge, so.

The first memory that I really have, as far as getting into it, we had a mandatory class at Mastro’s, and I didn’t really know anything about wine, and I realized as a server or a bartender or cocktail server, or to even move up, you had to have a certain amount of knowledge. So, I actually pulled a friend aside, who I thought was extremely knowledgeable, and she took me to the Starbucks. We spent about an hour, and I still have those notes to this day, and it was the process of Champagne, actually. That was what really, really interested me, and I just couldn’t believe how intricate and how complex and how beautiful Champagne could really be.

Q: I described it as the most difficult examination in the world. Is it? How tough is tough?

A: I believe it is. I think that it starts to test your mentality and it starts to really test you as a person and it starts to get inside of you. I tend to second guess myself a lot and I start to really. … When it starts to affect everything around you, I kind of realized, oh, this is not just a test that I need to pass. It’s more than just a test. It’s about really understanding wine and what goes into it, and not only that, but the business.

Q: What is the toughest part of being a sommelier, in terms of this examination?

A: There are three parts to the examination. There’s the theory part, there is a service part and there’s the tasting, and I think the tasting, for me, personally, is something that I’m constantly learning. So, I find that the most challenging, but I’m starting to find ways to help me get better. But, for me, it’s the tasting part of the exam would probably be my hardest.

Q: That’s where I joked with you about picking any bottle and tell me where in the world it came from and what year the grapes were harvested. Have you had people tell you that you’re insane?

A: Yes and yes! All the time. I think people start to underestimate me, just because I’m a little bit younger and a female and it’s not the typical mold for a sommelier. Especially for a professional dancer to go from the entertainment world to this profession. So, I’ve been told that many times. I was a cheerleader all my life from middle school all the way through professional. So, I actually taught around UCLA and universities in Southern California, and then I became a Laker Girl from 2009-2010, and that was my long-term goal, the childhood goal and dream of mine to become. A dancer. And I wind up in Vegas, yep. Instead of being a showgirl on the Strip I become a SOM on the Strip.

Q: How many of there are you?

A: I’m certified, so as far as my level and where I’m at — there are four levels to the horde of master sommeliers — there’s quite a few of us. But, as you progress for the certification, the number starts to dwindle down. As far as certified, I would say there’s, maybe 50 or so in town, but that’s just a guess. I wouldn’t know exactly how many certified sommeliers. I think we’re now up to 15 girls. It’s starting to increase. We’re starting to take over!

… Last year I took the exam (to be a ) certified sommelier, so, as of right now I’m certified. My next step is advanced, and in order to proceed to the advanced level for level three, you have to complete a course, in which you have to apply, and I’ve already completed the course this past year in Dallas. Now, my next step is to apply for the exam, and I have to be accepted to even take the exam. Not everybody can take the exam. I’m waiting to apply. They haven’t opened the doors up yet to apply sometime in the next week or so. I will submit an application and take an online exam, and then I think they will probably tell us by the end of November or December, maybe, hopefully. I am anxiously awaiting, but I think I have a good chance. I hope I do.

Q: What has it taken you, so far, to prepare for this?

A: I have a really good support. Structure. My husband’s super amazing at allowing me to take the time to study and to do the things that I need to do. I have a study group, we meet at least once a week to taste, and we all blind(fold)each other. I’m constantly doing classes in town. Certain people will hold tastings. So, I’ll try and attend anything (when) I can — at this point — and then I pretty much study every single day at home.

Q: Does it consume your life?

A: I try not to let it, but it does. I think I have a good balance because I do have family at home. I think as the exam starts to get closer, it starts to consume my life, and I think that’s where my husband, Chris, really, really is supportive and he kind of picks up everything for me and he allows me to just do that.

Q: Do you have flash cards all over the house. Is there even one space in the house that is not covered with flashcards?

A: My husband is in the craft beer industry — completely the opposite, eh? We definitely have a good time between both of our cellars but I keep the flash cards out of his office. There everywhere else though all over the house.

Q: Do you even admit that it’s very unusual to find a girl who set out to become Lakers cheerleader being this studious? This educated?

A: I think definitely from an outside perspective, I can definitely see how one could imagine that. The girls that I’ve interacted with, as far as on the team and Lakers and … they’re a very particular bunch of girls, or ladies, I should say. They’re all either in college or working full time, and a lot of the women that I’ve met have really gone on to do wonderful things, besides dancing and being in entertainment. They’ve gone to get master’s degrees, so. In this field, though I’m the only one that I know if.

Q: Your reaction from seeing the SOM movies? Didn’t it frighten you?

A: No, it actually inspired me. I looked at my mom and I remember telling her, and I said: “You watch. I’m gonna do that.” And she does tell me that all the time, actually. She said: “I remember when we first watched the movie, you told me you were gonna do it and you’re doing it.”

Q: I have such respect for you and it. What is the most difficult part of this whole project for you?

A: I think the hardest part is taking the time to understand that there’s more to wine than just what’s in the glass. There’s so much more than that, and I think it’s understanding where it comes from and how it’s made and remembering everything. It’s constantly evolving. So, for me, it’s keeping up with the evolution of wine and just remembering every little detail about every single region and wine that’s out there.

But there are thousands of bottles of wine. There are hundreds of regions. How do you possibly remember where a bottle of a 1935 something came from, and what flowers were growing in the region on that day when they picked the grapes?

That’s where those flashcards come in handy. I have an app on my phone, and it’s a memorize app, or it’s a voice recorder — and in my car, I’ll play it through the speaker and I record myself with whatever it is that I need to memorize, and I’ll listen to that. I won’t even listen to music while I’m doing my studies. That’s all I’ll listen to, is myself, and repeating everything that I need to remember. If this is a pinot noir, where is it from, what was the climate, what was the soil, if that year was a sunny year, they got ample sunshine. So, I kind of just try and do that, as well as my flashcards, and I do a lot of maps. I draw a lot of maps.

The exercise is both for self-satisfaction and guest interaction.I definitely am doing it for myself, because it is something that I want to achieve, personally, but I think something that I bring to the table for the guest is … it’s up to me to let them find, to explore something that they maybe have never tried before. Not doing it in such a pretentious way, but leveling with the guest and finding something that they like. That’s the biggest satisfaction, with me. When a guest tells me: “Raquel, I’m looking for something that’s big and robust, but still feminine and has silky tannin,” and they’ll just describe this wine, and it’s my job to find something for them, and I think I really look forward to doing that, because now I’m up for a challenge and now it’s up to me with my knowledge and everything that I’ve studied and everything that I’ve tasted. OK, let’s take you here. Let’s get you to this wine.

Q: Is it Sherlock Holmes over James Beard? Literally, can I pull a bottle out of my fridge and ask you about its heritage?

A: I should be able to tell you that. It just depends. I think it’s … my husband’s always told me that I need to dive into the background a little bit more. I could tell you everything about how the wine is made, about the year and what kind of year it was as far as the climate and the conditions, but sometimes I forget a little bit about well, how did this winery come about? I know the big ones, but sometimes those little producers, that have really great wine but they may not get distributed to us, that I haven’t tried, I think I can dive into that. But, I’ll be honest, with the tasting — the tasting is what really drives me nuts sometimes.

Q: Do you drink a lot of wine, yourself? Do you try to drink different wine every day?

A: I do. Or what I’ll do is, if I’m having trouble identifying, let’s say a sauvignon blanc, let’s just say, from France, and I didn’t get it on one of my tastings, I’ll go and I’ll do that for a whole week and that’s all I’ll drink, until I’m sick of it.

Q: And what’s the correct way for Raquel Jacobs to drink a glass of wine?

A: I think just using that deductive method, that grid that The Court of Master Sommeliers provides for us — and they provide this tool — and they allow us to go through this grid, they call it. You have to look at the wine. You have to kind of assess the color, and you can tell a lot about the wine through the color. You can tell maybe its age, whether it’s youthful, whether it’s developing, whether it’s matured. Then, I would go to the nose. Look for any flaws. Think about the aromatic intensity and how vibrant it is in the glass. I would go through the fruit components. There are non-fruit components. There are so many elements there. I would assess, they call it structure, and so, you would go through the essence, you can go through the tannin element.

Then I would taste it. Kind of reassess what I did on the nose, those fruit components, structure. And then I would come up with a few different potential varietals. I would hone down on whether it’s Old World or a New World climate. Whether it’s either from France or Italy or Spain, or am I going to U.S.? then I would assess the age. Then I would decide from there. I would say this is a 2015 William Fevre Chablis, from Burgundy, France.

Q: So, it’s a little bit like being a detective, backwards?

A: Exactly, and I think that’s why I like it. I think that’s what really excites me about it, is that I have to figure something out, like a puzzle. It takes a few glasses of wine just to enjoy it rather than think about it. I think when I take my first sip of wine for the day, I’m like, just automatically thinking and racking my brain, and then after a few glasses, I think I loosen up and I’m just enjoying the wine.

Q: You ‘re getting so close now to the toughest experience in the world. What frightens you most?

A: I think the only thing that would frighten me is, I don’t like to lose, and I know it’s the journey and it’s not how quickly I get there, but I’m just afraid of failure. I really am. Everyone is probably thinking it and doesn’t want to say it, but I’m afraid to fail. I don’t like to fail. I really like to succeed and just … and I really want … I don’t want to disappoint a guest. If there’s anyone that I don’t want to disappoint, it would be a guest.

You know it’s a three-day test for the master! So, there are three parts to it, and actually, it’s over a course of quite some time. You have to take the theory first. You have to actually be invited to sit for the master diploma. But, when you first get accepted, you have to take the theory part, and the theory part, once you complete that or if you complete that, then you’re asked to sit for the practical, which is like the wine service and salesmanship, and the tasting. Then, you kind of just have to … then they kind of assign you a time, and a few months after that. So, it takes some time to … it’s quite a process. I would say it’s about, within the year.

Q: You’ve already taken the advanced course which permits you to call yourself a sommelier

A: Yes, I am certified. But, yes, an advanced … the jump from certified to advanced, Robin, is absolutely insane. It’s, I would say, the jump is quite vigorous. It’s very, very difficult, as far as the increase in knowledge that you have to know. And then from advanced to master is quite a bit after that. It’s very intense.

I’d love to wind up an educator. I think that’s where my heart is. Teaching people how to enjoy and appreciate wine. It’s quite a journey for a Laker cheerleader. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I’d be like “Wait, what? What am I doing?” After I passed my certified, I think it was 80 people in my class, and about 40 people passed and I ended up receiving the highest score for the certified exam, and so I think it was after that. It really gave me that boost of confidence that I really wanted and needed to move forward because a lot of people stop after certified. They get that recognition, they get that title and then they’re done. But, after completing with top honors, I just knew this is something I have to go forth with.

Q: It’s cruel, it’s backbreaking, it’s time-consuming, it’s everything that you would imagine is the worst in life, and yet you revel in it, yes? What does it say about you?

A: Yes, and I love it. I don’t settle. That I always want what’s the impossible. And I don’t think it’s impossible. I know I can do it. I’ve seen the movie 80 times. No joke, 80 times, probably throughout the years. Oh, yeah. Even when I’m doing laundry, I’ll just throw it on, just to listen to it.

Q: All for a bottle of plonk! Do you have anybody in Las Vegas giving you coaching, teaching?

A: Yes. There’s a lot of people (who) have definitely contributed. Especially people who are above me and mentoring me. There’s a couple of master sommeliers in town (who) have really helped me. People who are studying for their masters and people who are on the advanced level that mentor me and I’ll go to their restaurant or we’ll set up a tasting and they’ll critique me and they’ll really help me. There’s only one other girl in my tasting group but I know about 20 women in Las Vegas that are definitely a force to be reckoned with. And a lot of my mentors are women.

Q: And they gave up everything in their life for this, too?

A: I think a lot of them are. I think I’m one of the few women who have a family. I have a husband and three step-children. So, it’s definitely not the norm to be a step-mom and a wife … kind of do this and go through this process.

Q: Do you ever stop for one second and scratch your head and say, “why?”

A: No, I actually don’t. Someone had just asked me that recently, too. I said, “I don’t even think I have time to think, to be honest.” I’m just going. I’m always going.

Q: In a quiet less studious moment what is it you like about wine?

A: I love boutique wines. I love wines that people have never heard of. I love grape varietals that people have never heard of. That’s kind of what I look for when I’m not drinking to study and I’m just drinking to enjoy, that’s what I’m drinking. I’m drinking Guava or something obscure. I can’t even remember the last time I went out. If I’m going out, I’m usually drinking a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne or Ruinart Rose. My favorite — Champagne. I just love bubbles.

Bubbles can go with anything. Bubbles can go with an appetizer, an entrée, you can do a whole flight with Champagne, and really you can do it with Sherry that I’ve discovered. Sherry is kind of my new go-to right now.

There’s a lot more to it than just wine. We have to know spirits, sherry. We have to know beer, now. We have to start learning how to make the cocktails. So, it’s definitely more than wine. It’s a whole beverage program

I just got accepted to go to SOM camp in November. That’s the first step. SOM camp is something that the SOM foundation actually allows certain people who apply and who get accepted, who are intending for the advanced exam for the following year. So, I have the intent to apply for the advanced exam next year, so I applied and I had to answer a series of questions, send my background and my resume. It’s three-day wine trip to Napa and Sonoma, all expenses paid, and we get to go into the vineyard and go into the wineries with the winemakers and dive into what goes into the wine, and it’s a pretty prestigious collection of wine.

Rosé de Gambrinus – Cantillon

 

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Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus 2014 cork date. .

APPEARANCE: Pours a star bright ruby red, with brilliant pink rim variations. Soft and gentle one finger of rose colored head that dissipated within moments leaving a slight halo. .

AROMA: Big bursting waves of fresh raspberries being muddled along with a second layer of raspberry jam that brings with it a nice light vinegar aroma. Strawberry lemonade swirling around with hay and barnyard funk. .

TASTE: Taste follows the nose almost perfectly, with a bit more brightness coming from the raspberries. The tartness comes dancing in with lemon, grape skins, pomegranate and cherries. A wonderful marriage of tart,sour and sweet fruits. It ends with fresh grass clippings, hay and a slight mustiness. .

MOUTHFEEL: Medium minus body with a lively medium carbonation. It manages to stay light and crisp with a lingering mouthwatering finish that just begs you to take another sip. .

OVERALL: This is easily in my top raspberry lambics and one of my favorite Cantillon beers. It has such a harmonious mix of tart, funk and raspberry while still being a very complex beer. Rosé de Gambrinus paired exceptionally well with the Chèvre. . .

Beer Zombies craft beer festival 02.18.17

Come for the festival, stay for the bottle share! Beer Zombies 3rd anniversary beer festival and following day bottle share at The Atomic in downtown Las Vegas.  Purchase tickets here Beer Zombies Festival Tickets

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2016 The Roaming Pint craft beer lover’s holiday gift guide!

All your craft beer lovers holiday shopping in one place! Beside Beer Zombies there is an amazing variety of craft beer gifts. trp-logo-header-dark-1260

 

Thank you for visiting The Roaming Pint’s Holiday Gift Guide for Craft Beer Lover’s. Each year we try to assemble the best craft beer products to help you find the best gift for the craft beer lover in your life (even if it’s yourself ;).
We will be adding products as the holiday season rolls on so be sure to check back periodically. Cheers!

2016 Craft Beer Lover’s Gift Guide