Photos from the Phantom Broadway Brew Release Party!

Oh what a fun night we had at the release party for Pint of No Return, our very own Broadway Brews Project brew number FOUR! Loads of great folk from Phantom, Hardywood Brewing, and Musicians on Call raised multiple glasses throughout the evening for a great cause. Under a beautiful Manhattan sunset, we toasted the journey that this beer will take, from Virginia to Broadway and beyond! 

Every time we come to the end of a Brew journey, it's a real reckoning. These are not easy to pull off, but INCREDIBLY rewarding, every single time. Look for a video episode covering this amazing night very soon. And many thanks to the good folks at Beer Authority NYC, as well as our wonderful capture crew.

Still want to support the Broadway Brews Project? We're always looking for help.

And NYC'ers, find The Pint of No Return at a Trader Joe's in the NYC area, and give it a try. It's one of the coolest beers you'll taste this year. CHEERS!

Broadway Brews Project, Phantom Brew: The Naming Finals!

This is it folks: The contest to name the Phantom of the Opera Broadway Brew has entered The Final Round. Time to pick a winner!

We've gotten many excellent suggestions from all of you - thank you for your suggestions - and after discussion with the cast members and brewers, we've narrowed your best down to this list of finalists:

Lot 666

Pint of No Return

Drink of Me

Darkness Stirs

Wishing You Were Somehow Beer Again

Phantom's Lair Lager

Chande-beer

And once again, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Leave us a comment on the website, send us an email at info@thehappyhourguys.com, comment on facebook, or tweet us (@happyhourguys) with your vote.

We'll be in Virginia at Hardywood this weekend creating this beer with cast brewers Ali Ewoldt, Paul Schaefer and Rodney Ingram, and it's going to be truly fantastic. We'll also be announcing the charitable organization that this beer will - forever - be raising money for, soon!

But for now -- let us know your favorite name. And remember, there will be prizes for whoever submitted the winning name (and a random winner chosen from all who vote!)

Broadway Brew #4: Let's play the name game!

 What do you think a Phantom beer should be named?

What do you think a Phantom beer should be named?

The Broadway Brews Project rolls on! The Happy Hour Guys are assembling yet another team to create the fourth in our Broadway Six Pack lineup, with none other than - PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!

And this Majestic Brew will be created by cast members of the Broadway company, collaborating with the craft wizards of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, VA.

Very soon we'll be gathering the cast together to talk about what kind of beer they're going to make, and which charity this beer will raise money for.

 

HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN:

WE NEED A NAME. What should a Phantom of the Opera beer be called? Share your entries with us in the comments here on the website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter feed. If we choose your idea, there will be goodies in it for you. One rule: Phantom of the HOPera is already taken!

GOOD LUCK and off we go!

Drinking in Korea: Update from the Blonde Guy.

Editor's note: More from our 'Adjunct Faculty'! The Blonde Guy has recently returned from Korea, and to celebrate his feet replanting on American soil, we present a series of his observations from those Eastern shores. Enjoy!

Hello Happy Hour Nation! 

Well, I guess now we are technically Happy Hour WORLD!  How cool does that sound!?  Last we spoke I left you all in the sleepy town of Daegu with a briefing on the craft scene here in Korea.  Since then we made our way to eight more cities in Korea, I teamed up with a Korean brewery to make a beer, and made we it back to the states!  Now, becausenot all of these cities were very "craft-forward" (and also due to an inconvenient stomach bug), there won't be a comprehensive breakdown on each city.  I will, however, leave yall a list of top bars that were found either by comrades or myself at the end of the post with links to each if you find yourself thirsty in Korea.  Whew, ok with all that being said time to dive into my favorite city we have been to outside of Seoul...  *We hear the king of travel, food, and booze, Anthony Bourdain, starting to narrate...

 

Anthony

    "Busan, South Korea.  The second most populated city in the secluded Korean Peninsula. It boasts a sprawling coastline, an exciting culinary scene, and only recently, craft beer."

    Thanks, Tony. We'll send your check in the mail.**

    In all seriousness, Busan is not only the fifth largest port town in the world but one of the most beautiful cities I've ever visited, and definitely the most beautiful in Korea.  Bridges over the ocean connecting the downtown business center with the beachside restaurants, and a vast array of architecture create a skyline that requires taking an obscene amount of photos. (See obscene amount of photos below)

Only three blocks west of Namcheon Beach lays the headquarters of the aptly named, Galmegi Brewing Company. Galmegi (Korean for "seagull." Get it? Seagulls are on the beach... just like the brewery... ) started in a third story bar space and now is housed in a old surf shop that has been repurposed into a full fledged micro brewery and restaurant.  With 12 of their own, rotating, beers on tap you can bet that anyone from a craft-beer-virgin to a certified Cicerone will find something they enjoy.  Some favorites from my December visit were:

  • Yuja Gose, a deliciously dry and salty Gose brewed with Yuzu to give it a nice citrus snap. 
  • Winter Ale:Winter warmer style with the perfect balance of Ginger and cinnamon, a favorite amongst the cast that was with me as it was the day after Christmas. F
  • Galmegi IIPA and IPA: The Galmegi IPA is one of their best selling beers and honestly one of the most solid IPA's I've had to date.  It sits at a mid-low ABV so you can have a few at the beach and gives you the perfect, balanced, hop-forward flavor profile you want from an IPA.  Now their IIPA... Oooo their IIPA.  When I sat down and chatted with their CEO, Steven Allsopp, he poured a chalice of this sweet elixir for me to try and I almost wept.  I was immediately swept away through clouds made of flowers and citrus on tiny magic carpets made of hops and bubbles before landing softly in a peach orchard.  Seriously folks, I thought he had poured me a Heady Topper or Sip O' Sunshine this beer was so good.  Galmegi IIPA is only brewed a few times a year, so if you find yourself in Busan while it's on tap consider buying a growler or two or ten of this truly masterful execution of the IIPA style.

Galmegi paved the way for craft to take wing in Busan with Gorilla Brewing opening down the block and Akitu Brewing Company headquartering just outside of the metro area opening shortly after Galmegi hit the city's palate. British company, Owl and Pussycat, also opened a bar right on the beach offering a wide array of international and domestic brews and artisan dishes, and a bottle shop of the same nomenclature right across the street from Galmegi's flagship location.  This beach oasis was quickly climbing to the top of my list of favorite cities. 

Another exciting opportunity presented itself while visiting Busan: brewing my very first beer!  I presented the idea of brewing a Jekyll and Hyde themed beer (a la Broadway Brews) to Galmegi CEO, Steven Allsopp, on our first night of meeting and he loved the idea.  Two days later we nailed down a recipe and the day after that I met him at the brewery early in the morning for a full day of brewing!  

    We decided to make a sweet and spicy beer, incorporating the theme of duality from the show, using caramely(is this a word? It is now) German malt, and Korean chilis from a local market.  After transferring everything to the fermentation tank, Steve brought out a huge surprise for me: the magical yeast we would be using to turn our work into beer were the same creatures that are used at Alchemist Brewing to make HEADY TOPPER.  Yes, THE Heady Topper. The perfect micro organisms were pumped into the tank and we left it for two weeks to let them feast on the sugar, and poop out their delicious phenols and esters.  It was distributed throughout Busan and to a couple bars in the many neighborhoods of Seoul and surprisingly well received by the craft community in both cities! So much so that Galmegi almost went through every keg before I could get my hands on it!

    Jekyll and Hyde had a beautiful peach and pepper aroma with a sinister red hue. At first sip you get a malt forward flavor with a hint of the peach and rye.  It then evolves into the "Hyde" profile with a dry Korean gochu (chili pepper) kick at the end.  Not going to lie, this beer is weird (in a good way, like people who like to run for fun... Jimmy) but rolling in at 5.5% ABV this brew is goes down surprisingly easy even with the spicy finish. Topping the list of reasons why this beer is great is that we are donating a dollar from every pint sold at the brewery to a local orphanage in Busan.  Unfortunately Galmegi doesn't have a canning or bottling system yet so there wasn't a way to get it back to the states.

It pained us all to leave this beautiful beach town, but alas, we had to move on with the show. The cities that we traveled through from Busan to our two and a half month sit down in Seoul varied with what they had to offer in the craft beverage department.  I also experienced food poisoning and a back injury that required me to take medicine that prevented me from drinking for about a month all together.  So my beer expertise is not so high on some cities, however I was incredibly lucky to have a craft cohort, Ian Jon Bourg, on this journey who never failed to look into more beer places to check out and is to thank for the lists below.

    Like I said above, we have just now completed the run of the show and returned to the states.  This is a short update so stay tuned for a "Korea in Retrospect" post in the coming weeks after the exciting Broadway Brews news.  Believe me, there is A LOT, to report on from my stay in Seoul. A LOT.

Cheers,

Tim, AKA The Blonde Guy


Daejeon - 

The Ranch Pub - https://m.facebook.com/ranchpubdaejeon/




Gwangju

First Alleyway - http://firstalleyway.com

AfterWorks - https://m.facebook.com/afterworks.brewpub/

Wheat Field Brewing co. - https://m.facebook.com/pages/%EB%B0%80%EB%B0%AD%EC%96%91%EC%A1%B0%EC%9E%A5-Wheat-Field-Brewing-co/1022959184436639

**Anthony Bourdain was not in anyway contacted for this article.  However, if he reads this, please contact us so we can travel, eat, and drink.

Frequent Flyer Guy Reports: Craft Beer in Vietnam!

Our own FREQUENT FLYER GUY, (a.k.a. Steve Smith), returns with another update from Southeast Asia. Great to have you back in the fold, Steve! (and oh, MAN, do we want to join you.) Check it out:

What's Hot in Vietnam: Cold Craft Beer

- How Vietnam is rapidly becoming an unlikely craft beer mecca

What are first things that come to mind when one thinks of Vietnam? Rice paddies? Motorbikes? Phở, Vietnam’s iconic noodle soup? Ha Long Bay? Floating markets on the Mekong Delta? Probably not craft beer.

 Just two years ago, this was the extent of my Vietnamese beer experience.

Just two years ago, this was the extent of my Vietnamese beer experience.

Traditionally, beer in Vietnam has meant a macro-brewed lager like 333 or Bia Saigon poured over ice in local watering holes, or an imported Tiger or Heineken in more upscale pubs and clubs. Up until very recently, you could have any style of beer you wanted--as long as it was lager. But as I learned on my recent trip to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City’s BiaCraft Artisan Ales, that is changing in a big way.

According to beervn.com, there were no craft breweries in Vietnam in 2013. And for good reason. Brewing craft beer in Southeast Asia can be extremely challenging. Most equipment needs to be imported or made locally from spec—a daunting proposition. Ingredients can be impossible to find locally, and difficult to import (imagine getting a large batch of green, skunk-smelling hops through customs without being arrested as a drug trafficker). In nearby Thailand, archaic liquor laws that protect large breweries force craft brewers to brew their beer in neighboring countries, and then import their beer (subject to a 60% customs duty and a 48% excise tax). And finally there is the challenge of educating a market whose expectation of beer is a clear, simple-tasting lager. When Vietnamese craft brewer Platinum Beverages first released an unfiltered golden ale, many of the kegs got returned by distributors who thought the cloudy ale was defective. And Pasteur Street Brewing probably should have thought twice about producing a durian-flavored beer. Not only is the pungent fruit a challenging choice as a beer ingredient, it also faced having to overcome the urban legend of durian and alcohol being a lethal combination. (It was not a commercial success.)

 Just a few years ago, none of these beers were being made.

Just a few years ago, none of these beers were being made.

But the overwhelming appeal of craft beer is overcoming these obstacles. Today there are several dozen Vietnamese craft brewers from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, and the number is growing rapidly. And while foreigners are behind the brewing, and much of the consumption of Vietnamese craft beer, Vietnamese locals are also starting to embrace it. Led by the young, well-traveled, middle- and upper-class urban Vietnamese, they are attracted to the quality and variety offered by craft beer, as well as the cachet of consuming a premium Western product. The manager we spoke with at BiaCraft estimated that roughly half of his customers were Vietnamese. And on our visit, the busy Thursday night crowd appeared to be at least half local.

 BiaCraft's patrons on a busy Thursday night included many locals.

BiaCraft's patrons on a busy Thursday night included many locals.

I visited BiaCraft’s District 3 location (1 Lê Ngô Cát, phường 7, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam) with two friends—an American craft beer lover, and a local Vietnamese to whom we were just introducing craft beer. We sampled several selections from BiaCraft’s menu of 30 drafts (all but one brewed in Vietnam). They included a Belgian-style wit beer, two IPAs, an India summer ale, and one beer inspired by the spicy flavor of phở. Predictably, our Vietnamese craft beer novice was much more receptive to the wit beer (Tê Tê Belgian Wheat) and India Summer Ale (BiaCraft’s top-selling "Xao Ba Co"; Vietnamese slang meaning “f***ing liar”), with the hoppy bitterness of the IPAs being a bit much on the first try.  My American friend and I both enjoyed the IPAs however. And while all three of us love a good bowl of phở, we weren’t 100% sure that making a beer try to taste like phở was such a good idea. It did grow on us as we drank it however, and we're fairly confident it was a better idea than making beer taste like durian.

 BiaCraft's extensive menu of draft beers

BiaCraft's extensive menu of draft beers

 Our first tasting flight: Tê Tê Belgian Wheat, BiaCraft’s Xao Ba Co India Summer Ale, BiaCraft's Xau Ma Chanh IPA, Lac Brewing Co.'s Devil's Lake IPA

Our first tasting flight: Tê Tê Belgian Wheat, BiaCraft’s Xao Ba Co India Summer Ale, BiaCraft's Xau Ma Chanh IPA, Lac Brewing Co.'s Devil's Lake IPA

Larger cities and tourist destinations like Hanoi, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City have a rapidly growing number of craft beer bars, and now many smaller cities are seeing their first craft taprooms open. If you enjoy craft beer and plan on visiting Vietnam, you will be pleasantly surprised (as we were) at the availability of good, local craft beer.

Resources:

https://beervn.com

http://biacraft.com

http://www.tetebeer.com

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davisbrett/2016/04/13/on-the-frontier-of-beer-in-vietnam/2/#38cd48ab6455