Monday, February 18, 2008

Time to pay the Piper

On the cover of this morning's Colorado Springs Gazette there's an article about the rising cost of beer. The hop shortage has come home to roost, folks. Last week was the first I really began to feel the impact, with prices jumping at least $1.00 per 6-pack. While this was an expected rise, it still leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth and the wallet.

Staff reporter Scott Rappold recently spoke with John Osterhoudt, the GM for Bristol Brewing Company here in Colorado Springs, a brewery that likes to use a ton of hops. On February 1 Bristol raised their prices $1 per sick-pack, while prices at the brewery went up 50 cents per pint. Osterhoudt stated the price of hops, barley and grains jumped anywhere from 70 percent to 200 percent recently.

But as I (and many other beer geeks, beer columnists, beer lovers, etc.) have stated over the last few months... this is a world-wide shortage, not just something the Colorado based breweries are forced to deal with. And it may go on for a few years as supplies are replenished.

It's so bad that Andrew Bradley, the head brewer for Phantom Canyon (another Colorado Springs based brewery and one of my favorite hang outs), is growing hops in his backyard. "It might take more than a single year, but at least I’ll have some real American hops to work with.”

Damn. Be sure to read the whole article (and some of the fanatical rants and raves left in the comments section by readers are also hilarious, if not completely false and ridiculous).

Speaking of Bristol... they're tapping a keg of Skull & Bones tomorrow night. I might be down there, and if so will report back.

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