By Terry Miller
Great craft beer makers and pubs seem interminable. Nevertheless, Certified Cicerone’s are not so large in number. As Luck would have it (if you’ll pardon my palpable pun), Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena really knows its beers, thanks in no small part to a young man who has worked for Lucky Baldwin’s for the past nine years and literally worked his way up through the pipes and kegs of the extensive list of beers this popular pub offers…he knows ’em all, and respects breweries’ abilities to capture a particular note, flavor or essence which is the lifeblood of an excellent beer.
Philip Malusco, Beverage Director of all three Lucky Baldwin’s locations (two in Pasadena and one in Sierra Madre) has recently been certified as a Cicerone. Some of us not well versed in the amber-nectar-idiosyncrasies-of-the-gods may well say…”What the heck is a Cicerone?”
We’ll tell you now… so you will be able to talk to Philip with some substantial authority.
A ‘Certified Cicerone’ has studied beer extensively and been rewarded with a title that displays to the world that his (or her) knowledge and tasting skills are superior and is emphatically dedicated to beer. Philip has always been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the nuances of particular ale, stout or IPA but his quest for knowledge led him to this highly respected certification.
The number of new breweries and brewpubs in the States is impressive; in just a few decades, “…what felt like you could count on just one hand now takes 500….” Sierra Nevada’s website states.
In fact, in a recent NY Times article in the business section, craft breweries are said have become one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Maybe more inspiring than the variety of beer that drinkers can choose from is the “incredible quality across the board.” Making excellent beer consistently is exacting, and craft brewers are proving to be unyielding, according to Sierra Nevada’s fun-to-read blog.
Sierra Nevada has found success amid this craft renaissance, which has allowed them to work toward building a second brewery in Mills River, North Carolina. And while they’re eager to celebrate that fact, “(It became) wildly obvious to us that it should be a celebration of the whole craft community. We’ve collectively helped each other, peers near and far, get our footing and generate this awesome momentum,” according to their blog post “Taking Beer Camp Across America…”
Since 2008 Sierra Nevada has hosted Beer Camp®, gives “campers” the keys to their pilot brewery to make a beer. “You just have at it, really; from beer style to raw ingredients, you make the calls, however wild. After two days of recipe development and hands-on brewing, they carry on like a true band of brewers-the very spirit that permeates the craft-beer pros.”
“So we thought, What the hell, let’s take that idea and go all out next year: 12 partner breweries creating a variety 12-pack-one partner per beer-and taking the liquid and the fun on the road via a multi-weekend path of beer festivals. We’re calling it Beer Camp Across America.”
Earlier this year, the Chico, California-based brewery announced that they would be partnering with 12 highly respected breweries from across the country to create a mixed 12 pack that will feature all 12 of these collaborations. And beginning later this week and running through the end of July, there will be a few Portland bars hosting tap takeovers that will feature all 12 beers on tap all at the same time.
The Beer Camp Across America 12-pack is now beginning to hit store shelves throughout the U.S. The dozen breweries featured include Ninkasi, Firestone Walker, New Glarus, Ballast Point, 3 Floyd’s, Bells, Allagash, Russian River, Asheville Brewers Alliance, and Russian River in 12oz bottles. Then in 12oz cans will be Oskar Blues and Cigar City. “A lot of creativity and hard work went into the Beer Camp Across America 12-pack, and we’re excited to finally share it with drinkers,” said Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada.
Luckily it’s not just Portland and Arcadia who will share this experience. Lucky Baldwin’s is one of only three California locations to get this unique opportunity. Stop by on July 17 and tell ’em Pasadena Independent sent you!
For more information see their website.