Most people are unaware that aside from organizing private beer-tasting events, I also own a theatre company. Don’t bother asking which one. Although it’s quite successful, you’ve never heard of it. We don’t do any public performances. GTC Dramatic Dialogues tours to college campuses all across the country doing interactive, dialog-based shows on issues like diversity, sexual assault, and substance abuse. That’s right; I am both a beer evangelist and a substance abuse educator.
Naturally, we drink a lot of beer while on tour. The actors who work for me know that if there is a brewpub in the town where we are performing, we will be eating there. They have no choice. Beer and Yahtzee is a typical post-show activity. Ah, the showbiz life!
Over the years I have introduced a lot of actors to really good beer. For some it has sunk in more deeply than others. One of those is Bob Galligan. I hired Bob pretty fresh out of the theatre program at the University of Minnesota. He performed with the troupe for two seasons before moving to Austin, Texas. Bob was fun to have on the road. His oddball sense of humor can be seen in this video created with friends for distribution to colleges.
Once in Austin, Bob realized that there was no acting to be done. What was an out of work actor to do? Go into brewing, of course. Within a year he worked himself up from tour guide to canning line, brewer, and finally head brewer at Hops & Grain Brewing. I caught up with him in the brewery’s booth at the GABF.
Alteration Hops & Grain Brewing Company, Austin, Texas
Style: Northern German Altbier
Serving Style: 12 oz. Can
Aroma: Clean. Malt forward with subtle bread crust and light spicy hops to balance. Dark fruits – raisins.
Appearance: Moderate head of off-white, creamy foam that is moderately persistent. Brown with reddish highlights. Clear.
Flavor: Malt definitely leads. Bread crust maltiness with caramel-like melanoidin. Bitterness is medium to medium low. Spicy and floral hop flavors are medium to medium low. Hints of chocolate and dark fruits like raisins. Clean, crisp lager-like finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with some creaminess. Medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: I’m going to call this one a Northern German Altbier. The bitterness and hop flavors strike me as low for a good example of the Düsseldorf variety. Caramel and toast malt with touches of dark fruit are similar to Belgian dubbel, but without the yeast esters and phenols.
I don’t think I am saying anything controversial when I submit that the Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery is one of the best, if not THE best, brewpub in the Twin Cities metro. The beers are well-made and often quite interesting. The food is always tasty. The atmosphere is comfy and inviting. Although I don’t get there as much as I would like, it’s one of my favorite places to drink in Minneapolis.
Town Hall has stood the test of time to become a Twin Cities fixture. Founded in 1997, it celebrates 16 years of beer and food this year. Town Hall has not only survived, it has expanded. With its two satellite locations, the Town Hall Tap and the Town Hall Lanes, doing well, owner Pete Rifakes is turning his attention back to the mother ship. Plans are in the works to renovate the 7 Corners brewpub and expand brewery capacity.
In this 2013 Great American Beer Festival interview Rifakes and brewer Mike Hoops talk beer, bowling, and building a better brewery. Just a warning, the planned renovation means the restaurant will have to close briefly sometime next year.
Every year at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) I do interviews with local and not-so-local brewers and beer industry celebs. This year’s assortment includes chats with Mike Hoops and Pete Rifakes from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, a gaggle of guys from Summit Brewing Company, and Marika Josephson from Scratch Brewing, a new and very exciting brewery in Southern Illinois. I talked with Mob Craft Beer, a new “Heartland” brewery that didn’t make it into my upcoming beer guide. I got a very special interview with old friend and former employee Bob Galligan who moved to Austin, Texas a couple of years ago to be an actor, but ended up as head brewer at Hops & Grain. These and others will be showing up here in the coming days and weeks, with a shout-0ut of thanks to my great friend Tom Graybael who did the shooting.
I start the series with an interview with Ray Daniels, author of beer and brewing books as well as the founder of the Cicerone Certification Program. I first interviewed Daniels at the 2010 GABF. The Cicerone program was just getting its feet under it at the time. It has been grown with leaps and bounds in the intervening years, becoming the standard for beer-knowledge certification. In this interview Daniels talks about that growth and about education programs that have been put in place to serve those who desire certification. He drops some news about the newest training products that the program offers and projects where the program might go in the future.
A guest at a recent private beer-tasting event sent me into a rant. We were discussing the relative value of cans when he suggested that the reason some people might taste a metallic flavor in canned beer is that they are putting their mouth all over the top of the can. At that moment I was seized by the spirit of Ninkasi. “At least 85% of what you taste is actually what you smell.” I said. “If you drink from the can or bottle you smell nothing. You are cutting yourself off from the majority of the experience of the beer.” I ended with the admonition, “I don’t care what kind of glass you drink from. Just drink from a glass.”
Well, not really. They still want you to drink it from a glass, but they acknowledge that sometimes that’s impossible. Maybe you’re hiking or canoeing far into the backcountry where glass is not allowed. Cans have long been touted as a solution to such situations. So should you just accept that you will only get 15% enjoyment out of that backcountry quaff? Ever the innovator in beer-service technology, Boston Beer says, “No.”
Following up on the Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass and the Spiegelau IPA glass, they have revolutionized the beer can. Called the “Sam Can,” the new package is the result of two years of “intensive sensory research.” It features a wider lid to allow more airflow into your mouth, a more centered can opening to bring the beer closer to your nose, and an extended lip to deliver the beer to the tip of your tongue.
I was skeptical. Really? These little changes were going to make a big difference? The Sam Adams press release did a good job of adding to that skepticism. Like the media reporting on the underdog in a presidential debate – “he just has to avoid looking like a complete idiot” – the materials stressed that the difference was “subtle, but noticeable.” The bar was set low. Maybe they had learned a lesson from the over-hype of the IPA glass.
I was skeptical, but curious. So when the media package arrived at my door containing one regular can and one Sam Can, I had to give it a whirl. I opened both at the same time for a side-by-side face-off. Just for comparison I poured a bit from each can into a glass.
Of course the beer in the glass tasted the best. Really, drink your beer from a glass! But to my surprise, the Sam Can delivered on its promise, and then some. The improvement in flavor was more than “subtle, but noticeable.” I found there to be a significant difference in all three areas of sensory evaluation; aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel.
Aroma: In this area I won’t say that the difference was huge, but it was there. Aroma was non-existent when drinking from the regular can. While the Sam Can didn’t deliver the aromatic blast of drinking from a glass, hops and malt were noticeable.
Mouthfeel: The regular can delivered a beer that was unpleasantly prickly. Carbonation felt excessive, lightening the impression of the beer’s body. The Sam Can smoothed out the bubbles. The impression was more like that of a beer that has been poured into a glass and allowed to degas. Boston Lager isn’t a full-bodied beer by any stretch, but the reduced carbonation allowed the viscosity that is there to come through.
Flavor: The beer from the regular can was bland and sharply bitter. Spicy hops almost totally obliterated the malt, leaving only the faintest impression of caramel. The excessive carbonation mentioned above gave it a distinct carbonic bite that amplified the already harsh bitterness. From the Sam Can the beer was much more balanced. Bitterness was there, but kept in check by noticeable malt sweetness. Spicy hop flavors made their appearance, but malty caramel provided a welcome counterpoint. It was a much more pleasurable quaff. The cynical thought crossed my mind that they had perhaps put a different beer in each can, but poured into a glass the two were indistinguishable.
I went in a non-believer. I came out convinced. The Sam Can may not be an earth-shaking development, but the difference is real. Still, drink your beer from a glass.
One of the things that I love about the beer-nerd world is our tendency to get our knickers in a bunch about things that really don’t matter. This is true of any nerdly endeavor, I suppose. It’s not exclusive to beer.
The latest earth-shaking controversy came a few days ago when glassmaker Spiegelau released this video to introduce a new IPA-worthy glass designed in conjunction with Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione, founders of Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head respectively.
My goodness, you would think the two men had announced that they were going to cease making beer. Reaction was swift and severe from both supporters and detractors. Pennsylvania beer writer Lew Bryson said on Facebook of the new glass, “Jesus H. Christ. More prescriptive bullshit about how we’re supposed to drink our beer. Every beer I have today, I’m going to drink right out of the bottle or can, or in a shaker glass. And they’ll taste great.” The comment thread got pretty crazy with oppressed drinkers claiming that the existence of the glass was ruining the whole experience of drinking beer. Stephen Beaumont fired back with a blog post in which he exposed himself as a glass dork, and reminded people that it is just a glass after all. No one was pointing a gun at anyone’s head forcing them use it.
The controversy really heated up a couple days later when A Good Beer Blog revealed that the painstakingly designed IPA glass was strikingly similar to a wine glass made by Spiegelau parent company Riedel. The glass-making beer-brewing team hadn’t in fact done anything unique. This was a bald-faced rehashing of been-there-done-that glassware design. The whole thing was just a marketing ploy – a cynical scheme to separate gullible nerds from their money. The comment threads got vicious now, as detractors and supporters exchanged brutal verbal lashings. The brewers weren’t spared the hyperbolic attacks. According to one commenter, Dogfish Head (arguably the most creative brewery in the country for better or worse) had never done anything truly revolutionary in its entire existence.
Turns out that all the huff-n-puff was for naught. The very next day Beer Pulse published a statement from Sam Calagione freely admitting that the Riedel wine glass had served as the basis for the IPA glass. They had in fact, tested many different Riedel and Spiegelau designs on the way to their ideal cup. “Traits of various glasses that boosted the hop aromas and flavors of IPAs helped inform the direction of our glass,” he said, “but the final design came from carefully refining eight original hand-blown glasses. This wasn’t plucked from a shelf.” No need to reinvent the wheel when you can poke, prod, and tweak a design that already exists.
Well my curiosity was piqued to say the least. I had to put this glass to the test. I requested. They delivered (and very quickly, I might add).
I pitted the glass against a standard shaker pint and my very favorite Spiegelau tulip glass. I poured Surly Abrasive, a beer with beaucoup hop aroma and flavor, the profile of which I know fairly well. I cleaned each glass in the same way prior to the tasting and made an effort to give each a similarly aggressive pour. I compared each glass for aroma, appearance, and flavor. There are a couple of caveats. First, I am a glass dork. I like fancy glassware. The only thing I drink out of a shaker pint at home is water. Second, one can’t test glassware blind. Although I tried to be as objective as possible, my ultimate experience could be colored by my preconceptions.
So how did they fare?
While the glass itself is not especially attractive, I have to give the IPA glass the edge. The agitating ribs at the base of the glass and the laser-etched nucleation points kept a decent head going long after the others had fallen flat. In fact, I had foam all the way to the bottom of the glass. That etching also kept the beer sparkly with little bubble continuously rising up from the bottom. It looked real purtty.
This was the most interesting area of assessment. The real surprise was the shaker pint. Raising it to my nose I got a burst of citrus and tropical fruit that was totally unexpected. It delivered the brightest aromatic expression by far. The big disappointment was my beloved tulip. I described its olfactory effect as “meh…not much there.” The IPA glass gave the same citrus and tropical fruit punch as the pint, but smoothed out – not as bright. The components were more clearly articulated. Tropical fruit was specifically and intensely mango. The fruit was deepened by other hop notes like a very subtle chive. Once again the IPA glass takes it.
Here it was a virtual tie between the IPA glass and the tulip. The beer tasted nearly identical out of each glass, but subtle differences led me give the slightest preference to the IPA glass. In the tulip glass the beer was a touch brighter, crisper and pricklier. The emphasis was tilted slightly more to bitterness over fruity hop flavor. The IPA glass rounded and smoothed the experience, shifting it a bit toward flavor over bitterness. The carbonation had less tingle.
In my final assessment I rate the IPA glass a success. It provided a rounder and smoother experience with a fuller expression of flavor and aroma. If you like hoppy brews and enjoy geeking-out on glassware, then pick up a couple. You’ll love them. If fancy glasses aren’t your thing, the difference may not be significant enough to make it worth your while.
<EDIT> To make sure I’m perfectly clear. I gave the edge to the IPA glass, but with the exception of appearance the difference was marginal. I was trying to be really picky and precise.
I first met the guys from 612Brew in the early spring of 2010 while working on a piece about soon-to-be breweries for Heavy Table (there were only five at the time…crazy!). They were working in a South Minneapolis garage, tweaking recipes on a cobbled-together homebrew system and dreaming of bigger things. Two years later their “garage” is a 5000 square-foot warehouse space in a multi-million dollar commercial re-development in Northeast Minneapolis. The five-gallon, glass carboys have been replaced by 30-barrel tanks of mirror-polished stainless steel. The steps in-between included three business plan revisions, two cancelled leases, and a change of personnel, including hiring brewer Adam Schil.
Almost three years after than initial meeting, the crew is ready to launch. 612Brew already has beer in metro-area bars. The taproom at the corner of Central and Broadway will open tomorrow night, February 13th at 4:00pm.
The taproom retains the retro-industrial ambiance of the 1924 factory building that it occupies. Thick, maple timbers rise up two stories from the polished concrete floor. The bar top is made of re-purposed bowling alley lanes, while the bottom is faced with boards salvaged from an 1850s-vintage home. The gleaming brewery is separated from the public space by wooden standup bars. A tall, glass overhead door looks out onto a patio and rain garden, which is anchored by a stone amphitheater where live music is planned for the warmer months.
612Brew’s focus is on hop-centered session beers. They aim to satisfy that craving for bitterness with lower-alcohol brews that allow for more than one pint after work. They are launching with four beers. Six is a sessionable American Pale Ale with biscuit malt and bright citrus hops. This is the same beer – with some recipe tweaks – that I sampled three years ago in the garage. Zero Hour is an American black ale brewed with roasted wheat for a smoother, less-bitter roastiness that lets the hops shine through. Bitter Cold Winter Ale is a single-malt, single-hop IPA brewed with Maris Otter malt from England and Willamette hops from the Pacific Northwest. My favorite brew is Rated R, a balanced rye IPA. The focus here is on flavor and aroma hops. The bitterness bites, but not too hard. Spicy rye notes come in late and linger into the finish.
It’s hard to believe that I would call a one-and-a-half-year-old brewery old, but in today’s crazy world, with breweries popping up like popcorn, it’s the truth. Steel Toe Brewing Company is old. But that doesn’t make them any less wonderful. In my view Steel Toe is one of the top-five breweries in Minnesota. Size 7 might just be the best IPA made in the state. A recent blind tasting re-confirmed for me the brilliance of the light and lovely Provider Ale.
The opening this Friday, February 15th, of Steel Toe’s long-awaited taproom makes this a busy week for Twin Cities beer fans. The fun begins at 3:00pm and I’m guessing it will be crowded. Steel Toe is located at 4848 W. 35th St. in St. Louis Park. Be there!
Summit Brewing Company and Smashburger are pairing up to bring beer and burger pairings to the Twin cities. The collaboration could be seen as a partnering of pioneers in a way; Summit an original in Minnesota’s better beer scene and Smashburger the leader in what they call “better burger” restaurants.
Actually the Denver-based burger franchise has introduced some interesting innovations to fast food fare. They use all Angus beef, for one thing. Their menus allow for regional inspiration. While there are some standard sandies across the chain, each location creates special burgers tailored to local foodways, such as the Twin Cities burger with garlic-grilled onions reflecting the regional love-affair with the onion. I didn’t know that we had a love affair with onions, but that’s something I learned during a special media tasting prior to the pairings launch. In terms of the beer and burger program, the company is working with a different brewers in every city to create pairings that are unique to the market.
Smashburger takes its name from their process of smashing the burgers onto the griddle while cooking them. This creates a caramelized crust on one side and seals in the juices, according to founder Tom Ryan. They do make a juicy patty. I’m not sure how innovative the burger smash is. It seems to me Steak & Shake has been smashing since the 1930s. But Smashburger does it with a patent-pending, cookie-cutter-like gizmo as seen in this video of Mr. Ryan making a burger.
Ryan worked with Summit Head Brewer Damian McConn to come up with eight pairings for the Twin Cities stores. How did they do? Well, let’s take a look.
Classic Smashburger & Extra Pale Ale: A pairing of classic with classic. This one didn’t do much for me. Both beer and burger are good. I’m a big fan of EPA and I like a plain ‘ol burger, but together they were just sort of “meh.” I also think that the burger overpowered the beer a little bit and made it seem bitterer than normal. Maybe it was the smash sauce – a combination of mayo, mustard, relish and lemon. I’ll say this though, the burger had ketchup on it. I hate ketchup and always have. It didn’t really taste like ketchup. Nice!
Mushroom Swiss Burger & Great Northern Porter: This was lovely. The combination brought out an earthiness in each part and there was umami on top of umami. Caramel malt spoke to caramelized beef crust. This was probably my second favorite combination. I was happy to learn that the mushrooms are crimini mushrooms, sliced fresh for each order.
BBQ Bacon and Cheddar Burger & Horizon Red Ale: This is the best pairing of the bunch. The caramel and citrus in the beer play very well with the tangy BBQ sauce. The pairing emphasized the hops in the beer, making it seem almost IPA-like. And again there’s that caramel to caramel handshake. And who doesn’t love bacon and beer?
Avocado Club Burger & Pilsner: This was one of two pairings that were described as difficult to deal with. That’s because they really needed Summit Hefeweizen, which has been discontinued. The sliced avocado, smoked bacon, and ranch dressing on the burger would have been splendid with a hef. The pilsner brought out the bacon and cut through the fat, but spicy hops clashed a bit. It was the best pairing with the Summit lineup, but it wasn’t quite wonderful.
Twin Cities Burger & Extra Pale Ale: Between caramelized onion, caramelized meat crust, and loads of cheese, this is one rich burger. The EPA did the job cutting right through it. All that caramelization brought out the maltiness in the beer, giving a more balanced impression than with the Classic burger. This pairing really worked.
Spicy Baja Burger & Saga IPA: Do hops amplify or dampen chili pepper heat? That’s the age old question in the beer-food pairing biz. I happen to think they do both; amplify first and then clear away. This burger is all about peppers. The heat of pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayonnaise, and raw jalapeno slices gives it a real kick that is tempered a bit by creamy guacamole. Saga IPA was up to the task and the hops did just what they do. The citrusy flavors offered a nice contrast to the savory and spice of the burger. My mouth was left with a nice level of lingering heat.
Cucumber and Goat Cheese Chicken Sandwich & Pilsner: This was the other sandwich that needed the hefeweizen. Let’s face it – chicken, spinach, goat cheese and cucumbers – a hefeweizen would have been great with every element of this sandwich. Pilsner again was the best choice from the Summit lineup, but it just didn’t quite do the trick. This was one of my favorite sandwiches though.
Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich & India Pale Ale: Spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese paired with a balanced, English-style IPA. The beer is bitter enough to stare down the buffalo, but ample caramel malt keeps the combination from overheating. And blue cheese with English IPA simply can’t be beat. This was my third favorite pairing of the night.
Some time ago someone (I don’t even remember who) mentioned in passing that Leech Lake Brewing Company in Walker, Minnesota was up for sale. I took note and meant to do a search to verify this myself, but promptly forgot…until today.
For anyone wanting to break into the brewing business, Leech Lake is indeed for sale. The asking price is $500,000 for the whole kit and caboodle – that’s building, 1-bbl brewery, land, and all the accoutrement that come with running the business. You can check out the listing here.
I contacted Leech Lake co-owner/brewer Greg Smith to get the skinny. In an email he said:
We listed LLBC for sale with the intent of selling it for nothing less than our asking price—$500K. We are continuing to operate the business as usual until such time as we close on a deal with a suitable buyer. I have plans to develop and market a product in the sports and fitness industry for which I’ve held a patent for the past seven years. It’s been a goal of mine much longer than has been founding a microbrewery. So, whenever it happens we’ll move on to the next project (although I’m simultaneously pursuing the other project while operating the brewery). Not much else to tell you at this point. Just moving forward each day…
So there you have it. This is your opportunity. Will you take it?
The Minnesota beer scene continues its mighty growth surge. Yesterday was a big day for beer-world announcements – two very public and one that came to me late last night in an email.
I first wrote about the 612 Brew guys (and gal) in the Heavy Table two years ago (almost to the day). At the time they were working out of a garage just south of Uptown, brewing small batches and dreaming of big ones. They had done a few publicity events, leading me to wonder just exactly what they were. Were they homebrewers showing off their beer at very public gigs, or were they a production brewery that didn’t seem to have beer available anywhere but these shindigs? Turns out the homebrew side was closer to the truth, but they were in the process of getting licensed, so the TTB put a stop to those events.
Not much had been heard from 612 since, until yesterday. On 6/12 – get it, 612 – they announced that a lease had been secured, a brewery had been ordered, and things were moving forward to open a brewery in Nordeast. The building at the corner of Broadway and Central sits below street grade. It’s an old industrial building about to be redeveloped that the brewery’s press release says will feature “exposed brick and timber along with polished concrete floors, an outdoor patio and a rain garden, creating a perfect atmosphere for the brewery.” Indeed, renderings of the finishes space make it look very inviting. The team is working with local manufacturer Minnetonka Brewing and Equipment, to build a custom 15-barrel brewhouse designed to be architecturally compatible with the space.
612 is steering away from the big beers that have been all the rage in craft-brewing for the last several years. They plan to make lower alcohol session beers, starting with SIX, an American pale ale, and Rated R, a spicy and hoppy Rye IPA. Other brews are also in the plan including a German lager with ginger called Mary Ann (a Gilligan’s Island reference for those too young to remember). The plan is also to serve Indian street food in the taproom.
The second big announcement came from up north. The Star Tribune reported that Fitger’s Brewhouse plans to open a new brewpub in downtown Minneapolis at 107 3rd Ave. N. They plan to open in late fall or early winter, but the brewery won’t be in place until sometime next spring or summer. In the meantime they will feature some made-in-Duluth Fitger’s brews along with guest taps from other Minnesota beer makers. The design may include outdoor seating and a possible rooftop beer garden. This is big news to many Twin Cities beer fans that currently have to trek the 150 miles to Duluth to enjoy some of the best beers in the state.
Blacklist Brewing and Wolf Revival
The last announcement came to me in an email with the subject line “Two More Beer Projects.” The first of these project is something called the Blacklist Brewing Beer + Art Project. The brainchild of 7-year veteran brewer Brian Schanzenbach and marketing guy/Certified Cicerone Jon Loss, Blacklist will operate as itinerant brewers in the mold of Mikkeller in Denmark, leasing time and space in other brewery’s facilities to make their beers, although they haven’t ruled out eventually building their own plant. They’ll form collaborations with regional artists to meld unique beers with artwork to match, a different beer and a different artist every month. The pair plan to work on a membership model similar to Crooked Stave in Colorado. Membership buys you a monthly shipment of beer and art starting in 2013. Different membership levels get you different amounts of each. Memberships are already available for purchase at the Blacklist Kickstarter project page. A glance at the proposed beer list reveals some creative concoctions including a lot of sours. How ‘bout a white grape strong Belgian golden or an imperial IPA with fennel and spruce.
But that’s not all. Loss and Schanzenbach are involved in a second project centered in Stillwater. They are collaborating with the great-granddaughters of the Joseph Wolf family to revitalize the pre-prohibition brewery of the family name. They plan to introduce 750 ml bottles of Belgian strong golden and Berliner Weiss in Stillwater and limited outlets in the TC Metro later this summer. Initially these beers will be brewed at Dubrue in Duluth. Apparently the group is trying to purchase the old Wolf brewery buildings on Main Street in Stillwater, but are running into some difficulty.
It’s definitely an interesting time to be a beer fan in Minnesota.
In news that has shocked the MN beer world, Jeff Williamson posted on his Facebook feed this morning that he has been sacked from Flat Earth Brewing Company, the brewery that he founded in 2007. In his post Williamson said, “We’ll it’s been an interesting ride, but I was just fired from Flat Earth this morning.” A few minutes later Cathie Dirks-Williamson, Jeff’s wife and Flat Earth Co-founder followed up, “Jeff was fired this morning from our beloved Flat Earth Brewing Company. Thank you to all our family, friends, and fans. We brewed for you and we hope you enjoyed our beer in good times and bad. Peace out.” I have not yet reached the Williamsons for comment.
A spokesperson at the brewery declined to go into detail, but said that Williamson “has chosen to leave the company.” According to this spokesperson the decision was made by Williamson a month ago and they were tying up loose ends before he actually departed. The current Assistant Brewer Bob Roepke will continue brewing until hiring decisions have been made. Flat Earth currently has an ad on Probrewer.com looking for an Assistant Brewer.
The Williamsons founded Flat Earth in 2007. By 2010 the brewery had hit financial difficulties and the decision was made to sell the company to an investor to head off foreclosure. John Warner bought Flat Earth in that year, with Jeff Williamson staying on as Brewmaster. There have been rumors of tension between them for some time.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: 10:15 AM, 4/9/12
Flat Earth Brewery just posted the following statement on its Facebook feed .
“Jeff submitted his intent to leave the company over 3 weeks ago, yesterday was his last day, why he chooses to say he was fired is not accurate. Please be sure you know all the facts. We wish Jeff the best.”
UPDATE: 2:39 PM, 4/9/12
Flat Earth Brewery has removed the statement above from its Facebook Feed.
The Williamsons have declined to comment citing possible legal questions and stating “we certainly don’t want to battle the brewery on FB.”