Traveling Tuesday: Rivertown Brewing Company

This week’s Traveling Tuesday features photos of Rivertown Brewing Company contributed by Hoperative #34 Jason Siebert. You may remember Jason from his remarkable beer rescue story last November. This time he took a day and spent it at Rivertown Brewing. Thanks for the shots, Jason!

Rivertown Brewing Brewhouse
The Rivertown brewhouse. Note the pilot brewing system in the foreground.

Rivertown Brewing's Randy Schlitz
Randy Schlitz mashing a seasonal pumpkin brew

Emptying mash at Rivertown Brewing
Emptying the mash

Cleaning the Kettle at Rivertown Brewing
Cleaning the kettle

Aging Lambic at Rivertown Brewing
Lambic being aged in a back room

Rivertown Brewing Co-owner Jason Roeper's Sam Adams Longshot Plaque
Co-owner Jason Roeper's Sam Adams Longshot from 2009

Traveling Tuesday: New Albanian Brewing Company – New Albany, IN

A few weeks ago, we escaped to Louisville for the weekend to explore the many beer options available. The next few Traveling Tuesdays will feature places we visited on that trip. Our first stop is across the river from Louisville in New Albany, IN. We’ve been chatting for a while with Roger from New Albanian Brewing via Twitter and looked forward to meeting him and seeing the new Bank Street Brew Haus. Honestly, our plan was to stop in for one beer and then move on somewhere else. We ended up staying four hours! Great place, great people! It’s worth the trip from Cincinnati. In the photos below, you can check out not only the building itself, but the incredible pommes frites we had (with your choice of dipping sauces) and the bloody Mary bar they set up on Sunday mornings.

Sign out front

The NABC Building

Outside Seating

Inside Seating



Pommes Frites

Bloody Mary Bar

Traveling Tuesday: Better Cerveza in Peru

Hoperatives Erin (#102) and John (#13) got married this summer and spent a 2 week honeymoon in Peru.  While not treking through the mountains and the rainforest, they were out searching for great food and drinks (including, of course, some beer).

John enjoying the most popular beer in Peru: Cusqueña.  It’s a standard lager with a good malt backing and nice hop finish. Very refreshing.

Peru didn’t have much variety in terms of beer options, but there was no shortage of interesting and delicious beverages. Inca Kola is the nuclear yellow, bubble-gum flavored soft drink from Peru. You can usually find it at Jungle Jim’s and sometimes at some Krogers. Make sure you brush your teeth afterward!

Cusqueña also makes a dark “Malta” variety. The overt sweetness of the malt was a little too much. It reminded me of when I’ve made a really malty homebrew and it hasn’t fully fermented and/or conditioned yet.

What pairs well with Peruvian beer? Cuy, of course! What is cuy? You probably don’t want to know.*

We avoided alcohol most of our time up in the mountains because we were more than 10,000 feet above sea level and needed to acclimate to the thinner air. Happily, one of the best ways to prevent and treat altitude sickness is by drinking delicious coca tea. Peruvians have been growing coca for over 5,000 years, but the US’s lust for cocaine in the past 50 years or so means that coca is banned in our country. Sad face.

Feeling adventurous? Seek out a hole-in-the-wall bar where only the locals go, and ask for some chicha. Chicha is a homebrewed corn beer adored by people in the mountains (you won’t find it made commercially). Traditionally, corn is chewed and then spit into a bucket – the maker’s saliva helps instigate the natural fermentation process. I was assured that most people no longer make it this way…but I’m dubious of the truthfulness of that.
Our chicha was served directly out of the primary fermenter – notice it is unfiltered, and there’s about an inch of yeast/setiment at the bottom of the glass. Despite the low alcohol (usually only 1-3% ABV), the aroma is very alcoholic. It smells like a fermentation tank at a bourbon distillery (think: Maker’s Mark tour). Surprisingly, the taste is mildly sweet and incredibly refreshing.  It has a kind of soft drink quality to it.  And at ~35 cents for this entire glass, you’ll have more than enough money left in case you need a chaser.

After 4 days of hiking in the Andes Mountains, you better believe that we celebrated our arrival at Machu Picchu with a Cusqueña!…and some chicha.


-John (#13)

*Before you pass judgment, ask yourself: is eating the muscle and flesh of a chicken/pig/cow (or whatever your culture finds it okay consume) really any different?

Traveling Tuesday: New Belgium Brewing Company

A recent business trip took me out west and gave me an opportunity to stop by the New Belgium brewery in Ft. Collins, CO. Nice folks in a beautiful place.

New Belgium Outside Sign
The sign welcoming you to the brewery

New Belgium Brewhouse
A brewhouse seen from the entrance. It's a large complex.

New Belgium Landscaping
The landscaping at the brewery is beautiful

New Belgium Landscaping
You'd never know it was in the middle of a light industrial park

New Belgium Tasting Room Entrance
The entrance to the tasting room

New Belgium Tasting Room
Lining up in the tasting room

New Belgium Tasting Taps
The tasting room taps

Table at New Belgium
A table that would look very good in our place

Traveling Tuesday: Shotwell’s Bar – San Francisco, CA

With this week’s Traveling Tuesday post, we are proud to welcome Jen Rizzo as a new contributor to Hoperatives. You may already be familiar with Jen since she is the designer of our wonderful Hoperatives logo and it actually Hoperative #1 (Tom is null and Carla is zero). Jen just launched her own beer blog called “Pedals and Pints” and will also be sending us her “Missives from the Mission” from time to time and letting us know about the great beer city that is San Francisco. Oh, and Carla actually got to go with Jen to Shotwell’s about a year and can vouch for its awesomeness.

In every town I have ever loved, I have chosen a bar. This bar will always be my go-to, and it usually corresponds to wherever I am in my life at that time. In Cincinnati, my bar was Arlin’s. The beer selection was good enough, but most importantly, it was four blocks from my college, had a giant patio, and provided me copious amounts of beer for next to no money. These are your priorities between the ages of 21 and 23. In New York, my bar was St. Mark’s Ale House. In Kansas City, I have an awful little dive bar with bottles of my favorite local beer and excellent dart boards. Here in San Francisco, though I flirted with another bar with cheaper pool tables for a couple ofmonths, my bar will always be Shotwell’s.

Shotwell’s is owned by my two very good friends David Hall and Tom Madonna. They’ve owned it for about four years now. San Franciscans probably remember that bar as a lot of things. Before this, under the same ownership, it was Inner Mission Beer Parlor. Then it was Two Thieves, then Shotwell 59, and a whole list of other things before that. It’s existed as Shotwell’s for a little over a year now, and I’m pretty sure that’s what it will be for quite some time.

They have 12 taps and a lovely, lovely bottle selection. Probably between 20-30 at any given time, despite their very small cooler behind the bar. (David and Tom’s organization of that space never fails to baffle me.) The taps remain pretty constant, though there’s been some variation over the years. The type of beer assigned to any particular tap is usually quite similar – David recently rotated in Speakeasy’s Payback Porter in place of the Anchor Porter, for example.
Anchor Steam and Anchor Liberty are always featured, and now that Anchor Humming is back, it’s taken the place of Duvel Green. Speakeasy’s Big Daddy, Stella Artois and Speakeasy Payback Porter are featured on the next bank of taps, followed by Paulaner Hefe-Weisse, Monk’s Cafe sour, Maredsous 10, Young’s Double Chocolate, Kronenbourg
1664 and Kostritzer Black. And if those aren’t enough for you, the bottle selection is guaranteed to make you pleased.

The best part about Shotwell’s is that it’s a neighborhood bar. And while it’s my favorite place in the city, it’s rarely a hugely crowded destination. You can usually find a spare stool at the bar to snag to watch a Giants game, or chat with Tom and David, or do your daily crossword puzzle without getting strange looks. (I speak from experience.) If you’re looking for entertainment, there are two impeccably kept pool tables toward the back, as well as two excellent pinball machines. The two televisions are visible, but not intrusive – only during super major sporting events does this turn into a hardcore sports bar.

It is my “Cheers” bar to a level I didn’t think really existed. I’ve always been a regular at places, but that has usually meant knowing the bartenders, getting a friendly smile, and having my friends know where it is without me having to send them a map link. Walking into Shotwell’s, I am always going to know someone. The regulars usually congregate toward the end of the bar, by the pool tables. And for the most part, there’s nothing cliquey about us. David likes to draw me into conversations with new friends of the bar when I’m sitting by myself. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people through this little place, and that’s what they wanted to happen. I heard for the very first time this weekend that most of their friends weren’t supportive when they bought the bar, and it shocked me. Imagine if your friends
scooped up a sort of seedy little place in the middle of San Francisco and announced that they were going to turn it into a Belgian beer bar – I might be a little skeptical too.

Tom and David have built the type of bar that I’d really love to own one day. I beertended there last Thursday for a couple of hours and it really felt like I was just pouring beer for my friends for three hours. Who knew you could make any money this way? (I’ve been doing this job for free for years!)

So, Cincinnatians, if you ever make it out this way, give me a shout. I’ll take you away from the super downtown scene and bring you out to my neighborhood. I’ll buy you a pint, “let” you beat me at a game of pool, and you’ll get to make a few new friends. My bar will be excited to meet you.

Traveling Tuesday: New Glarus Brewery (New Glarus, WI)

Copper Tanks at New Glarus
Today, we are launching a new feature on Hoperatives called “Traveling Tuesdays.” Like many believers in better beer, we always like to seek out new beers to enjoy when we are are traveling regionally or beyond. Through this feature, we hope to share with you just some of our favorites.

Our first Traveling Tuesday visits the New Glarus Brewery in (appropriately enough) New Glarus, Wisconsin. In 2009, they built a new hillside brewery while keeping their long time riverside brewery for brewing seasonal and specialty beers. The photos below give you a glimpse or two at both locations.

Cheers and here’s to better beer!

Carla and Tom

The original Riverside Brewery for New Glarus
New Glarus, WI is known as “America’s Little Switzerland” and the original New Glarus Brewery building reflects this Swiss influence.

The original Riverside Brewery for New Glarus
The phrase “Hopfen und Maltz, Gott erhalt’s” on the side of the brewery loosely translates to “God Save Hops and Malt”.

The new Hilltop Brewery for New Glarus
The new Hilltop Brewery for New Glarus Brewery is gorgeous. It’s an updated version of classic European brewery design. We especially liked the waterfall built in along the rocks and stone steps.

Copper Tanks (2nd view) at New Glarus
Copper fermenting tanks

Stag Railing at New Glarus
A stag figure on the railing

Sign on Stairway at New Glarus
If you’ve ever had New Glarus, you know this really is the Stairway to Heaven.

Aluminum Tanks at New Glarus
Wonder which one contains the Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale…

Tasting Wristband at New Glarus
Of course, we had to taste the beer and their wristbands were a unique way to handle the tastings.