beer

If you crack open a beer this Fourth of July, history might not be the first thing on your mind. But for Theresa McCulla, the first brewing historian at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the story of beer is the story of America.

"If you want to talk about the history of immigration in America, or urbanization or the expansion of transportation networks, really any subject that you want to explore, you can talk about it through beer," McCulla says.

The number of American breweries topped 5,000 for the first time last year, with craft beer makers accounting for 5,234 of 5,301 U.S. breweries, according to new figures from the Brewers Association.

Just five years ago, there were only about 2,000 U.S. craft brewers, which the Brewers Association defines as small or independent beer makers. Last year alone, more than 800 opened for business.

There are beers that can make headlines simply by existing, especially if they use unique ingredients. That's the case with Stone Brewing's Full Circle Pale Ale, whose key component — water — came from an advanced filtration system that recycles and purifies San Diego wastewater that had previously been used in taps, toilets and showers.

Hop growers are raising a glass to craft brewers. The demand for small-batch brews has helped growers boost their revenues, expand their operations, and, in some cases, save their farms.

"Without the advent of craft brewing, a few large, corporate growers would be supplying all of the hops and local, family-owned farms like ours would have gone bankrupt," says Diane Gooding, vice president of operations at Gooding Farms, a hop grower in Wilder, Idaho. "It's saved the industry."

PaBREWcah Logo, via Facebook

Saturday is the inaugural PaBREWcah Beer Fest, featuring 19 craft breweries from across the region and live music in downtown Paducah. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with Daniel Sene about the event, which benefits Paducah Symphony Orchestra.

Paducah Beer Werks, via Facebook

Jay Marchmon and Todd Blume are the brewers at Paducah Beer Werks. In their first year of business, they took home medals in state, national and international beer competitions. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with the brewers about how they got started, these awards and the "Festiversary" this weekend.

Sure, you know you're not supposed to drink while pregnant. But what about those glasses of wine you had before you found out? Is a little OK in the third trimester? Or when you're anxious and can't sleep?

Those are the kinds of questions that women keep asking about pregnancy and alcohol. And science has not been a huge help in providing answers, though that's getting better.

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If your life flashed before your eyes, what would you see or contemplate? Maybe the last time you'd seen a certain loved one or perhaps undone items on your bucket list? Not so for a young man in Paducah. He has a passion for brewing beer. And that was the only thing on his mind after surviving a terrible car accident that left him unconscious for weeks.

Bryan Canavan, affectionately introduced himself as a boy from Vermont, “I lived there for 14 years, which I think statistically there are still more cows in that state than people.”

WKU

  A Lexington brewing and distilling company is setting up a beer production line in Bowling Green.

Alltech, which produces Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, delivered a production-level brewing system Wednesday to WKU’s Center for Research and Development. No date has been set as to when the production line will begin operating, though it could start sometime this fall.

EKU Students Can Study Fermentation, Brewing Next Fall

May 7, 2015
jan zeschky / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Eastern Kentucky University is launching a fermentation science program.

The new offering is partly in response to the growing interest in Kentucky’s craft breweries and distilleries.

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