Here are some interesting beer stories:
-- The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports on beer alternatives to popping champagne on New Year's Eve. "More and more brews are being packaged in what most people still think of as Champagne bottles, sealed with actual corks and wire cages," author Bob Batz Jr. writes. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Associated Press reports on the Craft Beer Cellar chain that offers more than 1,000 beers. The Massachusetts-based business is expanding to other states. "It is a risky quest," the news service says. "Despite craft beer's popularity boom, creating a national franchise of specialty beer stores has not been done." To read the full story, click here.
-- KSDK TV reports on Starbucks sending a cease and desist order to Exit 6 Pub and Brewery telling the St. Louis brewpub to stop calling one of its beers "frappicino." "When I got that letter, I had to laugh," brewery owner Jeff Britton told the TV station. "I don't blame Starbucks for doing what they did, I understand why they did it and they had every right to do it. But I'm a small brewery, small bar, in a small town, that makes small batches of beer." To see the full report, click here.
-- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the rise of the brewmaster, who must serve as brewer, salesman, tour guide and brewery spokesman. “The whole evolution of the notoriety of brewmasters goes hand in hand with the rise in the number of brewers,” Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association, told the newspaper. To read the full story, click here.
-- The Ann Arbor News reports on the ton of beer being trucked in to Michigan Stadium for the NHL's Winter Classic. "As far as anyone can remember, this will be the first time in history that beer will be sold inside Michigan Stadium, which is normally bone dry," author Ryan Stanton writes. To read the full story, click here.
-- Chicago Tribune writer Josh Noel reports on the best beers of 2013. They include Greenflash Le Freak, New Belgium Rolle Bolle and Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild. To see a slide presentation, click here.
-- The Associated Press reports on the growing craft beer industry in Alabama. "The thing that I think has spawned all of the growth in the industry is the tap rooms," Good People Brewing Co. co-owner Michael Sellers told the news service. "That really gives you a ready revenue source rather than having to wait 30 days for a wholesaler to pay." To read the full story, click here.
-- UPI reports on the Garrison Brewing Co. in Nova Scotia making a beer out of spruce trees. The beer is made with spruce sprigs, fir twigs, malt, blackstrap molasses, dates and hops. To read the full story and watch a video, click here.
-- The blog Best of Toronto reports on the top five new craft beers in Toronto: Amsterdam De Wallen Barrel Aged Sour Frambroise, Bellwoods Wizard Wolf, India Alehouse Barrel-Aged Glory and Consequences, Bellwoods Donkey Venom, and Amsterdam Barrel-Aged Double Tempest. To read the full story, click here.