Current Changes with Ratebeer.com – What Does it Mean for Craft Breweries and Craft Drinkers?

The AB-InBev lineup. (The Drum)

Last October Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired a minority stake in the popular consumer rating/review website RateBeer.com. This acquisition has raised a lot of questions and controversy around special interest and conflict of interest among breweries and press. There have been a lot of streams on Facebook where people are sharing concerns about what will happen to the RateBeer Best Festival. And locally, people who knew the folks from Ratebeer, the questions are, “why are we finding this out now if this acquisition occurred back in October, just before the Ratebeer Best Awards Festival.

After the dust has settled and the shock factor is subsiding, people are wondering, “what does this mean for RateBeer now” Many pillars of the craft beer community have spoken and the general consensus is many craft beer drinkers, industry professionals, and brewers just cannot support RateBeer any longer. Here are some thoughts from craft beer lovers and supporters from both our local area and across the U.S. RateBeer is utilized all around the globe by beer lovers and  breweries to promote the beers people are enjoying along with reviews and ratings to share. Here is an insider look at what some craft beer supporters are concerned about with the recent news:

The minority stake sale of RateBeer to AB Inbev is disappointing. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Joe Tucker and what he has accomplished over the years. That being said, AB Inbev is a company with a lengthy history of bad business practices and one that will do whatever it takes to destroy the competition. We must continue to be educated about, and supportive of, the businesses that support innovation and growth within the industry, not stifle it. Unfortunately, RateBeer is now among the AB Inbev family and I cannot continue to support it.” says Greg Coll, General Manager at Fogbelt Brewing and creator of Black and White Beer Ball an Ales for Autism fundraiser.

I think the premise of journalistic integrity and ethics should be applied here, for sure.
At the end of the day, Joe has used RateBeer as a platform for dialogue amongst the community, facilitating discussions on how ‘big beer’ has actively hindered the industry. In my opinion he should have been completely transparent about the deal when discussions began, and if for some reason that was not allowed due to legal reasons, then that should have also been fully disclosed as soon as possible.” expressed Jeff bull, home-brewer and craft beer aficionado.

Betsy Pence from North Carolina is a craft lover, she comes out once a year to visit Russian River Brewing Company (RRBC) to get her Pliny fix. She expressed concern about the recent news of AB-InBev acquiring a minority stake in RateBeer.com, here is what she thinks, “ Talk about a conflict of interest! It’s causing a huge stir on the East Coast. Why can’t AB-InBev just stick to making shitty beer for the rednecks and college kids and stay out of the craft beer industry?!”

Dogfish Head Brewery owner and head brewer, Sam Calagione writes, “We were troubled by the announcement last week that ZX Ventures, which is fully owned by the global conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev, has purchased a portion of RateBeer. We believe this is a direct violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics and a blatant conflict of interest. The SPJ’s Code of Ethics includes a section called ‘Act Independently’ and includes the following guidelines:

It is our strong opinion that ABI’s ownership of RateBeer, and other properties positioned to cover the craft brewing community like October and thebeernecessities.com is in direct conflict with multiple guidelines listed above.”

At the end of his statement, Sam shared this, “To our fellow independently-owned brewers, we encourage you to join us in this effort to ensure consumers continue to get the best and most accurate information about their beers. For everyone else, we encourage you to shift the sharing of your beer opinions and reviews to another platform that remains loyal to the principles of journalistic integrity. America’s Independence Day is just around the corner. Support the indie craft brewing movement!”.

Bear Republic fully backed Sam’s statement and posted one of their own including the the very same information, “Along with other independently owned breweries, we have respectfully asked RateBeer to remove anything pertaining to Bear Republic from their website effective immediately.” As a family/independently owned company for twenty years, their opinion holds a lot of clout in the craft beer world. Bear Republic is asking their consumers to please utilize a different platform for their beer reviews and ratings.

“We don’t want our consumers to feel like they are being deceived or misinformed in any way and do not want to be a part of something that allows us as a brewery to manipulate what is being said about our company and our beers, when it’s supposed to be a 100% consumer based and user-generated platform.”

Brewbound.com posted an article announcing that the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) – one of the most popular “basket list” beer festivals has banned all large beer companies from being able to buy a spendy sponsorship for the event. This means that all Ab-Inbev, Miller-Coors, and even Lagunitas will not be able to be a sponsor who is granted premium access and placement at the event. GABF is following the Brewer’s Association’s definition of a craft brewery when determining who will be allowed to be a sponsor. The Brewer;s Association (BA) defines a craft brewery as:

“a small (less than 6 million barrels), independent (less than 25 percent owned or controlled by an alcoholic industry member that is not themselves a craft brewer) and traditional (a majority of beer volume is made using traditional or innovative brewing ingredients; FMBs are not considered beers).”

Let’s stick to craft. (Vinpair.com)

This is a BIG deal. This marks a huge shift in the craft beer industry. People in the industry in many capacities are sharing their concerns and expressing that they will not support RateBeer.com any longer. What does this mean for you, the consumer and beer reviewer? Well, any craft supporter has a decision to make, now that RateBeer is a part of the “big beer” family, will you support them? 

As a craft beer writer and lover myself, my first thought was, “I hope their website will get a face-lift out of the deal” and it did, it is much better and more user friendly, but I will no longer look to RateBeer for beer news or post reviews on the site.

 

 

 

Other beer rating platforms that are popular are Beer Advocate and Untappd.

Mustard Crusted Baked Chicken

This chicken is so juicy, tasty, with just the right amount of tang and sweetness. My son loves it, so you know it’s got to be delicious! It takes less than 45 minutes to make, making this the perfect dish for a busy mom, or someone who is simply trying to eat healthy. Enjoy!

Mustard Crusted Baked Chicken. Whole30 & Paleo approved.

Whole30 & Paleo Approved

Serves 4

 

You’ll Need:

  • 3 chicken breast cut in halves
  • 2/4 cup brown, spicy mustard
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos (it’s a honey substitute)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp spice mix (paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, celery salt, garlic salt)
  • Salt and Pepper

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375

In a small bowl mix the mustard, coconut aminos, and spices, and set aside.

In a baking dish, coat the bottom with olive oil. Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in pan, using half of the mustard mixture coat the top of the chicken breasts. Put in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the chicken over, add the remaining mustard mixture, put the chicken back in the oven and bake for another 8 minutes, or until cooked.

 

This dish is wonderful with roasted baby potatoes with chimichurri. It’s a super delicious meal, it’s healthy, my kiddo loves it, and it’s so simple and quick to make. Just writing this down makes me what to eat the leftovers! 🙂

 

Eat Clean, Eat Healthy, & Eat Well.

Citrus Cilantro Dressing

 

Citrus Cilantro Dressing. Whole30 & Paleo compliant.

This is one of my favs!! I love the Brianna’s dressings, all of them, but most of them have some sort of sugar or something that is not whole30 compliant in the ingredients. So I thought I would use the new Cilantro Lime dressing from Briann’s brand as my inspiration and throw my own spin on it while making it a whole30 compliant condiment/dressing. It’s AMAZING. It’s a little tangy, and that’s just the way I like it. It’s perfect on roasted earthy/root vegetables.

Whole30 and Paleo Approved

Yields one quart

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ⅔ cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed citrus (I use a mix of lemon, lime, and orange)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
  • ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp aioli (can use avocado mayonnaise or one egg yolk)   

 

Method:

In a Vitamix or food processor mix coconut  milk, avocado, cilantro, oil, and aioli. Once smooth, add citrus, vinegar, salt and pepper, blend again.

 

This dressing is good on: roasted beet and green salads. Use as a dip with fresh vegetables.

 

 

Eat Clean, Eat Healthy, & Eat Well.

 

Russian River Brewing Company Broke Ground in Windsor!

One of my favorite beer-tenders, Spence at the Russian River Brewpub in Santa Rosa during the month long, “Breast Cancer for the Cure” fundraiser in October where they raise upwards of $100k and donate 100% of proceeds. (Photo by Tim Vallery)

WOOT! I am beyond excited for two reasons: I can imagine how important this moment is for Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, opening their new brewery completely, 100% on their own without investors, and also, this is less than one mile from my house! I’ll just have to figure in a nice walk before going there so I can work off the calories of my beloved Blind Pig IPA before I drink it there! 🙂

The town of Windsor is thrilled to welcome them and they say they expect to be opening around Fall of 2018. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, here are some photos in my article on Sonomamag.com of the ground breaking ceremony a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to my wonderful husband, Tim who made many sacrifices and went down to take photo and video for me (there may or may not have been beer drinking involved for him :))

 

Cheers!

MoXie

 

 

Russian River Brewing Co., russianriverbrewing.com, 725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, (707) 545-2337, @RussianRiverOfficial

 

A Few Awesome Beer, Wine, and Food Events Happening in Sonoma County

Food + Wine Dinner Series: Trione Vineyards & Winery welcomes food and wine lovers to an intimate dinner series held on May 13th and 14th from 6-8:30pm. The winery features estate library wines and new releases paired with a farm-to-table menu prepared by local chefs of Peloton Culinary & Catering. This is a 3-4 course meal presented in a beautiful setting in the Old Stone Building overlooking the stunning vineyards of Alexander Valley. This is the perfect gift for mom, grandma, wife, or special person. The dinner is limited to 30 guests, the cost is $100 per person all inclusive. To purchase tickets please call the tasting room at 707.814.8100.

Santa Rosa Downtown Market: Visit the Wednesday night market for artisan food items, delicious street food, artwork, fun, and a wine and beer garden! May 10th, and 17th – 5-8:30pm in downtown Santa Rosa on 4th Street. Note: 4th Street will be closed early, park on 3rd or 5th and walk over.

Cooperage Beer & Yoga: Every Sunday get fit and drink beer with Cooperage Brewery from noon-1pm. It’s only $12 for a nice workout followed by a cold, delicious brew. They are also releasing a new beer each week, so there will always be a new surprise on for you to choose from! This will happen every Sunday for as long as people keep signing up for it! This is certainly the best drop in yoga deal around.

Beer & BBQ at the Coop: Cooperage is having Camacho’s Southern Style BBQ on May 12th for your grubbin’ pleasure. Belly up to the bar with some fantastic beers, play some cards against humanity or connect four, and enjoy the day. 

Live Music at Local Barrel: Every weekend starting at 5pm.

For more beer events, read my full article on SonomaMag.com here. 

 

North Bay Business Journals 40 Under 40 “to Watch”

I was recently nominated to be one of the North Bay Business Journals Young Professionals, 40 Under 40. My best friend nominated me of course, she thinks I am amazing, as all best friends should think about their besties. 🙂 Well I didn’t make the cut, but that’s okay. Today I saw that I was on the second best list, the “40 Under 40 to Watch”. That’s pretty exciting too, so goals for next year: be better, work more, do more things with the community, have no spare time. Maybe I will make the top list next year :).

 

Local Food, Wine, and Craft Beer Events in Sonoma County

Just because the rain won’t let up doesn’t mean that should keep you inside! There are so many great events coming up in April and May in Sonoma, here are a few you should put on your radar.

http://moxielady.org/

Dennis Housman sips on cold suds at a local beer event in Petaluma. (Tim Vallery)

APRIL EVENTS

St. Florian’s Brewery hosts Trivia Nights: The third Thursday of each month at the brewery in Windsor.

Cooperage is combining Yoga and Beer: get your workout in and then enjoy a nice cold one! Every Sunday in Santa Rosa.

Ping Pong Palooza: Palooza Gastropub hosts weekly Ping Pong Tournaments outside at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Eat, drink, and play ping pong with friends and your whole family. All levels welcome. Prizes will be awarded. April 18th, 25th, and May 2nd from 6:30-8:30pm in Kenwood. There is no cost to play.

Damnation Returns to RRBC: The popular Belgian Strong Golden Ale from Russian River Brewery will once again make an appearance at the pub in Santa Rosa in April.

For more beer events in April visit Sonoma Magazine here. 

Passport to Dry Creek: Visit 45+ wineries around the beautiful Dry Creek Valley. Wineries will host vineyard tours, prelude lunches and dinners, and then the grand event is a two day wine event featuring the valley’s best wines paired with excellent food dishes created by local chefs. Visit Fritz Winery, Mill Creek, and Dry Creek Vineyards to try my favorite chefs food: Peloton Culinary & Catering. Tickets are still available, for more information or to purchase yours, click here. April 29th and 30th.

MAY EVENTS 

Ping Pong Palooza: Palooza Gastropub hosts weekly Ping Pong Tournaments outside at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Eat, drink, and play ping pong with friends and your whole family. All levels welcome. Prizes will be awarded. May 2nd from 6:30-8:30pm in Kenwood. There is no cost to play.

Food + Wine Dinner Series: Trione Vineyards & Winery welcomes food and wine lovers to an intimate dinner series held on May 13th and 14th from 6-8:30pm. The winery features estate library wines and new releases paired with a farm-to-table menu prepared by local chefs of Peloton Culinary & Catering. This is a 3-4 course meal presented in a beautiful setting in the Old Stone Building overlooking the stunning vineyards of Alexander Valley. This is the perfect gift for mom, grandma, wife, or special person. The dinner is limited to 30 guests, the cost is $100 per person all inclusive. To purchase tickets please call the tasting room at 707.814.8100.

Santa Rosa Downtown Market: Visit the Wednesday night market for artisan food items, delicious street food, artwork, fun, and a wine and beer garden! May 3rd, 10th, and 17th – 5-8:30pm in downtown Santa Rosa on 4th Street. Note: 4th Street will be closed early, park on 3rd or 5th and walk over.

YUM Bars

YUM Bars

Paleo and Whole30 compliant

4 c dates, pitted and blended up
2 c unsalted cashews, blended

1.5 cups shredded coconut, toasted, then blended.

1 c water
2 tsp gold Hawaiian salt
Juice from 1 lemon

After each item is blended individually, put dates, cashews and coconut in a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands until mixed. Add salt and lemon juice, mix again.

Spread out evenly on a quarter sheet tray, press down, spread the top with a spoon to get rid of any finger imprints. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, cut and serve.

Bombers, Crowlers & Growlers: How to Take Your Favorite Craft Brews Home

The crowlers from Crooked Goat Brewery in Sebastopol’s Barlow. (Tim Vallery)

Since the dawn of beer, there’s been many ways to serve and store the beloved brew. In historic descriptions of beer drinking, beer was served from communal bowls and ceramic pots. Medieval monks in Europe stored beer in barrels and, after years of trial and error and shattered glass, it was first bottled in glass in London, England, over 400 years ago.

In 1935, after the American Can Company finally managed to figure out how to develop a container that could prevent the fizzy drink from chemically reacting with tin, beer was canned for the first time. By the end of that year, other companies like Pabst and Anheuser-Busch had followed suit and over 200 million cans were produced and sold.

Fast forward some 80 years and larger vessels like growlers and crowlers are now used to package the craft beer of our time.

 

Find out the difference between each vessel and what local beer lovers and brewers think: READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON SONOMA MAGAZINE 

 

Cheers!

 

IPA 10K and Beer Mile Invitational – Running with Beer? Yep!

On April 15th (just before tax day!) forget about your tax wows and head to the Barlow for the inaugural IPA 10K and Beer Mile Invitational in Sebastopol. This event is put on by Destination Races, the half marathon race experts who started the Wine Country Half Marathon in the heart of Dry Creek and Alexander Valley’s as well as Oregon, Santa Barbara, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Canada. Destination Races decided to trade in the grapes (just for this event) for HOPS. After all, this is beer country too now.

Photo courtesy of Crooked Goat Brewery Facebook

Racers will begin their morning at the Crooked Goat Brewery with a sip of beer before they head off for a nice, scenic 6.2 mile run through the loops of the Barlow and the rural outer edge of Sebastopol. Runners will finish at the Barlow for a beer, music, and food festivities. While the IPA 10K is exciting for runners, it’s the post-race Beer & Music Festival and Beer Mile that generates the most buzz from beer enthusiasts.

The Beer and Music Festival will open for runners and their guests at 9:30AM and the general public at 11:30AM until 2:30PM. There will be fourteen craft breweries sharing their beers, The band stage, sponsored by Lagunitas will be open throughout the festival and the race awards will be announced at 11AM.

The Beer Mile Invitational is a race around one block of the Barlow with professional runners competing for prize money.  Each runner must consume a 12-ounce beer every ¼ mile lap in the “chug zone”, and keep it down. The world record in the beer mile is 4 minutes and 34 seconds by Canadian Corey Bellemore. Prior to the professional heat, participating breweries will sponsor a 4-person relay team in which each team member consumes a 12-ounce beer, then runs a quarter mile and consumes another beer, before his or her partner can proceed with the same routine. The winning team receives the Golden Growler award filled with their favorite beer.

Do you have what it takes to step into the “chug zone” and join a relay team?

The event is the brainchild of Matt Dockstader, founder of Destination Races, based in Sonoma, California.  “As a former partner in a brewery in Colorado, the IPA 10K is the type of event I wanted to bring to fruition… I see this event as a natural extension for Destination Races, as it reflects the incredible growth and ingenuity of the craft beer industry.”

Registration for the IPA 10K is open now, click here for information or to register. Registration is $70 and includes a participant running shirt, a bottle opener finishers medal, an event beer tasting glass, and beer tasting tickets. Registration to the Beer and Music Festival is just $30.

The Barlow, 6780 Depot St #110, Sebastopol, CA US 95472